Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has issued a 21 days ultimatum for government to address all her demands or face industrial strike action. The union disclosed that its decision to issue the 21 days ultimatum, came after extensive deliberations on the outcome of the referendum conducted across chapters of the union.
They further disclosed that if the government fails to do the needful, the union will be left with no option but to embark on industrial strike action. COEASU cited many issues that necessitated its action, one of which is the dilly-dallying posture of the government to renegotiation of the COEASU-FGN 2010 agreement.
In a statement released by the union, it reads “While the long-anticipated renegotiation of COEASU-FGN 2010 agreement holds enormous promise for mutual resolution of several challenges bedeviling the college of the education system, the Federal Government has failed to accord the exercise deserved priority. Ridiculously, the Federal Government has refused to constitute her renegotiation team, after acknowledging receipt of our union’s team list on her request for over two months now”.
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The union also cited poor funding of the colleges which has seen them in deplorable conditions across States, which prompted them to issue the 21 days ultimatum. They disclosed that they have for a long time related the issues these colleges face to the government, while the government keeps promising them to address the issue, colleges of education remain poorly funded.
The union lamented how staffs in these colleges continue to suffer untold hardships, due to non-payment of salary and refusal to implement the statutory salary structure in full. Among other things, the staff in these colleges are faced with extraneous promotion criteria, idiosyncratic policies, improper domestication of the 65-year retirement age for workers in the college of the education system, and multiple promotions without financial effects, to mention just a few.
As a result of lack of proper funding, many colleges find it difficult to operate smoothly, as many state governments have abdicated their responsibility as proprietors to the TET fund, as the only projects visibly in these colleges are the TET fund projects.
All these strike actions and proposed strike actions in the educational system in the country, is a clear indication that these political class do not regard the educational sector in the country, as long as their wards are not affected.
ASUU still has its demands unmet, which forced them to extend their strike action to 12 weeks. Nigerian polytechnic lecturers on the other hand have declared a two-week warning strike which takes effect from Monday 16, following the failure of the government to implement the memorandum of action (MOA) signed in June.
As if all these are not enough, colleges of Education lecturers have given the government 21 days to address the union’s demand else it will embark on an industrial strike. It seems the government has so many unmet demands in various educational institutions in the country, as it stands now, it won’t come as a surprise if secondary school public teachers also decide to embark on strike, because those saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the educational sector is properly funded, have no regards for education in the country.
As long as their children are not affected, they can choose to ignore the demands of these unions, not minding whose ox is gored. Rather than meet the demands of these unions, they are more interested in the upcoming 2023 elections, seeking selfish desires. At this juncture, it is pertinent to say that the educational system in Nigeria is totally in shambles.