The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has spent 580 days (19 months) on strike since Muhammadu Buhari became Nigeria’s president, FIJ can report.
The union’s current strike action has reached 178 days, just a month away from becoming the second longest consecutive university shutdown in Nigeria’s democratic history.
Since 1999, when the country returned to democratic rule, ASUU has embarked on 16 strike actions, the longest being a 272-day action between March 23, 2020, and December 23, 2020.
In that nine-month period, universities across the country were shut as the government and lecturers disagreed on various topics, including salary structure, infrastructure and owed allowances, among others.
If the current strike action stretches to September 2022, it will usurp the 2003/2004 six-month strike as ASUU’s second longest consecutive strike.
580 DAYS OF UNIVERSITY EDUCATION SUSPENSION UNDER BUHARI
When Buhari was sworn in as president in May 2015, the union was experiencing two years of uninterrupted teaching after ending a five-month strike on December 17, 2013.
Two years into Buhari’s administration however, the union expressed dissatisfaction and declared an indefinite strike action on August 17, 2017. It called off the action 35 days later.
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On November 4, 2018, ASUU announced another indefinite strike, which spanned days. After its leadership met with Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, on February 7, 2019, it called it off.
A year after this action, the longest ASUU strike in Nigeria’s history occurred for 272 days, and two years after, ASUU is on strike again.
This brings the total number to 580 days of strike under the current administration.
ASUU STRIKE UNDER PAST PRESIDENTS
OBASANJO (18 MONTHS) — In 1999, after Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn in as president, ASUU embarked on a strike action that lasted for 150 days (five months). Another three-month strike occurred in 2001.
Again, in 2002, ASUU went on strike for two weeks, and then in 2003, it experienced the then longest strike, which lasted for six months and ended in 2004.
In 2005, ASUU spent two weeks on strike. 2006 witnessed three days of strike action, while there were three months of inactivity in 2007, Obasanjo’s last year in office.
With 18 months of strike actions in Obasanjo’s eight-year tenure, ASUU averaged a month-long strike action every 5.3 months.
YAR’ADUA (4 MONTHS) — Umaru Musa Yar’adua emerged president in 2007, replacing Obasanjo.
He was Nigeria’s shortest serving president in the fourth republic, as he passed away on May 5, 2010, after three years in office.
Under Yar’adua, ASUU experienced a total of four months and one week of industrial actions.
The first of these strike actions began in 2008, after 49 lecturers were sacked from the University of Ilorin, Kwara State. The strike lasted for one week.
READ MORE: ASUU Prolongs Strike by Four Weeks
In 2009, another industrial action took place for four months. After this, the government and ASUU signed the FG/ASUU 2009 Memorandum of Action.
ASUU averaged a strike action every nine months under Yar’adua’s administration.
JONATHAN (12 MONTHS) — After Yar’Adua’s death, Goodluck Jonathan, his deputy, emerged president.
Two months after Jonathan’s emergence, ASUU embarked on a five-month strike action from July 2010 to January 2011.
ASUU complained about the failure of the government to implement the 2009 MoA, and again went on a two-month strike from December 2011.
Between July and December 2013, the union embarked on another strike. This lasted for five months and 15 days.
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The Jonathan administration, which lasted for five years, saw ASUU average a strike action once every five months.
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