ASUU and politicians birds of a feather

I commend the media on the significant role it has played and it is playing to avert the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ongoing industrial action by serving as the mouthpiece for the public university students to the warring factions, to let them know the jeopardy this strike may cause. I pray, this one will not lead to the reincarnation of the 2020 palaver.

There is no gainsay the fact that our ivory towers have collapsed. What is the essence of a university that turns out half-baked graduates that are not productive. Do you think Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state still believes in the university education of this country when he sent his son to study in Regent University overseas? What of Buhari’s children Zahara and Yusuf that graduated in 2016 at Surrey University, United Kingdom? or Atiku’s daughter Hafsat, Ike Ekweremadu’s daughter, Sonia Chinonso Ekweremadu, even Osinbanjo’s son in 2019 and some others?

The matter of ASUU and the federal government is very convoluted due to the opacity, insincerity and carefree attitude that revolve around their loggerhead. It would amount to being skewed by supporting one and leaving the other. In a serious country, the issues of this age-long conflict would have been resolved by any government not looking at whether it was APC or PDP that caused it; a problem that has its spring from the military regime and its odorant is still reeking and polluting the air. What a shame! It seems the thing is just moving from bad to worse almost every year. Partly because here, we like to be using political stratagems to an issue that requires urgent attention. In 2021, President Buhari went for an education summit in London. There, he promised that he will increase domestic educational expenditure by 50% and two years later by 100% but things went awry when you look at 5.3% allotted for education in the 2022 budget, fery far below the 26% United Nations Education scientific Organisation (UNESCO)’s declaration.

I remember when I was in level 100, because I was late for a class I had to sit on the floor since everywhere was filled to the brim. Some sat on the windows, some lapped each other while others roamed the corridors since they knew that the public addresser’s echo would not reach them. If you happen to see us then, you will weep for us. Dr. Foluke Aliu told us that, during her undergraduate days, they’re 30 in number in her department. That same class is where more than 200 of us are still using. ASUU slammed JAMB last time. What I think is that, JAMB should not have been the body to determine admission cut off for any higher institution of learning. It should have allowed them to take charge of that do that, they can admit based on the available space. Since JAMB reduced the cut off marks for universities except some, universities have been overpopulated and nobody wishes to go to polytechnic or college of rducation again and that makes them useless. Is there no Acts that established them? Lawmakers continue to play their political tune by passing an undue Bill for conversion of some colleges and polytechnics to universities and the minister of education continues giving license to the newly established universities, to bastardise the quality of the conventional universities and now, they were left to their fate. I don’t think we know the meaning of university! Any new infrastructural construction you see in any public university may be 2013 or 2015 Tetfund project, though, it is subject to further investigation.

Before the efflorescence of this strike, on August 2, 2021 one Dr. Keneth Okoh, a retired lecturer, projected that there would be a strike by 2022, in his article entitled; Another Strike: Warning to Ngige And ASUU. There he revealed the gimmick, and insincerity of the union regarding this destructive industrial action. He quoted section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act that gives vent to the less working phrase “No work, No Pay”. In October, last year, convocation lecturer, Olaolu Ali (SAN) at the University of Ilorin 36th Convocation ceremony, explained how public universities should focus more on their grants, aids and internally generated revenue (IGR) so as to move on. He said it while lamenting on the problem facing Nigerian public universities.

ASUU is just using innocent students for their gambling. They are very astute when it comes to the interest of their members. They can receive money they do not work for while on strike, without affecting their personal business snd send the students into the world of fraught, despair and frustration. Who cares! Between 1999 and 2020 the union has had 15 massive strikes. What I want to ask the union is, what legacy are they laying for posterity? And if the government is a giant whale that swallows, hook, line and sinker should they aid him? ASUU should know that their strike action is both boon and bane.

Jimoh Abdullahi [email protected]

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