By Bashir Adefaka
The Nigerian education sector has once again been threatened by a planned nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The union is doing this to settle its disagreement with Federal Government on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
The question is, how necessary is the planned strike that is scheduled to begin in January 2020, considering the fact that many of such action by ASUU in the past was said to have happened in the national interest, particularly in a bid to ensure education sector development?
If the university teachers’ only reason for going on strike this time is for mere fact of stubbornness of some of their members, who refused to key into the Federal Government IPPIS as an integral part of its university system reforms programme, then, they should carry their cross alone. They will fail to secure the confidence and support of some of us who are either their students or had passed through them in the teacher-learner period.
What they should tell us they have not told us. Does IPPIS mean you will suffer salary cut? Does it mean your salaries will no longer come as regular as they used to be? Does it mean job cut to you?
The last time I checked, none of the above questions is the case. Then what is the reason for your strike with which you are threatening the entire education system of the nation?
I have been told that many of Nigerian public universities’ lecturers do not have their children schooling in public universities. How, therefore, would they know how the strike they inflict on the nation bites?
Now government says its position on the IPPIS had not changed and that those who failed to register for the payroll system would not receive their December salaries.
An officer of government reportedly said, “The government has been very clear that everyone must be on the IPPIS to be able to get salaries. So if you are not enrolled, how do you get paid?”
He, however, said the Presidency would take the final decision on the fate of those that had not been enrolled for the IPPIS.
The officer said no fewer than 90,000 workers in about 43 universities had registered for the IPPIS. He said 8,000 out of the 90,000 universities’ workers were lecturers.
He stated, “The IPPIS officials have done the enrolment across the universities based on the window given for the exercise to be conducted and they are back to the office.
“So, we are reviewing the data and whatever action that is going to be taken will be from there. But what I can tell you is that we have over 90,000 university workers on the IPPIS,” he said.
From the afforestated, where is the issue that ASUU is making? It should come clear so that we can see where they need us to support them. Else, the university teachers should prove to us that they are truly an indispensable ally in the project of moving the Nigerian education sector to the greater height.
*Bashir Adefaka is a Lagos based media practitioner.