By Ayuba Wabba
ON January 17, 2022 at the Opening of the 2020/2021 Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council Meeting, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr (Mrs.) Folasade Yemi-Esan said that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is not a trade union. This was widely reported by the news media. We find this claim as a misrepresentation of facts.
For the purpose of setting the records straight, the Nigeria Labour Congress wishes to disclaim the misleading statement by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation on the status of ASUU as an organization. The Academic Staff Union of Universities formed in 1978 was a successor body to the Nigerian Association of University Teachers formed in 1965. Since its formation, ASUU is a trade union affiliated to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The founding President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu currently serves as one of the National Trustees of ASUU.
The history of ASUU as a trade union has been that of struggles. The shining badge in the antecedents of ASUU is the commitment of the union to fight for the interests of its members and those of the ordinary Nigerian. The persistent demand and activism by ASUU for wage and social justice has seen the union and its members come under very heavy shellacking by successive governments in Nigeria.
It is truly sad that such a pan-Nigerian and progressive union composed of some of the very best intellectuals in Nigeria could be easily dismissed as not being a trade union by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. Whatever Dr. Mrs. Yemi-Esan wants to achieve with such a fallacious claim is difficult to discern.
We implore the Academic Staff Union of Universities which has been the intellectual backbone of Organized Labour and workers in Nigeria to ignore the disparaging claims by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. Dr (Mrs.) Folasade Yemi-Esan is not well informed of the claims she made as she is not a competent authority to assert on trade union registration and indeed ancillary trade union concerns in Nigeria. We also urge Nigerian workers and other well-meaning members of the public to ignore her comments.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni
19th January 2022