The Academic Staff Union of Universities, popularly referred to as ASUU, is a union established in 1978 with the aim of promoting the cause of university education in Nigeria through adequate salary funding, proper educational fund and autonomy/academic freedom.
Over the years, in a bid to coerce the government to succumb to their will, the union has embarked on numerous strikes ensuring the closure of all universities under them, bringing the academic calendar to an indefinite halt.
These sudden strikes have brought about a number of mishaps such as the disarray of the school curriculum, stagnancy of the students as they refrain from learning a skill or getting a job in fear of when the strike will be called off, additional years used in studying a course and more. All these have contributed to the perception of the union as one that simply embarks on strikes and hampers school calenders.
With another strike looming and the anxious wait for ASUU’s final decision lingering, the union shocked students on Wednesday the 8th of December by awarding a 3 million Naira scholarship to 50 “most deserving students” of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka and also giving awards to meritorious senior colleagues between the years 2012 – 2020.
The scholarship award ceremony was held at the ASUU secretariat, UNIZIK. During the ceremony, the NAU Union chairperson, Comrade Stephen Ufoarah, duly noted that the scholarship was the contribution of the members of ASUU – NAU.
N60,000 was given to each of the students and a sum of N100,000 to the ‘most deserving student,’ Chinyere Ikenna Elizabeth, a student of the English and Literature department.
The beneficiaries and their parents expressed immense gratitude towards the union, praying for them and assuring them they would not regret performing this good act.
Showing her excitement, Beatrice, one of the beneficiaries stated: “I’m elated and thankful to ASUU for extending a hand of generosity and love even though they are owing them a lot of allowances.”
Miracle Ọkpara, another beneficiary also expressed her gratitude by performing a spoken word presentation during the ceremony saying thank you to the union.
It is worthy to note that the awards were not just distributed randomly as the students had to meet certain criteria, including applying for the scholarship, submission of CGPA results and passing through screenings. All these were done to ascertain the students who were really in need of the scholarship and those who were not.
In an interview with some of the beneficiaries, they stated how they had almost lost hope of being awarded because they heard nothing from the union for a while. Nevertheless, the long-awaited moment arrived and gladly, the union did not disappoint.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which is commonly viewed as an inconsiderate union doing more harm than good to the educational system of Nigeria, proved itself to be otherwise as with this action. They have shown that they are not only interested in the salaries of staff but also in the welfare of students.
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