What ASUU Should Do Henceforth?
By Tunde Salman
I support ASUU’s demands. Anyone who had attended Nigerian public universities in the last 25)30 years would have experienced ASUU strikes within duration of their undergraduate or graduate period. At the same time, I urge the body to be more methodical in the struggle for better funding of the university.
ASUU can borrow one or two tactics from NMA in terms of strategic engagements with government at federal level. For certain, NMA has succeeded in making sure all Ministers of health are drawn from medical doctor professional backgrounds through concerted advocacy. There’s hardly any NMA’s president that have not paid advocacy visits to all the seating Nigerian presidents and the presiding officials of National Assembly in the last 10-15 years which has catalysed into several small and big wins for the health sector in general.
Going forward, ASUU and other stakeholders in our educational sector should also ensure same happen for education: lobbying that the senior minister must be someone with at least minimum of 15-20 years public university’s lecturing experience and the junior minster from other tiers of our educational system irrespective of government in power. The national leadership of ASUU must also mainstream strategic political engagement in their policy asking.
Also Read: Despite N6.3trn Expended on Education, ASUU Bares it’s Fangs as Strike may Linger till 2023
Second, ASUU needs a permanent national secretariat like other trade unions or professional associations in Abuja being seat of nigerian government with full component of technical and administrative staff beyond their executives to help them with day-to-day strategic policy engagements in between the strikes.
Thirdly, ASUU in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders should institute periodic dialogue model in the fashion of annual Nigeria economic summit group to dissect and offer actionable innovative solutions to reposition the Nigerian university system.
There’s a lot of funding opportunities that our universities can tap from targeting foreign students whilst we continue to ask the government to adequately fund them. Ghana and Benin Republics as well as the private universities are already tapping from such funding.
If our university system are more functional and stable, including improvement in the country’s security situation, Nigerian universities should be attractive to foreign students from Eastern Europe and sister African countries with high cost of university education in the west.
Tunde Salman writes from Abuja