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Democracy has served as a powerful accelerator for progress in the majority of countries where it is honestly applied. This is because of its principles, which strongly stimulate development.

In contrast, trade unions thrive in most democratic states. This allows businesses and workers to vent their frustrations or express themselves to the government without fear of being intimidated.

The university system, as the greatest level of education in any country in the world, has a significant impact on the state’s development. This is made feasible by training state employees in areas that will benefit the state’s growth.

Labour, on the other hand, forms groupings of similar trades to assist safeguard its own interests while carrying out their obligations. They are known as labour unions, and among them is the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

This study studied the effects of democracy and labour unrest on Nigerian tertiary institutions, utilising ASUU’s recent operations as a case study. During the inquiry,

the study assessed the effectiveness of the nation’s universities (which comprise both federal and state-owned institutions) under democratic governance. It also discusses the implications of the ongoing labour dispute between ASUU and the federal government on students and the nation as a whole.

Chapter one


1.11 Background of the Study

Nigeria’s experience with democracy has been epileptic since 1960, when she gained independence from the British administration on October 1st. 1999 will be the third attempt (excluding the third republic of 1993, which was abolished even before it began) to grasp the democratic ethos.

Today, Nigeria has moved on from its dark history, which included several years of military control that culminated in brutality and dictatorship.

Democracy has become a popular form of governance in almost every corner of the world today. This is based on the practice’s inherent principles, one of which is freedom of association (given that it does not jeopardise everyone’s peaceful coexistence).

Trade unions, on the other hand, are legal associations that allow workers to band together to force employers to meet their demands for better working conditions.

Furthermore, workers are the most powerful single force in industry, and when workers band together in collective action, they may easily shift bosses’ domination. The scenario necessitates the formation of a trade union, thus there is always a need to form one.

As a result, there is always a need for labour to counteract the onslaught of capital, which is one of the primary reasons why workers join trade unions.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is one of numerous trade unions in Nigeria. It is made up of teachers from all Nigerian universities, both federal and state-level. The union, formed in 1978, succeeded the Nigerian Association of University Teachers, which was founded in 1965.

ASUU’s predecessor mostly represented academic personnel at the University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), and the University of Lagos.

History has demonstrated that the Union (ASUU) was involved in the struggle against the military rule in the 1980s. In 1988, the Union called a nationwide strike to demand fair wages and university autonomy. As a result, the ASUU was banned on August 7, 1988, and all of its assets were seized.

The union went on to launch additional strike activities. It is thought that all of ASUU’s strike actions throughout the military era were motivated by a desire for democracy and a rejection of the military authoritarian regime.

Following Nigeria’s restoration to democracy in 1999 with the fourth republic, the union remained militant in pursuing university professors’ rights, despite opposition from President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

In July 2002, Dr. Oladipe Fashina, National President of ASUU, petitioned Justice Mustapha Akanbi of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission to investigate University of Ilorin officials for financial mismanagement and corruption.

In 2007, ASUU went on strike for three months. In May 2008, the ASUU went on a two-week “Warning Strike” to advocate for a variety of objectives, including a better salary structure and the reinstatement of 49 academics who were fired many years before.

In June 2009, the ASUU instructed its members at federal and state colleges across the country to go on strike indefinitely due to issues with the federal governments over the deal signed with the union several years before.

After three months of strikes, the ASUU and other staff unions signed a memorandum of understanding with the government in October 2009, thus ending the industrial action.

Going by all of ASUU’s acts and reactions during the military era and now in the democratic dispensation, one may conclude that ASUU was effective in the military administration and even more so in the democratic system.

This is because democracy, as a form of government, significantly favours labour unions. We should not forget that ASUU’s activities against the government have an impact on the students (undergraduates) who hold the key to the nation’s development.

These effects of ASSU’s operations in relation to government disagreements will be emphasised. Thus, this research will focus on ASUU’s activities from 1999 to 2010 and the repercussions of such actions on Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Furthermore, increased emphasis will be placed on the students, who are the sole reason why these higher education institutions were established in order to promote the development of human capital.

1.12 Statement of the Problem

With Nigeria’s transition to democracy, which is now a global form of governance, trade unions have been proactive, as they are now free to carry out their tasks. In most cases, a method is used to respond quickly to their demands (i.e., strike).

In light of this, this project work investigates graduates’ underperformance in the employment market, which is driven by a variety of variables. It also indicates the rising crime rate among undergraduates.

Furthermore, the ongoing strike actions carried out by ASUU from the fourth republic (1999) to the sixth republic (2010) were emphasised, which were thought to be the source of poor graduate performance in the labour market and a significant level of brain drain in the country.


The objective of this study was to:

Identify the impact of ASUU strike actions on student performance.

Investigate whether the rise in crime rates among undergraduates can be attributed to the prolonged strike actions.

Ø Examine the efficiency of ASUU under democratic and military leadership.

Ø Offer suggestions and recommendations to improve tertiary education quality.

1.14 Study Objective

The purpose of this study was to critically evaluate democracy and labour unrest as they affect Nigeria’s tertiary institutions of learning, with a focus on the academic staff union of universities (ASUU) and how its union activities can affect, positively or negatively, the quality of education in the Ivory Tower.


To offer the necessary empirical evidence for this study, the following research topics were considered to validate the recommendation:

1. What are the causes of graduates’ underperformance in the employment market?

2. Why is there an upsurge in crime among undergraduates?

3. How has the strike led to increased prostitution and unplanned pregnancy among female students?

4. What are the root causes of ASUU’s ongoing strike activities from 1999 to 2010?

1.16 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were extremely important in researching the aforementioned problems:

H01: Lecturer labour disturbance will have no substantial impact on graduates’ performance in the labour market.

H02: ASUU’s ongoing strike will not raise the rate of crime among university freshmen.

H03: The ASUU strike will not promote prostitution or unintended pregnancy among female students.

H04: There is no link between ASUU’s ongoing worker disturbance and democracy.

1.17 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will improve the effectiveness of universities’ contributions to Nigeria’s growth. This would be made possible by creating proactive university graduates, who are the primary catalysts for every nation’s progress.

Furthermore, because education is a serious business that requires a serious mind to manage, this effort would assist provide a solution to the ongoing industrial actions that have become the norm in Nigerian higher institutions.

Furthermore, research has indicated that one of the primary causes of brain drain among academics is the issue of strikes and terrible government policies.

This effort will help raise awareness about the beast (brain drain), which has caused many good academics and students to leave our country in search of a better life in the Western World, and will propose a solution to it.

It is hoped that the outcomes of this study will stimulate further research in the near future.

1.18 Limitations of the Study

As is sometimes the case, the researcher encountered some difficulties while working on this project. These limits included financial, time, and material resources for conducting research.

1.19 Limitations of the Study

The study focused mostly on ASUU labour unrest from the fourth to sixth republics and how their actions affected university students, either negatively or positively. In that vein, this article focuses on the Lagos States University (LASU) chapter of ASUU.

1.20 Definitions of Terms

Conceptual clarity is a critical necessity for any scientific or empirical inquiry since it establishes the foundation for complete knowledge of fundamental concepts that will be used. Concepts are the “building blocks” of any given subject.

The following notions require operational clarification:

a. DEMOCRACY: According to Adams Oshiomhole (2000), democracy is a necessary condition for long-term national development and stability. In other words, democracy is more than just periodic elections; it must be maintained via active involvement in order to endure.

b.LABOUR UNREST: Employers and others in the business world use the phrase “labour unrest” to describe strike actions. This is a period during which employees refuse to work in order to press their bosses for their demands.

c.TRADE UNION: T.M Yesufu (1965) defines a trade union as an organisation of employees dedicated to promoting and defending its members’ terms and conditions of employment, including their standard of life.

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