Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Payment of Half Salary to ASUU: Buhari Government Hell-bent on Criminalizing Workers’ Strikes in Nigeria

CDWR calls on NLC and TUC to stop sitting on the fence and embark on nationwide solidarity actions including a-48hr warning strike in support of ASUU demands without much ado.

Federal government should accede to ASUU demands to save public universities from imminent total collapse.

ASUU UNAAB members protest march on the campus after their Congress

Solidarity speech by Eko John Nicholas, Coordinator CDWR Ogun State Chapter, at Congress of ASUU-UNAAB Chapter on Tuesday 15th November, 2022.

I bring you solidarity greetings from the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR), Ogun state chapter.  This congress here at the University of Agriculture Abeokuta (UNAAB), which I understand is replicated across campuses  nationwide couldn’t have come at a more auspicious moment, especially in these trying times in the recent history of your revered radical union – ASUU. This is more than apposite, given the ongoing siege by the cantankerous and irresponsible Buhari APC-led regime on lecturers and public universities.

Eko John Nicholas, Coordinator CDWR Ogun State Chapter, addressing the Congress of the ASUU-UNAAB Chapter on November 15, 2022

This is no accident. It’s the logical and inevitable outcome of a government, especially in neo-colonial countries like Nigeria, whose socio-economic philosophy of organizing society is backward and anti-people.

This has meant that the Buhari government like successive governments before it, fully subscribes to the IMF/World Bank dictated neo-liberal policies of underfunding of public education, cuts on public spending including salaries and allowances of workers, privatization of public utilities, retrenchment and casualization of workers, among other implementation of obnoxious anti-poor and workers policies. All geared towards cornering public fund for the sustenance of the lifestyles and greed of a privileged rich few, including the political office holders, at the expense of public good!

It’s this unjust profit system against the needs of workers and poor majority that is responsible for the present onslaughts on ASUU and public universities, and by extension public education.

The augment that the federal government is broke fails to fly in the face of recent revelations of monumental corruption and direct stealing of public funds by public officials and their business collaborators. These include the Accountant General of the Federation  Ahmed Idris who together with three others stole over N109bn and whose office, among other things, is in charge of the vexatious and fraudulent IPPIS which undermines the university system.

The CDWR avers that lack/scarcity of funds as presently being parroted by the federal government and it officials, as basis for not meeting ASUU demands, and the subsequent callous and insensitive payment of half/pro rated salaries are nothing but a ploy by government to criminalize strikes, while weaponizing salaries as vendetta against Nigerian workers, using the lecturers to test the waters of vindictiveness.

We at the CDWR condemn this vindictive act by the government in absolute terms, and demand immediate reversal.

We hold that this present impasse, and the obduracy of the Buhari administration, is made possible by the failure of the labour centres and the general workers movement to escalate the struggle in the defence of the public university education beyond the last one-off two days nationwide protests to a general strike and mass protest. It is lack of solidarity mass action by the labour movement that help embolden the regime and why it is comfortable to continue to attack the democratic and economic rights of lecturers, and could get more vicious in the coming days, if no radical measures are taken by the NLC, TUC and the civil society organizations to rein and clip the wings of this administration.

The CDWR therefore calls on the NLC and TUC to give a bite and not just a bark, to demands of ASUU by declaring nationwide solidarity actions including a-48hr warning general strike. This is to compel the regime to back down on its high horses, acceding to demands in order to save public university system.

Selling the DSM’s paper ‘Socialist Democracy’ at the November 15 Congress of the ASUU-UNAAB Chapter.

Above all, as intellectuals, ASUU and its members, moving forward most begin to take more than a passing interest in the quest to form and entrench a workers’ government, linking struggles for adequately funded public university education and against all anti-people policies to the need to defeat capitalism through the formation of a working peoples’ alternative political party with a socialist programme. As long as this profit system of capitalism, especially in a neo-colonial economy with backward, primitive and parasitic ruling elite, remains, underfunding of education, privatization of public utilities, half salary, retrenchment, redundancy, casualization and other ills would remain the lots of working people and the poor.

Our Demands:

  • Immediate payment of all outstanding salaries and allowances for the period the strike lasted, including full payment of October salary.
  • Implementation of all the recommendations of the various committees including the Nimi Briggi’s, set up by the Buhari government administration.
  • Honouring of agreements signed with ASUU since 2009 without further rigmarole.
  • Adequate funding of public education and democratic management of schools and institutions.
  • No to any attempts to criminalize strikes and attack Nigerian workers’ salaries and wages.
  • Immediate sack of ministers of labour and education for mismanaging strike causing Nigerian students untold hardship and undue delay.
  • Reversal of all hiked fees.
  • Emergency budgetary provision to execute immediate public works programme to upgrade teaching and living facilities in all public university campuses.
  • Democratic management of all universities through involvement of elected representatives of all staff unions and students in all decision-making organs.

Thank you

Eko John Nicholas

Coordinator, CDWR

Ogun State

E-mail: [email protected]