Polytechnics are tertiary institutions meant to produce adequate manpower that would support a country’s technological and industrial development. Sound and qualitative technical education forms part of the bedrock for any country’s national development. For decades, however, polytechnics in Nigeria have been struggling for funding, among other problems.
In June 2013, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) embarked on a strike after the union had accused the federal government of not meeting agreements reached, in 2009, on the constitution of the polytechnics’ governing councils, the release of the white paper on the visitation panels to federal polytechnics, the commencement of the needs assessment of Nigerian polytechnics and the migration of the lower cadres of staff to CONTISS 15. The strike was suspended in July following ASUP’s consensus with the federal government on when the erstwhile agreement would be implemented. However, early in October, ASUP resumed its strike due to what it termed government’s refusal to fulfil its promise.

Since then, students have been left in a limbo, wondering when they would go back to school.

Frustrated, the National Association of Polytechnic students (NAPS), in February this year, took the bull by the horns and embarked on demonstrations across the country, urging government to meet the demands of ASUP. This has wider implications, not the least of which is possible chaos created by continued demonstrations by exasperated students.

The strike must not be allowed to continue. We acknowledge that both parties have made efforts towards a resolution: ASUP agreed to whittle down its initial demands to just the current ones for immediate implementation, with the understanding that other demands would be addressed by government in due course, while government has constituted the polytechnics’ governing councils. There are reports that the committee on the needs assessment has also gone far with its assignment.

Apparently, the strike is continuing due to two thorny issues – the release of the white paper and migration of staff to CONTISS 15. Those discerning know that white papers hardly see the light of day in Nigeria, mainly because such reports usually expose rot that no one wants to take responsibility for.

If government is sincere in solving Nigeria’s education problem, that white paper must be released. For the payment of arrears and other moneys with regards to CONTISS 15, we believe government should make the one-off payment ASUP is demanding. After all, members of the union can see that from the wastage and mismanagement of public funds, corruption, and direct theft of Nigeria’s resources running into billions of dollars, government “has the wherewithal to pay”.

Also, ASUP knows that if it accepts instalment payment for its members, getting the balance paid may prove herculean for it, with 2015 round the corner. Many no longer have confidence in government when it comes to keeping promises.

ASUP embarked on an indefinite strike in September 2013 over the non-release of the white paper on the Visitation Panel to Federal Polytechnics.

This article was sent to liveschoolnews.org by Blessing Eneji. A student of Federal Poly Nekede.

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  • Asup has no reason to continue with the ongoing strike.
    The strike is like a rough play to all Nigerian citizens both the old and young people.
    How will Asup go onstrike, then other polytechnics will be pulling out from the strike, if the Asup is really serious with this strike, let it be stamped, nobody has the right to continue or have option to pull out.
    This union is not a powerful union, it’s like a child’s play.
    Auchi refuses to join the strike from the initial and now the same Auchi is rating the best polytechnic in Nigeria. So what is the main point that the Asup is fighting for, to my inderstanding Asup is fighting for NOTHING if other polytechnics has the power to pull out.
    Asup union is jeopartizing with the future of the poly students.
    I call this frustration because the affected polytechnic students are frustrated at home.
    The Asup should use their brain to end the strike and follow the federal Government instruction because this union is not a powerful union. Assuming this union is a powerful union, no federal polytechnic would have the power to pay and option out from the strike. So let the asup rest their case, because it’s like nonsence act..
    On behalf of my friends, family and relatives children in the affected polytechnics, i beg the Asup union to end the strike and let lecture continue immediately. GOD BLESS YOU

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