What is to be done to reset Nigeria to assume a new status of a developed country in the next three months should include finding a lasting solution to the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
This is possible instead of the labor unions joining the strike and prolonging it, using the non-resumption of the students to negotiate the demands of ASUU. The labor leaders should offer their platform to negotiate lasting peace in the nation. This is what is expected where developmental unionism is being practiced. What is required is the sound usage of the known methods of conflict resolution. ASUU issue can be solved within one week with a clear mind and patriotic intents of the stakeholders.
First, the minister of labor and his counterpart in the education ministry should resign or be thrown out of their offices for official lethargy and gross incompetence.
For several months, they could not and have failed to fashion out a lasting approach for settling simple staff grievances through the best grievance handling methodology in the best interest of the students who are the victims. They should not sit in their offices for a day longer. As the situation is, the ASUU strike could not be resolved only through prolonged negotiation; it requires instant conflict resolution actions. In practical terms, the government should urgently invite the striking lecturers for positive discussions to reiterate on the causative factors of the lingering strike including showing strong commitment to the welfare of the lecturers.
One quick step and key understanding that must be followed is not only to accept the issues of improving the quality of education through provisions of the necessary education infrastructures but to also show interest in the remunerations of the lecturers as the key education driving force.
After demonstrating strong commitment to what ASUU is asking for from all angles, it should be plainly pointed out to ASUU, through offering convincing reasons, why the present government cannot fulfill the whole underlying obligations in the agreement signed by the administration in 2009.
As a matter of regular expression of goodwill, It is not hidden that the lecturers on many occasions, told their employers that they are not averse to renegotiations if the present government cannot meet the demands in the 2009 agreement, while insisting on faithful, sincere and strong political will to implement the new agreement that may ensue from the renegotiation.
The steps towards achieving this condition, within 72 hours are; offering immediate offer of fractions say 25 per cent monetary expectations through the payment of a lump sum of monetary considerations for personal emoluments of the lecturers and infrastructural facilities for every university. There should also be placing the implementation of whatever remains on the future budget since it is well known that what is not budgeted cannot be spent. The next level payment or implementation will then be decided for quarterly releases based on conveniences of the government. The balances will be stretched till it can be said to have been finally defrayed. Third, the government, even when not asked, should make a stipend available as a bursary to the students as a way of cushioning their stress while they were forced to stay at home with their equally inadequately engaged parents.
Instantly, the resumption of ASUU will bring about a peaceful atmosphere in the universities, with the payment of bursary and guaranteed scholarship for brilliant but indigent students. It will redirect the minds of stakeholders to creative positivism.
The effect of these will positively resonate in the education environment and elevate qualitative teaching, learning and researching to a higher order.
Finally, government should make it clear to the lecturers that negotiations on the process through which their salaries will be paid cannot be enforced and that the current manner through which their salaries are being paid should be allowed unless the irregularities or at worst malpractices in current methods are so glaring and mutually agreed then the change being sought will becomes considerate. The government presently has an edge because the fair method of meeting salary obligations is the prerogatives of the employers of labor.