Tuesday 27 August 2013

ASUU Strike: Mass Struggle Needed to Break The Deadlock!

We  Warn Government Not To Attempt To Break The Strike

We Call on ASUU To Name a Day for Nationwide Mass Protest and Demonstration

Press Statement

From all indications, negotiation between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has broken down. Instead of the usual plea for patience and understanding from members of the public, what we now hear from top government officials are threats, blackmails and street-gutter propaganda.

The meeting, last week, between the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Pius Anyim and Universities’ Governing Councils and Vice Chancellors is a clear indication that the Federal Government is seriously considering forcing ASUU back to work. In 2009, similar efforts were made which led to the opening of attendance registers on campuses and the threat of "No Work, No Pay".

The ERC warns the Federal Government not to make any attempt whatsoever to force, hoodwink or arm-twist striking University lecturers back to work. In any case, such attempt will be defeated by the determination of the striking University lecturers and the solidarity of students and working class parents who are deeply concerned about the abject condition of public education and the unconcerned attitude of the President Jonathan's Federal Government.

Perhaps nothing better demonstrates the contempt that government has for public education than its offer of a measly N130 billion. If the truth must be told, this amount being offered by the government to meet the dire infrastructural deficit in the Nation's Universities as well settle backlog of earned allowance is too little to make any impact. Indeed it amounts to dousing a roaring fire with spittle. If the government could bail out failed banks with over N3 trillion since 2009 and yet could only raise a pitiful N100 billion to save our collapsing Universities, then it is already clear what the priorities of the government are. No doubt, the government cares for bankers and moneybags but has little or no regard for public education.

However the ERC also believes that ASUU's responses to Government's mounting threat and intimidation have been weak and slow. ASUU by virtue of its on-going strike is leading a movement - supported by many including students, parents and concerned Nigerians - to make government to recognise its responsibility to the funding and provision of quality, standard and accessible public education. As a result,  ASUU has the responsibility to win this struggle not just for its members sake but also for the sake of working class Nigerians who have no other option than public schools. People want to see the government held to account over its wasteful spending and looting of the treasury while public education suffers. People want to see our public schools transformed in terms of facilities and infrastructures after this strike. Any other outcome will be unsatisfactory to many.

Therefore it is ever-more incumbent on ASUU to come up with a fighting strategy and programs of action that can defeat the government and compel it to use  Nigeria's immense resources to fund public education. This is why the ERC urges ASUU to immediately name and begin to actively mobilise for a day of nationwide mass protest and demonstration that will see University lecturers, students and working class Nigerians march together in defense of public education.

We believe ASUU has the credibility and political authority to call Nigerians out to protest to save public education. If ASUU fully mobilises its own members and actively mobilise Nigerians to come out on a given day to protest and demand better funding of education, the response will be massive.

However it goes without saying that the strikes ravaging the education sector have exposed the President Jonathan's government as an anti-education government. No matter how much his spokespeople try to varnish the truth, nothing can hide the fact that President Jonathan's government is an anti-poor capitalist government that holds public education as well as the teachers and students in contempt. Otherwise how do you explain the litany of unimplemented promises reached with various unions in the education sector?

An example is the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) which suspended its strike for a month to allow government fulfill its promises. Up till now the demands of ASUP has not been met meaning that the Nation's Polytechnic could be shut dow all over again. Similarly, the College of Education Academic Staff Unions (COEASU) is gearing up for a strike over same grouse of unimplemented agreement.

We call on all the  Unions in the education sector to unite together to fight the government. What this means is that all the Unions in the education sector need to come together and work out a joint plan of struggle through which governments neo-liberal and anti-poor education attacks can be resisted.

We also call on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to declare a one-day solidarity general strike and mass protest to back ASUU and other unions fighting to save public education. However struggling for improvement in the funding of education is not enough, also crucial is the need to insist on the democratic running of schools by elected committees of students, teachers and communities. Only this can ensure that funds are not squandered but are judiciously utilised to meet the real needs of public schools.

Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                                                                                      
National Coordinator                                                                      

Saturday 24 August 2013



No doubt, there is urgent need for us to act now to save Nigeria's education sector from a total collapse! It will interest us to know that between 2000 and 2011, Nigeria government earned N48.48 trillion from the sale of oil alone against N3.10 trillion earned between 1979 and 1999 (Guardian, 24/3/13). With this tremendous revenue at the disposal of the Nigeria government, one would have expected it to translate to a commensurate improvement in the quantity and quality of Nigeria's public education as well as other social services.
Unfortunately, public education at present is more than ever enmeshed in a monumental crisis largely characterized by poor funding. As a matter of fact the budgetary allocation to education has fallen from 12.22% in 1985 to 8.5% in 2013. Comparing this year allocation of 8.5% with UNESCO recommendation of 26% budgetary allocation to education it is very clear that Nigeria government is not really interested in funding education.
This explains why the Nigerian government is extremely comfortable with 8.5% of budgetary allocation to education while about one-third of the nation's budget goes to salaries and allowance of political office holders. This is appalling especially in a situation where many countries with smaller GDP have their percentage budgetary allocations to education as follows: Ghana (31%); Cote d'Ivoire (20%); Kenya (23%); Morocco (17.7%); Botswana (19.0%); Swaziland (24.6%); Lesotho (17.0%); Burkina Faso (16.8%); Uganda (27.0%) and Tunisia (17.0%).

As a result of poor government funding, Nigeria's public education, from primary to tertiary levels is bedeviled with lack of adequate facilities for proper teaching, learning and research. Hostel facilities in the few schools where they still exist are dilapidated and insufficient. Access to education opportunities is greatly reduced. Over 10 million children are out-of-school in Nigeria.
Only just this year, 2013, about 1.7 million candidates sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and from the available space in all the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country only less than 29 percent of the total candidates will be admitted, thus leaving out over 1.2 million candidates.

Our academics have continued to seek greener pasture abroad which is leading to brain drain in our education sector. There are just about 34,504 lecturers left in the Universities. Out of this, only 75% or 28,128 are engaged on a full time basis. About 50, 000 more lecturers are needed to ensure adequate academic staff in universities. Yet nothing is being done about this even though there are tens of thousands of unemployed graduates who can fill these vacancies.
The University of Abuja has been turned to mere glorified secondary school. The medical and engineering faculties have been running without accreditations; facilities are not in place. Even other faculties are also in crisis with decaying infrastructures. At the Osun State University, about three sets of medical students are in limbo between pre-clinical and clinical stages because of the lack of a teaching hospital.


On Monday 1st July, 2013, the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) was forced to once again resume the industrial action which was suspended in February 2012. As usual, the issue again is the Federal Government's persistent refusal to fully implement the FGN/ASUU agreement signed since 2009.
Since 2009, the Union has embarked on series of actions including dialogues and warning strikes none of which has succeeded in convincing the government to meet its demands. Meanwhile ASUU's demands are not just about its members' welfare, it is also about the need to fund education properly and provide adequate teaching facilities.

An agreement is supposed to be an honorable contract between two parties. Contrary to this, the President Jonathan's government has been unfair to the letters and spirit of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement. For instance, while the agreement stipulates annual increases in budgetary allocation to education between 2009 and 2020 until it reaches 26%, the Federal government budgeted just a paltry 8.5% to education this year.
All ASUU is demanding now is that the agreement must be fully implemented. As students, we cannot be indifferent to the content of this agreement just because of our fears about the academic calendar!

Moreover, if this agreement is fully implemented, together with democratic management of schools to include elected representatives of education workers and students, it would mean better funding of education and a great relief to overburdened students. It is therefore, in our best interest as students to ensure this agreement is fully implemented by supporting ASUU and fighting together with them to save public education from collapse.

Unfortunately, while the unions in the education sector are currently engaging the government in a struggle to save the education sector from total collapse, nothing is being heard from the national leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)

Meanwhile, students suffer the most from government insensitivity to the funding of public education and the poor teaching and hostel infrastructures in higher institutions. Added to this are the assaults and attacks on student rights. For instance, nearly 10 students have been killed in extrajudicial circumstances by the police this year alone. UNIBEN students continue to cry for justice for the extrajudicial killing of Ibrahim Momodu. In UNIUYO, not only did police kill a student, 45 students were clamped into detention for protesting against fee hike. These are just the few injustices Nigerian students suffer.
In light of this, Education Rights Campaign (ERC) calls on students to boldly back the strike action of ASUU and other unions to save public education from total collapse. Also students should get organised to put forward their own demands on varied issues such as fee hike, poor teaching and hostel facilities, victimisation and attack on independent unionism and be prepared to mobilise protests and demonstrations to compel government to meet these demands.

As experience of the last three and half years has shown, it would take a far more monumental struggle than the one needed to get the agreement signed to force the corrupt capitalist government to implement it. This is why as ASUU embarks on another strike, we have to reiterate that this strike should not be taken as just a sit-at-home action. Instead it has to be taken as a mass struggle to compel the government to commit Nigeria's resources to the funding of education, provision of adequate teaching facilities and to meet the needs of staffs in terms of pay and working conditions. This means ASUU has to begin mobilization of its members as well as students, youth and the public for mass actions like rallies, leafleting and demonstrations.

Ultimately, not one of the demands of ASUU can be satisfactorily implemented without defeat in government's anti-poor education policies. Needless to say, only a government that is truly committed to using Nigeria's resources to fund education can fully and satisfactorily guarantee the pay and working conditions of staff. This is why in the current strike and subsequent ones, the demands for improvement in education funding, democratic management of schools to include elected representatives of education workers and students, and provision of free education at all levels have to be fully placed on the front burner, not as secondary issues but as demands ASUU would be willing to continue to fight for even if the agreement presently in contention is implemented.
We in the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) believe that to win the struggle to save public education, all unions (ASUU, NASU, ASUP, NUT SSANIP, SSANU, NANS etc) need to come together. We call for a jointly coordinated campaign of all unions in the education sector to press home the demands for improvement in education funding and democratic management of schools. We observe that the needs assessment report has caused cleavage between ASUU and non-academic unions in universities who suspect that the implementation of the report will lead to mass retrenchment of their members. All the unions especially ASUU must ensure that the implementation of the report, which emphasizes provision of the adequate facilities for quality education, does not lead to loss of Jobs in universities.

We call on ASUU, which is currently on strike, to name a day for nationwide protests and demonstrations that will involve its members as well as students and all members of the public concerned about the crisis of public education. We believe this is the best way to break the deadlock in on-going negotiations and to also combat government propaganda and blackmail. We also call on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to back the struggle to save public education with a 48-hour general strike and mass protest.

(1) Implement the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement and all other agreements reached with unions (ASUP, SSANIP, NASU, SSANU, COEASU, NAAT and NUT)

(2) Improve funding of education to 26% in line with UNESCO recommendation

(3) Improvement in the pay and conditions of all teaching and non-teaching staff

(4) Provision of free and quality education at all levels

(5) Immediate reversal of all hiked fees in LASU and other institutions in the country.

(6) No to Victimizations! For respect of the right to independent unionism

(7) No to Police attacks and killing of students! Release the UNIUYO 45!

(8) Democratic representation of staffs (academic and non-academic) and students in all decision making organs of schools.

(9) Nationalization of the commanding sectors of the economy under public democratic control and management.

Thursday 22 August 2013


ERC Reporters,
At the ERC organized public meeting on 17th August 2013, student and staff activists exhausted hours to pour out their minds on the deplorable state of public education in Nigeria and the tactics and strategy required in saving it. The theme of the meeting itself-"Building a united movement against attacks on public education: the roles of students and workers"-helped to stimulate the contributions of the speakers and participants. The speakers who led the discussion at this meeting were H.T Soweto (National Coordinator, ERC), Dr. Oyewumi (Vice-Chairman, ASUU-LASU) and Ayantuga Adetola Deputy coordinator, NANS Zone D.
While delivering his speech, H.T Soweto placed emphasis on the deplorable state of public education in Nigeria, which exists side by side with the abundant wealth of the country and the super salary earned by public office holders. Nigeria's public education is enmeshed in this current crisis because of the profit-first priority of the capitalist ruling class. Therefore to salvage this situation, students, parents and staff should be united with programmatic actions against calculated attacks of government. 

Dr. Oyewumi, Deputy Chair, ASUU LASU
Dr Oyewumi, who represented the Chairman of ASUU LASU, gave an analytical presentation while discussing the theme of the meeting. For him, the attacker of public education is the government who has the vast resources of the society in its custody, yet this government gives far less resources than what is needed to the education sector.
Last week, the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the economy, Okonjo Iweala, made the claim that the Federal Government does not have money to meet ASUU's demands. Responding, Dr Oyewunmi pointed out that "the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) made N5.4 trillion in 2012 alone." This is aside other major sources of revenue as crude oil sale, excess crude account being shared and looted by all tiers of government. Recognizing the class division of Nigera's Society as a factor in understanding the crisis of public education, Dr. Oyewunmi declared "we are the ordinary Nigerians, they (the ruling elite) are not ordinary. Fela compared them to armed robbers ... Many members of the ruling elite (Obasanjo, Atiku, Babangida etc) own private Universities so they don't want public universities to thrive". 
Fee Hike and the Crisis of Education Funding
The highlight of Dr. Oyewunmi's speech was his exposure, by using the Lagos State University as a case study, of how fee hike cannot be relied upon to fund education but will instead wreck it. The Chairman of ASUU LASU is already being witchhunted and persecuted by the Lagos State government for granting a newspaper interview where he expressed similar views. Comrade Raheem called for an open mass campaign by ASUU LASU to defeat the with-hunt. However this did not deter Dr. Oyewunmi from exposing the wrecking of LASU to the meeting's delight. According to him, for instance "the most fee paying faculty is the College of Medicine. We have 480 students paying 350,000 running into over N4.9 million. But the staff of the University requires about 85million as monthly salary. So if  students' fees should be the source of education funding, we can see how this will not work but will only lead to decay and destruction of education as we now see happening in LASU". 
The impact on students has been devastating. Example was given of a parent who sold their car to pay for their son's first year fees. They did not know he would have to pay the huge amount over the next three years. So when by the second year, their son came back home asking for another N350,000, the parents had to take a painful decision: he had to drop out since they have nothing else worth selling again! This is just a bit of the many instances of the APC Lagos State government destroying lives and dreams.
Together with crashed dreams, LASU as an institution is collapsing fast. Patronage for LASU has dropped over the last three years. Now many courses and programs in the institution face rationalization with attendant job losses. Solution to LASU's crisis will have to begin with reversal of the hiked fees. Regrettably the Lagos State government is not even considering it. This can only be resolved by struggle. Activists at the meeting called on ASUU and the LASU Students Union to join hands to build a struggle to challenge the fee hike and fight for its reversal.
Dr. Oyewunmi's exposure of LASU also helped to provoke debate about how mutual solidarity can be  built between students and ASUU. There is the feeling among some students that while ASUU always seeks students' support for their struggles, they fail to give the same when students are fighting against fee hike, victimisation, ban of unions and other anti-student policies. Ola from the University of Ibadan and Keye Ewebiyi (a former Secretary General of the LASU students Union) specifically questioned ASUU's attitude and approach when students protests against the LASU fee hike began. Patrick Benjamin from the University of Benin (UNIBEN) asked whether or not ASUU helps to defend students activists in cases of politically-motivated victimisations from school authorities.
But while reacting to these questions, Dr Oyewumi said that there is no solidarity gap between the academic staff and students. He cited the popular LASU 2011 struggle against an astronomical increment as an instance of this very cordial solidarity. According to him, while students were on the street protesting, ASUU was also at the background appealing to the government to heed to the demands of the protesting students. But as Keye Ewebiyi made clear at the meeting, "background" or "underground" support is not enough, what is required at every point in time students are fighting for their rights is public and open solidarity from ASUU such as students periodically gives and are presently giving ASUU in their on-going strike. As a step in this direction, ASUU LASU should issue a public statement to condemn the fee increment and call for its reversal.
ASUU Must Name a Day for National Protest and Demonstration
According to Soweto, the claim that government has no money to meet ASUU's demands, in a third-world country whose Senators earn more than the United States President, is provocative and vexatious. It shows the contempt which the government of super-rich ruling elites has for public education. We must respond with outrage against this claim and the government which has made it. ASUU must declare a day of national protest to mobilise its members, students and the mass of people to confront this government. Such a day of mass protest will also provide a good opportunity to expose the government's insincerity towards public education. Public forums like town hall meetings should also be convened as part of the mass activities to mobilise for the national day of action.

Hassan Taiwo Soweto, ERC National Coordinator
Dr. Oyewunmi advocated that students and workers who are being attacked by the hostile policy of the government must come together to end these numerous attacks. He warned that if such a synergy is not reached, government will continually neglect its social function and the poor and innocent masses will bear the brunt. This is very true. While ASUU has spearheaded the struggle to save public education, it is dangerous to believe ASUU can win through its own powers alone. Rather it will require building a united movement linking together ASUU, SSANU, NASU, NAAT, ASUP, COEASU and NANS in joint protests and demonstrations. 
This has been the central plank of ERC’s agitations among education workers involved in strikes and struggles. While we recognise the mutual suspicion and disagreements which exists in the relationship among the unions in the education sector today, we believe experience in joint struggle can help build a far better comradely relationship and mutual trust among them. This is especially in relation to the needs assessment report that has caused cleavage between ASUU and non-academic unions in universities who suspect that the implementation of the report will lead to mass retrenchment of their members.  All the unions especially ASUU must ensure that the implementation of the report, which emphasizes provision of the adequate facilities for quality education, does not lead to loss of Jobs in universities. 

Kola Ibrahim
Ultimately, forging unity among the unions in the education sector is very crucial to building a strong mass resistance to government neo-liberal onslaught on public education. Also is the need for the entire labour movement to take up the struggle to save public education. As a step in this direction, Comrade Raheem reiterated the call for the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to mobilise for a 48-hour general strike and mass protest to back the on-going ASUU strike as well as the struggle for provision of public fundded and democratically-managed education system.
Is it Shameful for Lecturers To Protest?
As the meeting made clear, the wrong idea that academics being elite members of society (i.e. Intellectuals) cannot be seen to be protesting has to be challenged among the ranks of ASUU. Unfortunately by not fully agreeing with the suggestion for ASUU to call a national protest, Dr. Oyewunmi betrayed some sentiments similar to this at the public meeting. Reacting to calls made at the meeting by ERC members and students activists that ASUU should name a day of national protest, he noted that the "deliberative democracy" in ASUU hinders radical activities. Similarly, he noted that the ASUU employs intellectual method in struggle instead of mass actions because of the age and social status of the university teachers!
The reality is that capitalism makes no distinction between intellectual workers and ordinary workers in its exploitation. For instance lecturers work in terrible conditions and in offices and with facilities so decrepit that it already scandalizes and belittles the status of academics. For capitalism as well, age is just numbers! Just few months ago, pensioners (with ages in the range of 80 years and above) had to embark on protest to demand payments of their entitlements!
Together with this is the propaganda regularly mounted by government to embarrass lecturers anytime they are demanding for their legitimate rights. One of this is the recent blackmail that all ASUU is asking for is a huge N92 billion as earned allowances for its members alone. Meanwhile, when broken down per lecturers, all the earned allowance amounts to is N12, 500 each. It is the non-payment of this allowance since 2009 when it was agreed that made it pile up to N87 billion and not the N92b government is claiming. Besides, the earned allowance only constitute of a minor part of the general demand of ASUU for adequate funding and provision of functional facilities in universities. 

Chinedu Agbebire, DSM Abia State
Faced with all these embarrassing blackmails and yet remaining on a sit-at-home strike is dangerous. ASUU need to urgently bring out its members to the street in protests and demonstrations to engage with the public and begin to challenge, with facts and arguments, governments propaganda and blackmail. Suffice to stress that the current strike embarked upon by ASUU would inevitably be defeated if it continues to be seen and prosecuted as a sit-at-home strike alone without demonstrations and street protests called and mobilised for by ASUU. During a similar national strike in 2009, it was the street protests and demonstrations organized by ASUU that prevented the breaking of the strike in a number of Universities across the country. If protests worked in 2009, then it is all the more reason why ASUU should make the best use of it now by naming a day of a national protest.
Tasks for the Student Movement
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone D Deputy coordinator, Ayantuga Adetola told the meeting that NANS Zone D is ready to use the medium of the ongoing struggle to save public education to push the demands of Nigerian students before the Nigerian government. Therefore to establish this, he declared that NANS would continue with the struggle to save public education even if the ongoing strike of ASUU is called off. 

Ayantuga Adetola, Deputy Coordinator, NANS Zone D
But as Soweto pointed out, for the NANS Zone D to be in a position to do this, it must be armed with concrete programs of action that can mobilise and galvanise masses of students into struggle. Expressing similar opinion, Comrade Chinedu Agbebire said that "For NANS Zone D to win the respect of rank and file students, there is need for it to come up with programs that are pro-student, pro-public education and anti-capitalist ... Indeed i believe NANS Zone D must call a one-day nationwide mass action". As Comrade Ola explained, NANS Zone D's collaboration with JAF for August 13 protest rally should not be an excuse for it not to try to come up with its own independent activities. While solidarising with the ASUU strike, there is the need for students to create their own campaign with demands on issues that affects students and use this as a rallying cry to mobilise mass actions. This would however demand that the NANS constitutional arrangement where-in affiliating unions are required to pay a certain sum as capitation fee is resurrected to ensure NANS is able to raise its own funding for its activities and to also ensure accountability and democratic monitoring of how such monies are spent.

Ola Jimoh, ERC University of Ibadan
There are many issues around which an independent student-led campaign can be built. Comrade Jamaal reported about the N20,000 fee regime at the Osun State College of Education (OSCOED) Ilesa. Similarly comrade Titus from the Polytechnic Ibadan (Ibadan Poly) reported about a new policy of the school management which consists of insisting that all students who wish to vote in the Students Union elections must buy an audio CD which has contents supporting and praise-singing the Ajimobi-led government of Oyo state. Patrick Benjamin from UNIBEN reported about the recent killing of a student by a Police DPO, the cover-up and students cry for justice. There are also the fee hikes in LASU and EKSU as well as proscription of student unionism in UNILAG and OAU. All these are enough to call well-mobilised protests and demonstrations.
The NANS Zone D leadership broke from the general run of pro-government and anti-ASUU opinion in the NANS bureaucracy to support the strike. The NANS Zone D organised the August 13 protest alongside with JAF and ASUU. This is a commendable development as it demonstrates the enduring power and impact of grassroots campus-based campaigns. While "talking with the leadership" could have played some role, that this same tactics did not work with the national leadership of NANS which was also "talked with" but has continued to stick with its pro-government stance shows other factors were involved. The fundamental factor is that the Southwest (zone D) NANS leadership sits atop a base of rank and file students different from what obtains in other zones of NANS. It was ultimately pressure from below that radicalised the NANS Zone D leadership.
However as most activists at the meeting noted, the current period no doubt provides an opportunity to step up the campaign for the rebuilding, reclaiming and revival of NANS and the student movement. This also means we have to take up all over again and popularize those old slogans (which were popular when NANS was still mass-based and permitted debate and agitations) as well as creating new and necessary ones to argue for a democratic, independent, self-funded, ideological-driven and fighting NANS.
Call for a Student Gathering/Mass Assembly
Summing up discussion, Soweto warned that only the maintenance of mass pressure from below can guarantee the continuous support of the NANS leadership for the struggle. This can only be made possible by constantly mobilising or suggesting to the leadership programs and activities like rallies, congresses, public meetings, symposia etc that can keep them constantly in touch with students’ mood and opinion.
For instance, the ERC is calling for a special student gathering/congress to be held regularly during this on-going strike to act as a mass assembly of students to coordinate the struggle. There is a huge potential for the convocation of such a special students congress/assembly to be successful if the  NANS Zone D leadership energetically mobilise for it. Such a congress/assembly which we strongly suggest to be convoked in the major urban centers like Osogbo, Ibadan or Lagos could be held on a campus or public venues like Gani Fawehinmi park or the NLC secretariat in Lagos will bring together union activists and rank and file students to debate and discuss the on-going strike, review previous actions and collectively plan new mass actions. Through this kind of gathering, it will possible to radically transform the outlook of the NANS Zone D leadership and transform  the nature of the NANS Zone D itself such that it comes out of this struggle as a democratic, mass-based and fighting student platform. 

Seliat, OOU Ago-Iwoye
Above all, while commending the leadership for the little it has done, activists must continue to challenge them to fight harder. A contrary approach would simply be opportunistic. Seliat from the Olabisi Onabajo University (OOU) challenged NANS Zone D leadership to stand out in its actions from the national leadersship of NANS in order to reactivate students' confidence in NANS. According to her "NANS Zone D has the power to do more than the light student mobilisation it did for last Tuesday's August 13 protest rally. NANS should do more and serve as examples to other zones!".
This is a bold challenge that the NANS Zone D leadership must take up in mobilisation for future actions. However given the pro-government and anti-struggle outlook of many local union leaders, a mobilisation strategy that focuses on appealing to the local union leaders to mobilise their members into buses and convey them to protest venues will continue to yield such few turnout as we saw on August 13. Because of the strike, there are very few students on campuses. Many people expressed disappointment later at not having been sufficiently aware of the protest. Also such is the level of corruption in the student movement that these local union leaders often demand to be paid before they mobilize students!
A fighting NANS Zone D leadership would have to come up with a more realistic and effective means of mobilisation which should consist of pasting posters and circulating leaflets on campuses but more importantly in the streets, bus stops, markets and communities where countless students who have returned home as a result of the strike could be independently reached with the mobilisational materials for action.
Of vital necessity however is the need to link the struggle to save public education with the urgent necessity to end capitalism by building an alternative political party of workers and poor people. Only a socialist transformation of Nigeria anchored on the public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy under working peoples democratic control and management can guarantee adequate funding for public education and other vital social services.