In a bold move that could reshape the landscape of Nigerian higher education, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has issued a two-week ultimatum to President Bola Tinubu, demanding the reinstatement of dissolved university governing councils. This ultimatum comes after nearly a year of operating without proper governance, following Mr. Tinubu’s decision to dissolve the councils last June.

ASUU, led by President Emmanuel Osodeke, a distinguished professor of soil science, minced no words in condemning the dissolution as illegal and contrary to established laws. The union’s statement paints a picture of chaos and illegalities within the university system, warning of potential industrial unrest if the issue remains unresolved.

Beyond the immediate demand for reinstating governing councils, ASUU raised a litany of grievances, including the diversion of education funds and the failure to renegotiate the 2009 agreement with the government. The union’s concerns extend to issues such as underfunding, the use of the IPPIS system for salary payments, and the rejection of the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standard (CCMAS) imposed by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

Of particular concern is ASUU’s staunch opposition to the proliferation of universities without adequate funding plans. The union sees this as a reckless move that could further strain resources and dilute the quality of education. ASUU’s resolve to resist further proliferation through legal means sets the stage for a potential showdown with the government.

The ultimatum also highlights the government’s failure to address the backlog of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) owed to university staff and the lingering issues surrounding the IPPIS system.

With ASUU’s deadline looming, all eyes are on President Tinubu’s administration to see how it responds to these demands. Will there be a swift resolution to avert a crisis in the university system, or are we on the brink of a major confrontation between the government and the academic community?

As the countdown to the ultimatum ticks away, the future of Nigerian higher education hangs in the balance. Only time will tell whether President Tinubu’s administration can navigate these turbulent waters and steer the nation’s universities back on course.

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