The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) Branch, Dr. Olusiji Sowande, last week explained the rationale behind the recent nationwide strike embarked upon by the Union and why it was called off.
Dr. Sowande bared the minds of his colleagues as students, landlords, food vendors, beauticians, operators of business centres and commercial cabs, heaved sigh of relief from the abysmally low patronage, experienced while the strike lasted.

Speaking exclusively with FUNAAB Bulletin, in a telephone chat, the ASUU Branch Chairman, described the suspension of the two-month old strike as “another way of showing patriotism and commitment to revitalizing the University system”.

He explained that contrary to erroneous impressions in certain quarters that ASUU was selfishly fighting for its exclusive interest, especially, increase in remuneration, ASUU had been in the forefront of championing, for all Nigerians, the urgent need for government to better the lots of the nation’s ivory towers.

According to him, ASUU had consistently been at the vanguard of the struggle by tasking government to be alive to its responsibilities to the universities through dialogue, negotiations and embarking on strike, as last resort.

He pointed out that the Union went on strike on December 4, 2011, to press home its demand for the implementation of the 2009 agreements which, in the opinion of ASUU, had been abandoned by government.

Dr. Sowande stated that ASUU called off the strike last Wednesday to, “among other things, give government the benefit of the doubt; that it will implement the aspects of the 2009 agreements that was begging for actualization, before we start talking of re-negotiation come July, this year”.

The ASUU Chairman, who expressed strong confidence in his members, said that with the calling-off of the strike, “they (Lecturers) are already on ground for resumption”.

Meanwhile, FUNAAB students have started arriving at their rented off-campus apartments in Abeokuta, barely 24 hours after the strike was called off.

Checks by FUNAAB Bulletin revealed that social life is now gradually taking shape at areas, densely populated by the students, following their return.

The areas are: Camp, Isolu Community, Gbonangun, ‘Aso Rock’, Somorin, Alogi, Fajol, all within the ancient capital city of Abeokuta.

At Somorin, Fajol and Alogi, motorbike (Okada) operators confirmed to our reporter that students, who form the bulk of their customers, have started returning, thereby boosting patronage, which had been extremely low, due to their absence.

Some of the students, who spoke to FUNAAB Bulletin included an Ibadan-based 200-level Crop Protection student, Sulaimon, Kadyjat Ololade, and 200-level Plant Physiology and Crop Production student; Adewuyi, Imole-Ayo David.

Others are: Adebola, Tolulope Elizabeth, a 100-level Biological Sciences’ student and Ogundero, Bolanle, a 400-level Microbiology student.

According to them, their quick return was largely informed by the boredom of staying at home and the need to resume early and commence their studies.