The suspension of admissions in Nigerian universities has led to the failure of the universities to process a total of 461,745 admissions, investigation by Saturday PUNCH has revealed.
The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board in the statistics provided for our correspondent, however, blamed the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities for the development.
“Some institutions confirmed suspending the process because of the ASUU strike; ASUU strike is a factor; many institutions are yet to commence 2021 admissions despite repeated appeals,” JAMB noted in the document.
Our correspondent also gathered that a total of 36,947 candidates of the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations processed their admissions in private institutions.
Saturday PUNCH reports that strike actions by university-based unions such as ASUU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities; Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and other allied institutions have continued to cripple academic activities in federal and state universities.
For instance, under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, ASUU embarked on strike in 1999 for a period of 150 days; 90 days in 2001; 14 days in 2002; 180 days in 2003; 14 days in 2005; three days in 2006 and 90 days in 2007.
Under the administration of late Umaru Yarad’ua, the union went on strike in 2008 for seven days; 120 days in 2009.
Under former President Goodluck Jonathan, the union left the classroom in 2010 for a period of 150 days; 2011 for a period of 59 days; 150 days in 2013.
Also, in the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), ASUU embarked on strike four different times.
In 2017, the union embarked on strike for a period of 30 days, while in 2018, the union shut down academic activities for a period of 90 days.
In the year 2020, ASUU embarked on strike for 270 days; which stakeholders describe as the longest strike in the history of Nigeria.
So far, in 2022, ASUU has been on strike for close to 186 days with no end in sight.
During strikes, academic activities are suspended.
In the data made available to our correspondent, it was noted that for the admissions for 2021/2022 session, which ought to have come to an end was still ongoing as a result of the strike.
Explaining further, JAMB noted that a total of 774,411 admission quotas were given to Nigerian universities to be split between federal, state and private universities.
For the federal universities, a total of 424,442 quotas were allocated.
However, our correspondent observed that only 136,527 admissions were processed despite over 595,757 candidates applying to 10 federal universities alone.
State universities got a total of 232,801 admissions quota but were only able to process admissions of 139,192 before the commencement of the strike.
Similarly, JAMB admitted that a total of 117,411 admission quotas were awarded to private universities but the board noted that only 36,947 quotas were filled.
Further analysis of the data revealed that some programmes also had lots of unfilled admission quotas.
For instance, Medicine/Pharmacy, which had a total of 39,850, only admitted 33,671 before commencement of the strike.
Social Sciences departments only admitted 53,723 applicants despite the 89,747 admissions quota given by JAMB.
Similarly, Sciences department with 121,696 quotas only admitted a total of 70,221.
Engineering, technology only admitted 35,051 despite a total of 58,451 quotas; Arts and Humanities also admitted 31,478 despite a quota of 47,727.
Similarly, for Law, the board noted that only 5,630 quotas were filled despite the 8,055 quotas allocated.
Giving further statistics, JAMB indicated that the strike also affected admissions for the 2020 exercise.
The board, however, gave the total of admissions processed at 551,553.
Meanwhile for the 2022/2023 admission, the board noted that a total of 1,649,310 candidates applied for university admission.
Though the board did not give a breakdown of the applications by category of universities applied to, it noted that over 500,000 of these applicants applied to 10 federal universities namely University of Ilorin; University of Lagos; Nnamdi Azikwe University; Bayero University Kano; University of Benin; Federal University Oye-Ekiti; Obafemi Awolowo University; University of Nigeria; Ahmadu Bello University and the University of Ibadan.
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, the Programme Director, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, said, “This is one of the consequences of the ASUU strike. Once there is a strike, activities are suspended.
“What is the hope of those who wrote the UTME in 2022 if the ones who wrote the UTME before them are yet to get admitted?
Meanwhile, sources within the National Executive Council of ASUU confirmed to our correspondent that branch congresses will commence by Monday.
Saturday PUNCH had exclusively reported that the union had commenced consultations over the results of the meeting with the Emeritus Professor Nimi-Briggs.
“Branch congresses will start on Monday unfailingly”, the source said.
Meanwhile, the National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, insisted that the union would not call off its strike.
“You heard the minister say that they would not pay us for the months we did not work. We have already given him an answer; we will move to a fresh session entirely,” Osodeke said.
No strike – CONUA
In a related development, the Congress of Universities Academics on Friday in Abuja noted that its members were not on strike.
The union’s National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sunmonu, made this known during a press briefing.
“Our members across various universities are not on strike, we also want vice-chancellors to stop victimising our members in their respective institutions. The constitution of the country promotes freedom of association.
“We have also not been receiving salaries, though we have declared that we are not on strike. It is in the public domain. So, we feel that withholding our salaries is unfair to us as a group of people,” Sunmonu said.
On the advice of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to students to sue ASUU, Sunmonu said, “Anyone who is a Nigerian has the freewill to seek legal redress if they feel disgruntled.”
Saturday PUNCH reports that the ongoing strike by ASUU entered its 187th day today.
The union is seeking the release of revitalisation fund for universities, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, end to proliferation of universities, deployment of the University Transparency Accountability System, among others.