ASUU: To be on a safe side next time
Sir: Nigerians should learn to do the needful at all times in order to be justified in every pursuit. A situation where everyone behaves just anyhow without thinking about the larger picture or the consequences on the entire nation can never augur well. Take the issue of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike for instance, is it not funny that lecturers are asking to be paid for work not done and even insisting on collecting all the accumulated salaries before getting back to work? Funny enough, most people also support ASUU in its demand even when such stance is at variance with all labour laws. Well, it may be argued that ASUU members deserve to be paid since they were not wholly responsible for the length of time the strike lasted but basically due to the government’s intransigence and refusal to act on their demands on time.
But whoever must go to equity must do so with clean hands. What members of ASUU ought to have done while on strike is to resort to doing their work online so that there would at least be some elements of work going on. Technology has made things quite easier and students could have been engaged and kept busy while at home. With that, there wouldn’t have been any arguments about the justification or otherwise on the issue of payment.
If, however, members think that strikes should be total, downing of tools devoid of any work whatsoever, then there shouldn’t be any criteria to insist on getting paid for work not done because it’s not possible for anyone to eat his cake and still have it. Besides, if the government eventually agrees to pay the backlog of accumulated salaries just to let the sleeping dog lie, it would still amount to cheating on the students, their parents and the entire nation.
Jide Oyewusi, coordinator, Ethics Watch International, Lagos.