A Professor of English and Dean, Faculty of Language Studies at the Ibrahim Babangida University, Lapai (IBBUL), Niger state, Emman Sule Egya, has said that Nigeria’s budget allocation to education is too poor, so lecturers are not blame if ASUU goes on strike two or three times in a year to force the government’s attention on education, which is a vehicle of societal transformation.
In a telephone conversation with Blueprint Newspapers Tuesday, Egya, the author of Sterile Sky said paying lip-service to education is the cause of ASUU’s struggles.
“ASUU has its own problem but the Buhari government is emasculating the university, is drying the university system rather than nourishing it. What I mean is that instead of giving more money to universities, he believes that universities have more money than they should have, and he wants to take the money away,” Egya said.
He argues that Nigerian universities are not only highly localised but provincial and state universities are operating in a very ridiculous level by bringing indigenes that are not qualified to operate in them.
“Even the federal universities are suffering from what they called quota system or federal character or whatever. For someone to go to a federal university, they have to look at indigeneship and catchment area. Until we are able to deal with these issues we cannot have foreign lecturers and students here.”
On the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), he said that the platform is not suitable for academic community but can work with the civil service to check corruption.
“The problem is that IPPIS does not capture the reality in the university system. I think the most important aspect that is contentious now is the issue of visiting lectureship.
“As a professor, you are entitled to visit two other universities to teach. IPPIS does not capture that. But it captures the sabbatical.
“It also restricts the management from adjunct professorship. There are adjunct professors a university can pick for say three months, six months or twelve months. All this are not captured, so this is the main problem with ASUU.
“ASUU has produced a template that will capture all these peculiarities but the federal government is not interested in it.
“But the way I see it, the federal government is right to say they are fighting corruption because I can confirm that there are a lot of corruption in the universities. Most of the managements of universities are corrupt. I believe that half of the university problems are caused by vice chancellors.
“We have corrupt vice chancellors who use monies that they shouldn’t touch; they create a lot of expenses and all of that.”
He however said that IPPIS shouldn’t be one instrument for fighting corruption, stressing that it could be used to fight corruption in the civil service but not in the academia because of its special case, and asked the federal government to devise alternative means of fighting corruption in universities instead of dissipating energy on IPPIS.
“It (FG) has NUC and other means to fight corruption in the universities, which must not necessarily be through IPPIS. This is the only way federal government can reconcile with ASUU.”