PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND DEMOCRATIC CONSOLIDATION IN NIGERIA : A STUDY OF EBONYI STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Strike action or labour strike simply means the total mass refusal of all the employee to work as a result of some certain requirements and benefits which were not provided for their wellbeing, in any given country. This strike action can come up as a grievance placed by the workers of any established sector in the country. This strike in effect is very significant sometime ago during or at the time of industrial revolution in factories and mines when mass labour was important. In some countries years back, some owners of a factory had enormous political power over their workers that strike action was termed to be illegal exercise and obnoxious struggle for more benefits. The strike in the old, especially in the western countries were partially instituted and legalized during late 19th and early 20th century.
Therefore, as it stands in every sector or country in the world, that the effectiveness and efficient of any establishment is dependent on the workforce. Where the workforce is certain if the management and the workers (staff) are speaking with one voice, where non of them is having ill thinking and unduly expiated of right and opportunities/privileges, that could be achieved on the part of a sense of job satisfaction on the workers (staff) while the management would try to take of evitable means to have greater profitability and advantage over the workers.
It has been quiet difficult and dramatically uncalled for, that for the past 15 years of a democratic governance that no government is able to find a total solution to eradicate the recurrence of strikes by the Academic staff union of universities (ASUU).
According to (This day newspaper 14 Aug., 2013) where the finance minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala blastered the requests and demands of ASUU not realistic that it is not within the reach of the federal government, she further stated, that there are many things confronting the resources of the government and the federal government is relentlessly working to integrate the past increase in pension/salaries.
Albeit, the backwardness of education in this country (Nigeria) is majorly caused by this continues strike actions that is instigated by the university lecturers or teachers in both primary and secondary schools.
Nigeria experienced strike action during the military dictatorship of General IBB. That notwithstanding, the problem of strike still lingered during the tenure of the late General Sani Abacha. Everybody experienced strike in the country even when the president General Olusegun Obasanjor did not implement the agreement reached with ASUU. This was not enough that during the time of late president Umaru Musa Ya’ Adua, where he clashed with ASUU.
So this was a very bad remark for a country like Nigeria who have all it takes to satisfy the demand of everybody in the country is always embarking on strike. And therefore we recover from that of Yar’ Adua, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan after he had been democratically elected as the president of the federal Republic of Nigeria was welcomed with endless strike.
Meanwhile, the 1999 strike was on an agreement which devoted mainly to academic allowances and other terms and conditions of workers, aimed at addressing the twin problem of the rot in the Nigerian educational system and brain drains. However, the above things promised by the federal government was not implemented and that really caused the 1999 ASUU strike.
The strike action in 2001 by ASUU was an agreement based mainly on three items, namely, salaries and conditions of work, funding, and university autonomy and academics freedom. Where the agreement contained an understanding that the terms and conditions of work of academics would not be subsumed within the framework of the conditions of service in the civil service. This agreement contained a clause that the agreement would be reviewed every three years. This meant that it was due for review in 2004. Despite many reminders and pressure by ASUU to get government to review the 2001 agreement in 2004, government refused to provide an avenue for re-negotiation. Then the 2005 agreement consisted mainly on the understanding given by government to constitute its negotiating team by 3rd May 2005 to review the main agreement of 2001. Meanwhile, it was until 2006 that government was able to constitute its Negotiating Team.
It was after protracted foot-dragging that the federal government negotiating Team eventually came up with a salary consolidation proposal by which the salaries of university academics would be increased by 15%. Therefore, ASUU was either to take the consolidation or leave it. This, among others actually led to the 2007 strike action by ASUU.
The incessant strike action forced president Umaru Musa Ya’Adua to give ASUU leadership a private audience on 21st June 2007.
At that private audience, the president was reported to have admitted that the rot in the Nigerian education system was worse than a sinking ship, going by his experience when he became Governor of Katsina State in 1999. There, the president reported how secondary school teachers in Katsina State were not conducting laboratory practical because the teachers did not conduct any during their own training as students. He also expressed surprise how Nigerian universities could award first and second degrees, and even PhDs with near non-existing facilities, particularly in the sciences. As a first step, he directed ASUU demands to a presidential adhoc committee. Then the adhoc committee met ASUU on 25th June 2007, four days later, after the ASUU-President meeting according to a letter dated 25th June 2007 and signed by the permanent secretary, federal ministry of education, Dr. Aboki Zhawa, president Yar’ Adua had directed following the briefing by the president Adhoc committee to accept ASUU demands in broad terms detailed of which were to be negotiated and concluded later. In particular, according to Dr. Aboki Zhawa, president Umaru Yar’Adua directed that the Unilorin 49 lecturers who were sacked in 2001 following a strike action should be reinstated with all their benefits and entitlement paid. But up till date the age-long ASUU demands, including the reinstatement of UNILORIN 49 lecturers have not been addressed. But only 5 of the 49 who were union officials have recently enjoyed judicial victory in terms of the Supreme Court judgment which reinstated them unconditionally.
On the whole, the federal government still did not implement all that they promised, destroyed the practice of collective bargaining as the modern mode for determining terms and conditions of work. Really, this nastic act by the federal government represents an attempt to gradually drag the society back to the age when individual’s contracts of employment, as opposed to collective bargaining/agreement were predominant. This is the only interpretation that can be given to the public declarations by the ministers of labour, minister of education and the leader of federal government negotiating Team, Deacon Gamaliel Onosode. Therefore in separate public announcement, these government officials have simply stated that the federal government has increased salaries of university academics by 40%; the demand for retirement at 70 years granted and the other issues of university autonomy and academic freedom shall be discussed with individuals governing councils.
According to Onosode, the 40% salary increase is all that is affordable and sustainable as far as the federal government is concerned.
Amendment Act 2003 as gazetted on January 12, 2007, the proposed salary and other matters covered by the provisional Draft Agreement which was initiated by both team leaders for identification purpose, are now to be conducted by individuals university councils with their appropriate staff unions…………It also meant at this point that definitive action has already been taken by government on the issue of funding with view of improving university infrastructural and institutional facilities and staff development through the education trust fund (ETF). The relevant amendment bill is currently before the national Assembly (The Nation, 11 July 2009: 7-8).
Then in 2010, the eastern universities experienced a six months strike as a result of the inability of the federal government to implement 2009 agreements. In July 1, 2013 there was still strike action nation wide that lasted for five months that virtually kept all the university students at home roaming baselessly at the streets doing nothing while many Nigerians raised both positive and negative questions about the ASUU strike.
This in essence, made professor P. Okebukola, the formal N.U.C official secretary to say that strike is not good even in one bit in Nigerian universities for only ASUU, alone because there are four staff unions such as ASUU, SSANU, and NATT that any one of them is really fit to cause damage in the system (vanguard News, Aug. 29, 2012).
Which means these four unions should always have a concrete agreement in matters in relation to effect of endless strike and the dwindling standard of education in Nigerian universities.
This endless strike started in full-force at the return of democracy in 1999 that welcomed the fourth Republic where the ASUU demands did not seize to exist as an inalienable right to all Nigerian university lecturers to ensure university autonomy and academic freedom are actualized. And this endless struggle by ASUU acts like an opposition against the government of president Obasanjo.
Vehemently speaking, this tight agitation by the ASUU members made the formal president of ASUU to petition justice Mustapha Akambi of independent corrupt practices commission for investigating the authorities of the University of Ilorin for financial mis-appropriation in July 2002. And this in the other way round made ASUU to go on strike in 2007 that lasted for three months. Then in that order, ASUU sound one week warning strike in May 2008 to alert the federal government their demands which were not yet fulfilled. These demands were basically in increment of approved salary scheme and the reinstatement of the 49 lecturers who were expelled many years ago.
From all the above demands made by ASUU, the federal government still paid lack-lenture efforts which made ASUU in June 2009, to call all their members both federal and state universities to embark on indefinite strike over the breach of agreement based on what they reached on their agreement for two and half years which lasted three good months. It was really after the three strike exercise, in October 2009, where ASUU and the staff union signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government.
In July 22, 2010 where the south-east embarked on strike because of the non-implementation of the federal government and national ASUU in 2009 agreement, there the eastern part of Nigeria crumbed that the 2009 agreement was done to look into the issue of neglecting working conditions, lack of autonomy, retirement age of professors and poor funding were supposed to be implemented in all the state university.
Notwithstanding, the ups and downs the federal government promised to ASUU and their agreement with ASUU reached on October 2009, yet they still embarked on indefinite strike nation wide in July 1st 2013 over the inability of the federal government to implement the 2009 agreement mainly on those aspects that concerned principally, the earning allowances of the lecturers and the infrastructural development. It was found and estimated that the allowances should be up to 87 billion naira, which the government offered 40 billion naira and highlighted that the allowances will be paid with the internally generated revenue of the universities, out on 1.5 trillion designed for infrastructural development which the government offered to impact 1.1 trillion to start with 200 billion for 2013 and 220 billion in 2014 to operate simultaneously for a number of five years which ASUU told them that they are tried of accepting these empty promises of theirs.
Due to the fact that there have been so many neglect and the non-implementation of the agreement that was between FG and ASUU made ASUU in 2009 to hold tenaciously on the incessant strike. (Akpala, 2012), and all the university in Nigeria was in a sorry state and pity which gave so many citizens opportunity to go to nearby African countries to obtain qualitative tertiary education.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Emphatically, strike actions have been all times occurrence in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
Statistics have been carried out by scholars;
Ubeku (2001), Akpala (1999) and Amadi (1999) on the role of higher institutions and trade union in Nigerian tertiary institutions. This study revealed that academic and non-academic staff of Nigerian tertiary institutions have severally embarked on strikes, as a result of non-implementation of several agreements reached between ASUU and federal government and ASUU which have precluded most of the academic activities in Ebonyi State University for some months.
Based on that, this incessant strikes have really dwindled and hampered the success of scholarship benefits in Ebonyi State because when the academic activities are not running as usual, the possibility of academic programme like scholarship scheme will not be ascertained come what may. In some cases, this incessant strike have really scampered the academic cal-ends of all the higher institutions in Nigeria precisely Ebonyi State university when a semester is runned a month or two months as a result of endless strikes and lacks nothing to booster the academic performance of the students rather it has made some of the undergraduates and those who have graduated to be academically dullard.
It is not actually ascertained why ASUU engage in industrial actions and the extent they have affected the academic activities of tertiary institutions. Therefore, the strike action witnessed in Ebonyi State have been a great concern to students, staff, parents, employers and the Ebonyi State government.
Meanwhile, to this end, a lot of efforts frantically have been made by the government and University administrators to stop it, yet all to no avail. It is trustworthy against this background that the problem of the study is stated thus:
What are the causes of endless strikes
What are the effects of endless strikes
What are the remedies to the incidence of strike action in Nigerian higher institutions.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
These are the objectives of the study;
- To actually find out what causes the endless strike action in Ebonyi State University.
- To really know the effects of endless strike action in the administrative method adopted in EBSU.
- To painstakingly explicate how strike action can aid the management to ensure there’s positive performance in Ebonyi State University.
- To ascertain the level of workers performance and punctuality during and after strike action.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the causes of endless strike in Ebonyi State University?
- What are the effects of endless strike in Ebonyi State University?
- How can strike action aid the management in ensuring positive performances in Ebonyi State University?
- What are the level of workers performances and punctuality during and after strike action?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
A study on the ASUU endless strike and the dwindling standard of Education in Nigeria cannot only benefit the researcher and Ebonyi State University but it can be of benefit to every one in the society.
The project work is important in many ways that include;
The collective efforts of the ASUU members in bargaining for their rights from the federal government.
This research work can as well be of great benefit to the labour union and because of this work, they will understand the demands are very important in line with economic reasons that must be considered as loan resources of the state.
This research work is important to all the university administrators that stand in advantage to go in line with the management to consult all issues that involve or concern labour.
This study also will go a long way in helping the state and federal government to know that their lack tenure efforts to implement the agreements reached has contribute greatly to the endless strike action in the university system.
This strike action will make the government to solve all the problems of other unions such as the trade union as the formally reached an agreement to promote productivity and efficiency in the university system.
The trade union in the cause of this strike, strike will really be advantaged which will make them to understand that their demands are also important to the Nigerian economic realization and make it to be considered as a loan resource of the state and also the students who are always left frustrated as a result of strikes.
The study will be of important to all the lecturers because when there’s peace, and stability among the labour union, it will make them work assiduously to make the standard and quality of Education and concrete qualitative researches to be enhanced in the university system.
Lastly, this research work will be of great important to the researcher as this is an important requirement that will legitimize her for the award of the first degree (B.Sc).
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study focused in Ebonyi State university, the academic staff, non-academic staff and the students there in. It could have gone beyond Ebonyi State University but because of time factor and material resources that were limited, including some financial constraints, the study is limited to this scope.
The researchers findings may not exactly be the same in other tertiary institutions but by and large, what is procurable in Ebonyi State university is applicable in other universities in the country.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Frankly speaking, there were several hinderances that posed a lot of threats and problems that seemed devastating, that nearly made this research work unrealizable. There are thus;
Financial constraint: As a matter of fact, capital availability makes everything to be possibly executed at any given time. So money was a very big problem to this research work but I thank God for providing me with the money which I used in procuring the materials necessary, the money spent in researching from computer and my transport fees.
Time also was a limitation: As it is, because of this project work and to ensure its success, I had not time to engage in some other extra curriculum activities which I used to as the work totally denied me of such freedom to accomplish the urge to engage in those pleasant activities pleasurable to me.
1.8 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
This research work adopted motivation theory which is aimed to capture the understanding of the workers (lecturers) incapability to perform the duty they are directly in charge to perform.
So this motivation theory is a psychological feature that arouse an organization to act towards to ensure that the desired goal is actualized, control and sustain certain goal- directed behaviour. It can also be considered as a driving forces and a psychological one that forces or reinforces an action towards a desired goal. Motivation theory is definitely an inner drive to behave or act in a certain manner.
Under this motivational theory, I the researcher is going to use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs towards a better understanding of this research work. Therefore Maslow’s theory is one of the most widely discussed theories of motivation.
This motivation theory was propounded by an American psychologist Abraham H. Maslow and he developed the hierarchy of need consisting of five hierarchic classes.
According to A.H. Maslow, a theory of human motivation psychological review 1943, he was of the view that psychological needs or basic needs of the people are most essential in any organization. Such needs include food, shelter, clothing and air.
Moreover, to satisfy positive needs, an organization must provide the workers a salary that allows them to afford their living condition adequately.
These needs are stronger in a mans life and must be satisfied before other needs.
A man who is starting life needs to buy a good shelter and his major pre-occupation will be to secure that these basic needs are substantially satisfied.
Any amount to deny lecturers these needs could I resort to indefinite strike in an effort to protect his basic needs.
Another need is safety/security needs. Once the psychological needs are satisfied, safety needs are guaranteed. An individual safety becomes very important to him or her as security. Security involves free from threat or bodily or psychological harm or lost of job. Government must provide their workers with life and adequate health insurance plans, opportunity for saving and secure contract that enables lecturers to perform their duties without fear.
Another need according to Maslow is social needs which is often referred to as acceptance need. The individual have satisfied his two basic needs and an acceptance of love and beloved. He values friendship, affection, interaction, companionship and sense of belonging.
Another need according to Maslow is esteem needs. This is need for recognition, accomplishment, achievement and the need for a sense of worth and acceptance.
Man love to take responsibility and prove himself. The esteem need is the ego need. Man wants his contribution to be recognized and appreciated by management and co-workers. Then the feeling of professionalism, independence and confidentiality is highest at this stage.
Maslow went ahead with another need which is the self actualization needs which can also be called fulfillment needs. So this is the need for employee to reach his highest potential at his working place or in conquering his environment.
Therefore, the work of A.H. Maslow was supported by John Markson, where he stated that needs of men on earth whether in the house, in the office of work, in a government establishment and all worth not, are supposed to be provided to him in order to make life more comfortable. He further stated that the conditions of workers are supposed to be in the upper most heart of the employers in order to maintain the status-quo; (John Markson 1956).
He expressed that the social needs are the most important of all the need that can always make a man to be remarkably recognized and as well keep his reputations honourably.
Conclusively, Maslow notified that an average man satisfies 95% of his psychological needs, 85% of safety needs, 55% of his love needs, 45% of his esteem needs and 15% of his actualization needs.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
- EMPLOYERS: These are group of persons or person who are the right owners of a given sector.
They employ people who work for them in return for payment. This can often be business sector, partnership, company, public limited company etc.
- COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: This is a situation where group of people, an association and union come up to requesting for important things that are denied of them. This is also a method, a group of workers use in order to come to a particular agreement.
- BOYCOTT: It is a situation where the wages earners abstain from working, buying, using or dealing with someone or organization as an expression of protest.
- STRIKE: This is an act by which employees refuse to work in order to achieve a better working condition from the employers.
- STRIKE BREARERS: This means the group of people who do not join a strike action and continues to work while others are on strike. It can also be referred to those people hired to represent those who are on strike.
- TRADE UNION: These are group of workers in an organization set up to improve the standard and situation of employment of their members.
- ORGANIZATION: This is the coming together of group of people for a specific purpose who also have the necessary materials, tools, equipment even the working space that are brought together systematically and effectively to accomplish some desired goals.