Corruption in the educational sector in Nigeria. The continuous strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2019

62 Pages, Grade: 8.0



1.1 Background to the Study
1.2. Statement of the Research Problem
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Research Objectives
1.5 Research Hypothesis
1.6 Scope of Study
1.7 Significance of the Study
1.8. Limitation of the Study
1.9 Definition of Terms
1.10 Organization of the Study

2.1 Conceptual Review
2.1.1 Corruption in Nigeria
2.1.2 Strike in Nigeria Institution of Higher Learning
2.2 Theoretical Review
2.3 Empirical Review
2.4 Gaps in Literature

3.1 Research design
3.2 Study Population
3.3 Sampling Techniques and Sampling Size
3.4 Research Instrument
3.5 Reliability and Validity of Research Instrument
3.6 Research Procedures
3.7 Method of Data Analysis and Statistical Tool
3.8 Conclusion

4.1 Preliminary analysis
4.1.1 Frequency Distribution of Respondents Background Information
4.1.2: Frequency Distribution of Respondents’ View about Causes of ASUU Strike, Nature of Corruption in Higher Institutions and Incidence of Strike
4.1.3 Cross Tabulation
4.2 Estimation
4.3 Discussion of Findings

5.1 Summary of Findings
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendation
5.4 Limitation to the Study
5.5 Suggestions for Future Research


This study examined the nature and effect of corruption on the incessant strike action of Academic staff union of universities (ASUU). Corruption cannot be overemphasized as to be one of the major factors that have deterred the Nigerian educational sector from achieving optimum results and meeting up the requirements of the 21st century. In this regard, corruption is seen to be a form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit benefit. Thus, to examine whether corruption really has an effect on the unending ASUU strike. To achieve this objective, four research questions and a research hypothesis were formulated to guide this study. A standard question was used as the major instrument for data collection from 100 officials of three labour unions- ASUU, NASU and SSANU of Obafemi Awolowo University. These three groups identified are the principal actors in industrial relations within the university system. A sample size of 35 ASUU officials, 35 SSANU officials and 30 NASU officials were randomly selected using simple random sampling technique. The data collected from the respondents was analyzed using simple percentages and the statistical tool employed to test the earlier stated hypotheses study is the regression and chi-square statistical tool. The p-value of 0.000 indicates that there is a significant relationship between corruption and incidence of strike actions in Nigeria university system. The study concluded with some recommendation that government should increase allocation to the Nigerian education sector in order to ensure the country’s Education standard match up with that of the rest of the world and also government should create a forum where prominent stakeholders of the two factions can meet continually to discuss matters of concern without having to embark on strike action.



1.1 Background to the Study

University worldwide is regarded as the citadel of knowledge, the fountain of intellectualism, the most appropriate ground for the incubation of leaders of tomorrow. According to Ike (1999) a university fulfils one major function, it is a knowledge and value provider, in other words, a university progresses when it is able to provide knowledge and value and when it is not properly managed by the administrators and staff, it then fails in its function of providing knowledge and value. Irrespective of the numerous advantages of university education in Nigeria, the educational sector still faces numerous challenges. These challenges have deterred the sector from achieving optimum results and meeting up the requirements of the 21st century. The major problem facing educational sector in Nigeria is corruption, and it has led to unprecedented level of industrial unrest and so many official assaults than other institutions.

Industrial actions cannot be alienated from higher education discourse in Nigeria. It is practically impossible to tell the history of the nation’s university educational system without the inclusion of events and periods of strikes. Strikes of various natures and of different reasons have become a normal phenomenon in growing inconsiderate policy making relationship between the government and academia (Prince, 2015). Two kinds of strikes can be noticed in Nigerian institutions of higher learning: the internal and national strikes. Internal strike takes place within an institution; this could be in a university, polytechnic, monotechnic or college of education. Such strike is triggered by factors inherent in each tertiary institution. National strike involves many tertiary institutions. Strike can also be total if staff withdraws their services completely from their places of work. It is partial when staff report at their places of work but refuse to work. It can also be definite or indefinite. Definite strike lasts for a specific period of time (i.e. days, weeks, months or years), while indefinite strike does not have specific time limit. Warning strike lasts for few days and is meant to intimate government or the institution’s administration of an intending total strike. (Ige 2014)

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was formed as a trade union in 1978 to protect and add great impetus to their struggle for their corporate interest. In fact with the formation of ASUU, the relationship between the academics and the federal government became more acrimonious and antagonistic. Certain actions of the government fuelled this crisis the more. For instance the dismissal of some academics by the government in the same year the ASUU was formed led subsequently to their galvanization and mobilization of academic against government forces, which were considered a great threat to their corporate interest. This dismissal, which was carried out on alleged complicity of the academics in the nationwide demonstration by students that same year attracted wide condemnation from articulate and radical members of ASUU. (Obasi 1991:4) ASUU has explored several industrial actions to ensure that the government pays some listening ear to the problems bedevilling the educational system of the country. Popular among these actions is the strike; which is outright stoppage of work by all academic staff of public universities in the country. Strike is basically targeted at mounting pressure on the government or employers to change some policies as well as improve the welfare of workers (Amadi and Precious,2015).

Although it is stipulated in the constitution that strikes can be used as avenues to express public opinion which can bring positive changes. However, the rate at which the institutions of higher education embark on strikes is alarming and despite these strike actions, the upshots of these incessant strikes have not been reflected in the institutions. The standard and products of Nigeria’s higher education are getting lower despite various strike actions that have led to highly improved inputs and this situation is a pointer to the fact that there is a rot in the system. Buttressing this point, Dr. Nasir Issa Fagae remarked in 2012 that the union would only place a moratorium on strikes when the federal government does the same on corruption (Daniel, 2012).

The challenge of corruption remains a devastating issue facing Nigeria since independence. Describing the extent of corruption in Nigeria, Okeyim, Ejue and Ekanam (2013:24) write that “corruption is pervasive in Nigeria”. In the same light, Tony Blair, one time British Prime Minister in one of his state official visits to Nigeria describes Nigeria to be “fantastically corrupt” and this description suggests that corruption in Nigeria is systematic and deep rooted in the psyche of majority of Nigerians. (Douglas Magdaline, 2017) What is more worrisome is the manifestation of corruption in the affairs of the university system. The university has an autonomous status which implies a minimal intervention of any agency into its affairs but the administrators of the system have rather used the autonomous status for personal aggrandizement by holding the government to ransom through incessant strike actions.

The university normally attracts huge release of funds from international donor agencies, multinational corporations as part of their corporate social responsibility, federal, state, local governments, town unions, individuals and so on but regrettably such huge and massive flow of funds are not properly accounted. The seals and impressions of corruption and corrupt practices are noticed starting from the point of the release of such funds. The federal government has never openly asked ASUU to provide any details of how previous disbursement made to improve infrastructure in the university. Ninety percent of the money meant for the development of the system disappears into the pocket of ASUU because there is no adequate check and balance system in the university and because ASUU want to have as much money in the hand to steal, they often go on strike to ensure government releases funds and this is major reason why there have been incessant strike actions in the university in recent times.

In recent times the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has exposed the huge scale of corruption going on inside Nigerian universities. SERAP reported that there were several unresolved cases of diversion of university funds for personal use; mismanagement, improper use of university assets, inflation of cost of contracts, award of contracts to friends or relatives, auctioning university assets without authorization. The special report uncovers how allegations of corruption in federal universities are neither thoroughly investigated nor culprits punished. (Iyabo, 2018) The former Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology (FUTA) Professor Daramola and Bursar, Mr. Emmanuel Oresegun, were charged with allegation of corruption, fraud, stealing of funds of the university totalling N156m. The former acting Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Anthony Elujoba is also being currently tried by EFCC for misappropriation of funds. Also in 2016, a budget monitoring committee of the local chapter of the ASUU had accused the management of OAU under Omole for mismanaging N3.5bn intervention fund released to the institution for upgrade of facilities. (Iyabo, 2018).

Following these and several cases of corrupt practices in the university, the ministry of education decided to set up 10-man ad hoc committee in response received from different stakeholders within and the institutions with variety of allegations bordering on irregularities, abuse of due process, mismanagement, fraud and corruption among others. These allegations have created mistrust and hostility between the federal government and ASUU and this has to a very large extent hindered the smooth conduct of academic activities to the detriment of the student. Against this backdrop, this study seeks to assess the effect of corruption on the unending strike actions of ASUU.

1.2 Statement of Problem

It has been observed in the history of tertiary education in this country that there had been incessant strikes in our tertiary institutions to draw the government’s attention to a range of problems that has continued to hinder meaningful progress in the education sector. Specifically in 2013 ASUU demanded that government should fulfil an agreement it reached with it in 2009 on how to save the nation’s Universities from collapse as education is considered to be one of the basic foundations for human and societal development.

Nigerian universities are autonomous, that is, the operation and running of its affair are entirely secluded from the government and the public. The implication of this is that the universities are not mandated to provide to the public how disbursements provided as a result of their demands (which they drive home through strike actions) are spent. They don’t announce how the money the money they twisted out of federal government after strike actions are utilized and this has corruption-breeding consequences which may lead to further strike actions as to have much money at hand to steal for personal use.

Scholars like Eghaha (2003), Onyeomnu (2006), Azamosa (2012) and others have written and carried out studies on the historical account of ASUU strike, causes of ASUU strike, effects of ASUU strike in Nigeria but not so much attention has been given to corruption as the precipitator of the strike actions. Based on these preceding observations therefore, it will be of immense research interest to investigate and assess the impact that corruption plays on the incessant ASUU strike.

1.3 Research Questions

The following research questions guide s the study

- What are the causes of ASUU strike in Nigerian Universities?
- What is the nature of corruption in Nigeria’s higher institutions?
- What is the effect of corruption on ASUU strike in Nigeria Universities?
- What measures have been put in place to manage ASUU strike?

1.4 Research Objectives

The specific objectives are to

- Determine the cause of ASUU strike in Universities
- Assess the nature of corruption on the incessant ASUU strike
- Examine the effect of corruption on ASUU strike
- Appraise the ASUU- Federal Government conflict management techniques.

1.5 Research Hypothesis

This hypothesis will be tested in the study

Ho: There is no significant relationship between corruption and the incessant ASUU strike
Hi: There is a significant relationship between corruption and the incessant ASUU strike

1.6 Scope of Study

This study focuses on the assessment of corruption in the frequent antagonistic relations between federal government and ASUU from 1992 to 2017. This is because these periods experienced lots of federal government-ASUU crisis.

1.7 Significance of the Study

The outcome of this study will constitute an important source of literature for future researches on the subject matter. Again this study will fill the gap in literature on the subject matter because it will help us inquire more on the effect of corruption in the incessant antagonistic relations between the government and university academics.

This study will also provide an insight into the development and advancement of academic unionism in particular and professional unionism in general. This is because according to Isamah (185:15) very little is known about professional unionism and very little information exists on the subject matter. It is ultimately hoped, therefore, that this research will enable all who come across it to device better means of managing industrial relations both in public and private organizations. This project will therefore contribute immensely to the existing knowledge in the sense that it will in essence assess the impact of corruption in the seemingly intractable nature of FG-ASUU cum labour dispute

1.8 Limitation of the Study

A study of this nature is not easy to accomplish for its wide scope and for the expense it would involve such as financial problems, material cost, apathy on the part of the respondents and bureaucratic procedure involved in releasing data in the institutions used as case study. These limitations, however, do not serve as hindrance to the effectiveness and validity of the study.

1.9 Definitions of Terms

Industrial Action: Industrial action occurs as a result of dispute between employees and employers of labour. Industrial disputes according to Praveen (2011) are disputes between employees and employers on any ground, which could finally result to strikes, lockouts, etc, which affects both parties on either the short or long run. Industrial action is a characteristic attribute of collective bargaining in particular and industrial relations in general. It is the weapon of power in the hands of employees against employers which is utilized whenever situation demands. From independence till date, Nigeria has been faced with several industrial disputes; most popular among them is the ASUU-Federal Government face-off which seems never to end. Strike is one among numerous forms of industrial actions. Corruption: Corruption as a concept does not easily yield itself to a one size fits all definition. This is why people see it as a “difficult concept to define” (Brunnelle-Quraishi, 2011:101, Ganahl, 2013) and one that evades a universal prescription (Transparency International, 2003). The direction in which the above points hand towards is that definitions of corruption can be varied and divergent. To be expected, a concept that lacks universal prescription may open itself up to numerous manifestations, manipulations or interpretations as people in different cultures may conceive it but all such conceptions across cultures may have one thing in common namely corruption and corrupt practices have disabling, impairing and devastating consequences on individuals, institutions and the economy of the states. Corruption in this study incorporates any act that deviates from those rules and regulations that govern the behaviour and action of any one in a position of public authority especially actions that turn such privilege into avenues for personally and privately amassing wealth, power and authority.

Strike: Strike (Chijioke 2013) is an organised work stoppage by a body of workers to enforce compliance with demands made on an employer or a group of employers. A strike often takes place in response to the employees’ grievances over some issues in their place of work. Most strikes called by unions are somewhat predictable; they typically occur after the contract has aspired. Strike connotes a persistent refusal of employees to engage in part or all of the service for which they were employed. It signifies and partial or total breakdown of cordial relationship between the management and staff. In the hands of the employees, strike is a veritable tool that is used to press-home their demands and force the management force the management to act accordingly. ASUU considers strike as the last option that is potent enough to influence government decisions (Tahir, 2014; Ibrahim, 2015)

1.10 Organisation of the Study

The research is divided into five chapters. Chapter One is the introduction and it comprises of the background to the study, the statement of the problem, research questions, objectives, research hypothesis, methodology, significance of the study, scope of the study, and the definition of key terms.

Chapter Two reviewed relevant literatures on the subject matter using thematic and conceptual method. Chapter Three presented the methodology for the study. The study area, study population, research instruments, sampling techniques, data collection and analysis were stated. Chapter Four focused on data presentation, interpretations and discussion of finding. Chapter Five consists of summary, conclusions and recommendations of the study.


Amadi, E C. Precious, U. (2015). Effects of strike actions on educational management planning of universities in rivers state , Nigeria-Africa. Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review (Nigerian Chapter, Volume 3(11) pp 28-36

Azamosa, O.S. (2012). Industrial conflict in Nigerian Universities: A case study of the
disputes between Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the
Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow

Daniel, (2012). Stop Corruption and We Will Stop Going on Strike. Retrieved from

Douglas, O. N. Magdaline, C. E. (2017) Corruption in the Education Industry in Nigeria: Implications for National Development. European Journal of Training and Development Studies, Volume 4 (1) pp.1-17, February 2017

Eghagha, H. (March 2013). The current ASUU strike: Retrieve from: ASUU strike.htm

Ibrahim, A. (2015).Impact Appraisal of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Strike on Quality of University Education in Nigeria . The Online Journal of Quality in Higher Education. Volume 2(3) pp 84-88.

Iyabo, L. (2018). Cesspool of Corruption at Nigerian Universities. The Guardian, Retrieved from

Prince, C.G.A. (2015) Strikes in Nigeria Higher Education: An Appraisal. Paper Presented at the 3rd School of Education and Humanity Conference on the Future of Higher Education in Africa Held at Babcock University

Obasi, I. (2002). Politics and Globe Dictionary. Nigeria: Jamoe Enterprises Nigeria.

Okeyim, M.O, Ejue, J.B and Ekenem, S.A (2013) Governance and Corruption in Nigeria: A philopsychological Analysis. Net Journal of Social sciences, Volume 1 (2) pp 24-32, October

Praveen, M. V. (2011). Industrial relations. HRM study material. University of Calient- school of distance education. Available online at: SemIndustrial-Relations

Tahir, H (2013). ASUU Strike and Faltering University Education, Vanguard August 25,

2013Retrieved from:



2.1 Conceptual Review

This section reviews extant and existing literature of our variables which are corruption and strike actions.

2.1.1 Corruption in Nigeria

Corruption as a concept does not easily yield itself to a one size fits all definition. This is why people see it as a “difficult concept to define” (Brunnelle-Quraishi, 2011, Ganahl, 2013) and one that evades a universal prescription (Transparency International, 2003). The direction in which the above points hand towards is that definitions of corruption can be varied and divergent. To be expected, a concept that lacks universal prescription may open itself up to numerous manifestations, manipulations or interpretations as people in different cultures may conceive it but all such conceptions across cultures may have one thing in common namely corruption and corrupt practices have disabling, impairing and devastating consequences on individuals, institutions and the economy of the states. What can be inferred from the varied and divergent nature of the definitions of corruption is that corruption can be defined strictly from a political, economic, cultural, moral and general perspectives and any definition can be provided or plausible depending on the angle from which any one may be operating from or an inclusive definition of the concept can also be provided. Because corruption is characterized by many trends and manifestations, many scholars and institutions provide definitions of corruption that contain the trends and manifestations of corruption in their own environment or locality. This feature of corruption helps to make discussions that are focused on corruption more elastic and robust because a feature of corruption in one country that is absent in another can help illuminate more lights on how people in another culture or setting can understand and explore the same concept as well as solve its multi-faceted problems. This, in a way means that corruption comes in layers or hierarchies. Layers or hierarchies of corruption could refer to the class of persons involved in corruption and corrupt practices, the modus operandi of corruption or the prevalence of corruption among a people in a state.

Appreciably, the vast array of the definitions on the concept tend to converge on one central theme which is manipulation of some sort to obtain personal benefits at the expense of others (be it the state, organization, or the citizens). Thus, corruption indicates a commission or omission of an action, an abuse of trust, or vice which ultimately changes the legal as well as the ethical obligations of a public function to the pursuit of private objective of political, social, or economic benefits (Agatiello, 2010). Therefore, this intuitive notion of corruption presupposes that the public agent abuses his/her authority or the resources under their stewardship in order to gain some benefits from an external private agent or even another public agent (Agatiello, 2010). According to Nye (1967) corruption is:

a behaviour which deviates from the formal duties of a public role because of private-regarding (personal, close family, private clique) pecuniary or status gains; or violates rules against the exercise of certain types of private-regarding influence. This includes such behaviours as bribery (use of reward to pervert the judgment of a person in a position of trust), nepotism (bestowal of patronage by reason of ascriptive relationship rather than merit), and misappropriation (illegal appropriation of public resources for private-regarding uses).

The foregoing background information on corruption can be well appreciated when viewed against the background of definitions of corruption as provided by scholars and institutions. Corruption according to Brunnelle-Quraishi (2011) is derived from the Latin word “corruptus” which translates as “to break”. For Khan (1996), corruption incorporates any act that deviates from those rules and regulations that govern the behaviour and action of any one in a position of public authority especially actions that turn such privilege into avenues for personally and privately amassing wealth, power and authority. The World Bank (1998) defines corruption as the use of public office for private gain and in the views of Lawal and Tobi (2006:643), “corruption is any conscious attempt or deliberate diversion of resources from the satisfaction of the general interests to that of the selfish (personal or particular interest). Ojiade (2000) is more inclusive in his definition of corruption when he writes that corruption is any systematic vice perpetuated by individuals, society or a state in general, where not-too-good concepts for equality, social harmony and harmonious living e.g. favouritism, nepotism, tribalism, sectionalism, undue enrichment, amassing of wealth, abuse of office, power, position etc become norms upon which the people and the state operate.

In the same vein Iyanda (2012:39) citing Ngwakwe (2009) reports that Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency - Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) defines corruption from economic perspectives as “the non-violent criminal and illicit activity committed with objectives of earning wealth illegally either individually or in a group or organized manner thereby violating existing legislation governing the economic activities of government and its administration” In virtually all these definitions, a flash-point that unites all the definitions is the inclination of someone or an entity to use his position or its entity to amass wealth and other advantages for himself or itself at the detriment of the masses, the institution where he works and in total contravention to the oath or other regulatory means he had promised and sworn to. In fact in its plethora of meanings, a single thread that runs through is that corruption is abuse of office, privilege and hence an unethical behaviour whereby one who is entrusted with a position either in public or private institution capitalizes on that trust to grab, divert and appropriate the resources of the public or private institution for his personal benefit, gain or personal advantage.

Basically, corruption is inclusive. An idea imbedded in the inclusiveness of corruption is that corruption enjoys a lot of patronage from across all strata or layers of the society so much that it exists among low and high profile members of the society ranging from messengers, clerks, gatemen, members of all arms of government, students, teachers, the clergy and members of various bodies, civil servants union leaders, private businessmen and women. In all these, a truth that stands out is that corruption is a morally condemnable act that is condemned by morally conscious individuals but people globally find it difficult to resist the attractions and temptations of corruption. Corruption by its nature is universal and does not restrict itself to borders or geographical territories. In the same vein, corruption does not restrict itself to a particular political regime. Corruption is also not restricted to a particular sector of the economy. In fact corruption and corrupt practices are common denominators that developed, developing and under-developed states share in common and in all these states, individuals and institutions that perpetuate corruption and corrupt practices intentionally and willingly do so as they on their own create window of opportunities that promote and make corruption possible. In a way perpetrators of corruption and corrupt practices take exceptional interests in grabbing all the benefits their states can afford to themselves, in addition to being least committed to the ideals of social justice and human rights in their states. What this tries to suggest is that in states where corruption and corrupt practices flourish, priority and conscious efforts to focus on the welfare policies for the people are usually not a priority of the state simply because available resources for initiating welfare of the people are usually not a priority of the state simply because available resources for initiating welfare policies are cornered or diverted by a given few minority who hold the majority hostage. Underlying the motivation for corruption globally is human nature, fanned,



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Corruption in the educational sector in Nigeria. The continuous strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities
Obafemi Awolowo University
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Nigeria, Education
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Shola Oladele (Author), 2019, Corruption in the educational sector in Nigeria. The continuous strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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