Why Federal Polytechnics Mubi, Damaturu Can’t Join ASUP Strike Action


By Dr. Ijasini John TEKWA

In recent times, industrial strike actions have been adapted as a noble option for settling industrial disputes in Nigeria. This time, it is the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) that is on it again for some obvious reasons that perhaps demands urgent national attention. As unionists, the ASUP members in the mentioned polytechnics are in firm solidarity with the National Executive Committee’s (NEC) decisions and the terms of bargain with the Federal Government. However, in as much as it saddens me to write fellow comrades and the amiable union leaders of ASUP on pages of newspapers, I am left with no other choice than to unfold the popular views of the concerned local chapter members in a print media. As a domiciled patriot, I consider it a noble responsibility to reduce these volumes of popular opinions into one piece, despite their unshaken support now and ever.

Unfortunately, most ASUP members expected NEC to have exempted member institutions that were previously battered by insurgency problems. A purposive random opinion poll showed that majority of ASUP members in Federal Polytechnic Mubi, Adamawa State and Federal Polytechnic Damaturu, Yobe State regrets their inclusion in the recently declared national strike action by 75% and 65% respectively, for the following undeniable facts:

1.      The NEC is fully aware that Federal Polytechnics Mubi and Damaturu’s academic calendars have been badly disrupted by insurgency problems since the year 2010. Consequently, several academic sessions were lost during exiles at the time insurgents overrun the 2 cities. This gross set back should have concerned the NEC decision to exempt these 2 member polytechnics from the declared national ASUP strike action.

2.      The 2 polytechnics are still recouping from the high death toll of both her students and staff suffered during the insurgency. Besides, the situation is still cloudy and every effort is been made by relevant authorities to rekindle hope in the citizenry by clamping down on insurgents. Instead of joining the strike action, these institutions should be assisted to fully recover from their lingered hopelessness, particularly among students that have unnecessarily overstayed on campus as a result of frequent disruptions in school calendars.

3.      Federal Polytechnic Mubi also suffered huge set back when unknown gunmen killed dozens of students in off-campus apartments on 1st October, 2012, which led to indefinite closure of the school. Consequently, school academic calendar was again truncated and students were unavoidably delayed from graduating with their mates in other sister Polytechnics across Nigeria. History should have still alerted the NEC and/or the general ASUP to exempt Federal Polytechnic Mubi, who has been scrawling at a snail speed to now meet up with other sister institutions across Nigeria.

4.      Prolonged stay of Federal Polytechnic Mubi students at home after the mentioned attacks was immediately followed by the fruitless National ASUP strike action of 2013 that spanned for about 9 months. Federal Polytechnic Mubi obediently complied in the interest of unionism and at the expense of institutional stability to unconditionally join the 2013 ASUP national strike. This time, the NEC is highly expected to understand and fully exempt ASUP members from Mubi Chapter to now recover the loss of academic sessions that resulted from the 2 successive episodes that led to cancellation of an academic session in 2013/2014.

5.      Even though, it is painful to add that the ASUP national body no longer values the Mubi Chapter as its own flesh, otherwise, the NEC should have still maintained its slogan ‘Injury to one is Injury to All’ by delegating a group to condole, mediate or downplay few of the serial challenges that undermined the integrity of the local chapter. To add salt to injury, the NEC couldn’t measure up to its expectations at the time ASUP members experienced deadly and despicable agony by trekking from Nigeria to Cameroon bare footed on empty stomachs. No single kobo was given to any ASUP member despite our initial resilience in monthly dues remittance, while its counterpart the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was issuing One Hundred Thousand naira (N100, 000) cash to each of her members in the neighboring Adamawa State University Mubi as a non-remittable relief package.

6.      Finally, as I learnt, the Federal Polytechnic Mubi chapter is currently served with a court injunction that restricts its right to join any industrial action until the matter before the court is formerly arbitrated or settled otherwise. Else, any attempt to join a strike action shall violate the court injunction and therefore becomes contempt of a court order.

Therefore, it will be an unwise act to milk a lactating cow to death, when one still needs to get milk from the same cow at other times. Typically, the famous nature of both Federal Polytechnic Mubi and Damaturu might only be a mirage, if they still venture into another indefinite strike action. Therefore, the NEC is highly expected to exercise nobility in her leadership by exempting these 2 polytechnics from the ongoing national strike. Similar noble examples abounds in ASUU strike history and ‘What is good for the Goose is also good for the Gander’. In addition, dialogue should always be prioritized over calls for mostly fruitless industrial actions that often culminate with little benefits and more renegotiations that incubate future disputes. Nonetheless, both of the local chapters are in high solidarity with the National ASUP and sincerely wish a collective success to the ongoing struggle to reposition polytechnic education in Nigeria.

United we stand, Divided we fall. Aluta continua, Victoria acerta,

Long Live ASUP,

Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria.


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