The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is a successor of the Nigerian Association of University Teachers (NAUT) formed in 1965, when there were five Universities in Nigeria, viz, University of Nigeria (established in 1960); University of Ibadan (founded in 1962), having its parenthood in the University College, Ibadan, founded in 1948 as a College of the University of London; Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria); University of Ife and University of Lagos (all three founded in 1962).  Following this, the National Body known as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was inaugurated in 1978. Soon after, the Union spread to all Public Universities (Federal and States) in Nigeria.



In 1980 when the then College of Science and Technology was upgraded to Rivers State University of Science and Technology (now Rivers State University), ASUU was immediately formed in the University and it was led by Dr. Simeon Chituru Achinewhu in 1980 as the pioneer chairman. However, ASUU had little presence and was virtually not existent until 1991/1992 when Dr. Napoleon Immah of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences assumed office as the Chairman. The first year of the Dr. N. Imaah-led Executive witnessed the negotiations between the ASUU National Executive Committee (NEC) and the Federal Government/Ministry of Education in the late August, 1992 which resulted in the landmark ASUU/Federal Government agreement of Sept, 1992. Dr. Imaah had the arduous task of creating awareness among University lecturers at RSU regarding the new salary package and the challenge of getting the University administration and Rivers State Government to accept and implement that package

Thus, from 1980 to date, the following lecturers have held the positions of Chairman of ASUU in Rivers State University (RSU)

  • Simeon Achinewhu                                  (1980-1982)
  • Lolo Izonfou             (1982-1984)
  • Emmanuel I. Douglas                  (1984-1990)
  • Napoleon Imaah (1991-1992)
  • Nimi Tariah (1992-1994)
  • Sam Ovuru (1994-1996)
  • Victor Omuaru (1996-1998)
  • Nnamdi Obuzor (1998-2002)
  • Steve Amadi (2002-2004)
  •  Dienagha (2004-2006)
  • Emilia Jaja (2006-2012)
  • Dr Felix Igwe (2012-2013)
  • Suobere T. Puyate (2013-2018)
  • Prof. Emmanuel O. Ekwulo (2018-Date)



Principle as a concept expresses the fundamental beliefs or ideals that individuals use in action. Such principles or ideals not only help the Union in deciding between right and wrong but also in making decisions that involve right versus wrong. Examples of these principles are integrity, honesty, loyalty, patriotism, excellence, transparency, accountability, professionalism, objectivity, and hard work.   Thus, ASUU as a union that operates in a University is guided by these values which most organizations or unions neither possess nor inculcate such into their members.  Members of ASUU in this University have right from the formative stages possessed these qualities. Hence the innate quality of lecturers can be reckoned with anywhere in the world.

Integrity, transparency and accountability are important principles that guide the conduct of members of this union. Principles are used in measuring the conduct of individuals and of the union as a whole. Integrity is the ability to apply a set of morals or ethically validated rules consistently to one’s behaviour, irrespective of the circumstance. One of such morals is concerned with the need to speak and uphold the truth. Another decries the inability to keep promises. To have integrity is to be able to do the things that we have consistently accepted as right consistently. Transparency is the ability to act in such a way that one is not only honest but seen to be honest. It is the ability to discharge one’s obligations in a way that leaves no blemish on one’s character, image or reputation. The transparent person is open because he or she has ‘nothing to hide’. Transparency is particularly critical in the areas of decision-making and disbursement of funds and resources.

Accountability is the degree to which we believe that we are responsible or answerable to our members and the Nigerian people as a whole for our actions and decisions. ASUU insist on applying these principles regularly. It must be mentioned here that integrity is particularly valued.  Great value is also placed on professionalism, objectivity and hard work. The union is committed to academics that speak the truth and extol courage, sacrifice, selflessness and total commitment.

Internal democracy, teamwork and group solidarity are very important principles of work in the Union. Internal democracy expresses the way in which leaders conduct the affairs of the Union. It exists when the grass roots members participate fully in decision making. Team work expresses the degree to which synergy, insights and contributions of members are sought. The principle of group solidarity consist in the belief that what affects one affects all other members and branches of the union.


The Principal Objects of the Union are as follows:

  1. Organization of Academic Staff engaged by universities and who are qualified  for membership;
  2. Regulation of relations between Academic Staff and employers and between members;
  • Establishment and maintenance of a high standard of academic performance and profession practice;
  1. Establishment and maintenance of just and proper conditions of service for its members;
  2. Advancement of the education and training of its members;
  3. Provision of benefits and other assistance to the members as provided in the Constitution;
  • Encouragement of participation of its members in the affairs of the University system and of the nation;
  • Protection and advancement of the socio-economic and cultural interests of the nation; and
  1. Such other objects as are lawful and are not inconsistent with the spirit and practice of trade unionism




Welfare of Members and Relationship with University Administration

ASUU RSU in line with the objectives of the Union regularly engage the University Administration and Governing Council with a view to  maintaining cordial relationship between academic staff and employees and between members, and establishing proper conditions of service for members. The Union encourages members to participate in the affairs of the University and regularly as the need arises; provide benefits and other assistance to members.


ASUU became increasingly vigorous and uncompromising in its engagement with the University administration and the Rivers State Government, as the autonomy and funding aspects of the 1992 Agreement remained unimplemented after over a year. In 1993 the local Chapter of ASUU had cause to embark on a strike over the aforesaid issues. The State Government, represented by the then Deputy Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, met once with the Executive of the Union, and with some members of the State House of Assembly in attendance. When the ASUU National Executive Committee raised the same issue with the Federal Government in 1994 and decided on a nationwide strike, the RIVSU Branch was one of the State Universities where compliance was total.

A series of meetings were held between the University Administration and the local Branch to prevent or at least minimize the disruption of academic activities. The meetings yielded no result. The State Government stepped in, inviting the ASUU and Administration to meetings at Government House. On May 9, 1994 the then Military Administrator of Rivers State, Lt. Colonel Dauda S. Komo, was personally in attendance at the Government House meeting. Also in attendance were the Vice Chancellor, Professor Augustine Ahiauzu, and the then State Commissioner for Education, Dr. Asita O. Asita (former ASUU Ex-Officio member). It ended in a deadlock.

Another meeting between the State Military Administrator, Lt. Colonel Dauda S. Komo, and the RSU ASUU Exco was held on June 27, 1994 at the then Presidential Lodge along Ernest Ikoli Street, Old GRA, Port Harcourt. Former ASUU Chairman, Dr.Nimi Tariah, then State Commissioner for Agriculture, and his Education counterpart, Dr. Asita O. Asita, were present with the Military Administrator. On the ASUU side were Dr. Sam Ovuru (who had taken over from Dr. Tariah as Chairman), Mr. Dianam Dakolo (Publicity Secretary) and three others. That meeting also ended in a deadlock as the State Government was unwilling to grant any of the demands of the lecturers.   The Rivers State Council of Chiefs decided to intervene at that point, inviting the ASUU Exco to a meeting on July 7, 1994. The meeting took place at the Rivers State House of Assembly building in Port Harcourt. Still, it was a stalemate because no offer was made to ASUU.

As the strike persisted, some student cultists mobilized their members and attacked the residence of ASUU Exco members on the campus in the night of July 25, 1994, causing some damage to doors, Louvre blades and flower pots, at the residence of Dr. Oboho husband of the Financial Secretary, and elsewhere.  The situation at the RSU Branch became a source of concern to the ASUU NEC, which dispatched a team to the institution on August 19, 1994, the second of such visits by the NEC within three weeks. Then ASUU President, Prof. Asisi Asobie, led the team which included Professor Abubakar Momoh, of Lagos State University, Ojo. The NEC also met the University Administrator in a bid to mediate. The effort yielded very little result, but the NEC advised that the local Branch be more flexible in its approach. The tenure of the Dr. Ovuru- led Exco ended in 1996 and it was replaced by a new one.

As regards participation of members in governance of Rivers State and the Rivers State University community, it is on record that at one time or the other the Union has produced past Commissioners, Special Advisers, past Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Emeritus Professors, just to mention but a few.



The history of ASUU struggles in Rivers State University cannot be complete if the protracted strike of 2012 is not captured. Dr. Felix Igwe-led ASUU Executive commenced a local strike that started on 13th August, 2012 owing to the reappointment of the former Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Barineme Beke Fakae in violation the law of the University. The strike was embarked upon as a matter of principle for the protection and preservation of the law of University. During that period, members of the Union especially the EXCO members were humiliated and victimized. The leadership of the Union were arrested and detained on 13th February, 2013 from 8am -10pm. The arrested members who were being conveyed on a public bus to Port Harcourt Prisons as like “awaiting trial” miscreants were however intercepted by the then Commissioner of Police (Mr. Joseph Umbu).

The strike action which commenced on 13th August, 2012 was finally suspended on 1st June, 2015 following the intervention of the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief (Barr) Nyesom Wike. The Governor in the course of his inaugural address on May 29, 2015, formally recalled the striking lecturers, who had not been paid since August, 2012. The Governor condemned the actions of then Vice Chancellor of the University as well as the former administration in Rivers State. and directed the immediate restoration of the rights and privileges of the striking lecturers. Their salaries and evolutions were also paid in arrears.

At present, there is an existing cordial relationship between the Union and the Rivers State Government, University Governing Council, University Administration, Staff and Students. This situation has provided a peaceful and harmonious working environment on campus.



The greatest challenge of the Union has being to make Government and University Administration understand that ASUU is a partner in progress for the development of the University, the State and the nation in line with the union’s principles of integrity, transparency and accountability. These principles are expected to guide the conduct of members of the Union.

The Union is also faced with the challenge of effectively curbing exam malpractice, “sorting in examinations” and sexual harassment in the University system. This is because of lack of adequate information on the issue.



ASUU encourages the participation of its members in affairs of the University system, the state and by extension the nation. Hence, the union is hopeful that in the nearest future, its members will be effectively involved in the protection and advancement of the socio-economic and cultural interest of the state and of the nation.

Also, in view of the current cordial relationship between the Union and the University Administration and in consideration of the recent policy on sexual harassment, the Union is hopeful that efforts to purge the system of vises such as  exam malpractice, “sorting in examinations” and sexual harassment will yield better results.



The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Rivers State University Branch will continue to constructively engage the Council and by extension the Rivers State Government for the maintenance of industrial harmony and peaceful resolution of industrial disputes when and if they arise. The Union in this branch has had its own fair share of struggles. Like a phoenix it has, arguably, risen from the ashes. It has fought gallantly for the benefit of the academic community, and has remained focused on greater heights.


ENGR. PROF. EMMANUEL OSILEMME EKWULO is a Professor of Highway Transportation Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He is currently the Head of Department of Civil Engineering, Rivers State University. He obtained B.Tech. degree in Civil Engineering from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, M.Tech (Highway Transportation Engineering) degree from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Civil (Highway) Engineering from the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Worked with MARITEK ENGINEERS, YENAGOA, BAYELSA STATE, NIGERIA where he took part in the design and supervision of road and bridge projects. Corporate member, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE). Corporate member, Nigeria Institution of Highway and Transportation Engineers (NIHTE), Registered Engineer, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). His academic, industrial and research experiences span more than twenty two (22) years. He has successfully supervised over ten (10) Masters and one PhD degree students. He is currently supervising a numerous number of master’s students and one (1) PhD candidate. He has participated in many local and International conferences where he presented papers. He is currently a Peer Reviewer for some journals, and has over thirty seven (37) scientific papers published in local and international journals. Research interests are in the area of material testing and highway pavement design.

Phone Number: +2348033421341