The party described the Muhammadu Buhari-led government as a “failed and reactionary federal government” while calling for all Nigerians to join the mass action.
“The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria embarked on a legitimate total strike on the 14th February 2022. It did so after several appeals, diplomatic efforts and warning strikes to draw the attention of the federal government to the union’s demands, and to the government’s own responsibility to respect agreements sealed under its authority. Further, the academics, as usual, engaged in broad consultations with stakeholders and its general membership, all in an effort to stave off the last option in industrial relations: strike. Though these efforts were not perfect, they carried the support of the majority.
“The demands of ASUU were not necessarily new or unknown to their employer, the federal government, via its education ministry. If there was anything new in the package, it had to do with roping university salary administration with the single treasury account system adopted by the federal government. Here the snag was a choice between the state imposed Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the union’s preferred University Transparency Account System (UTAS). Both sides were agreed that the payroll and personnel information system needed improvement. In sum, ASUU’s demands, among other things, centred on: improving facilities, funding, payment of withheld salaries and allowances; a new salary package; and ASUU proposed electronic payment system (UTAS), as against that imposed by the government (IPPIS).
“The PRP is aware of the hushed fears of government, that acceding to ASUU demands will trigger copycat strikes in the entire higher education sector and outside it. Already polytechnics are on the move, so are monotechnics and sister institutions. All are justified in this struggle for sector survival and improvement under a generalised system of state education sector exploitation and ‘de-leveraging’, as opposed to systematic leveraging of for-profit higher and sub-higher institutions owned by cronies and ‘vulture capitalists’. Even here, the less influential amongst these have come under the hammer of extortionist taxation, while operators in underclass neighbourhoods have to invent multiple charges to stay in the school business and still make profit at the parents expense.
“Although previous administrations have underperformed in their handling of industrial relations in the higher education sector, this administration has outperformed most in its insensitivity, incompetence, and sheer lack of good faith to resolve the issue. So third party participants in the negotiations have observed and categorically stated. The tortuous negotiations between ASUU and the federal government’s team have not just dragged on for too long, but amount to regime sabotage of the nation’s development. Children of ranking public office holders, as ordinary folks are quick to point out, school abroad where there are no ASUU strikes and lost semesters.
“While we in the real PRP declare our unflinching support for the ongoing ASUU strike and for NLC`s solidarity protest coming up on the 26th and 27th of July 2022, we view the Nigerian student as among the most oppressed and exploited in the world, both by government and a few odd actors amongst the teaching and administrative fraternity in the higher education sector. This, however, is no time for blame game. The fight at hand is a good fight. Let’s network, mobilise, organise, and march against deeducation, and for the fulfillment of ASUU’s genuine demands by a failed and reactionary federal government and the exploitative social system that it represents.
“Recall that in this struggle for salvaging the university system, some have, in the long wait, passed on, while others, especially students, may never return back to campus again, futures permanently altered. For this reason alone, it is justified to hold an unaccountable government accountable, in the only language it understands: mass protest.
“We call on all real PRP members nationwide to join the protest on the 26th and 27th of July 2022.”