And so we are told that the federal government of Muhammadu Buhari, having failed to honour its agreement with ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) has now come up with the ingenious and perfect solution which is the speculated plan to proscribe the union.
What an unconscionable government!
And just like in the dark days of military dictatorship, the government has propped up, encouraged, and is facilitating the emergence of a rival academic group within the university system to break the ranks of ASUU.
What a shameless and morally fraudulent government!
WHEN you have a minister of Labour in a country whose doctors went on strike due to the same government’s refusal to honour another agreement and the minister says that the frustrated doctors can proceed to run away from the country because Nigeria has enough doctors, then you should weep and gnash your teeth – because you know that the minister is guilty of egregious lies.
What a perverse and deleterious state of affairs!
Because the recommended doctor to patients’ ratio of the United Nations is 1:600 (one doctor to six hundred patients) and Nigeria’s doctor to patients’ ratio is 1:6000 (one doctor to six thousand patients)!
And worse, it will take 120 years (one hundred and twenty years) for Nigeria to have enough doctors if they are no longer leaving the country.
You know that you are in trouble when you have a minister of education who unflinchingly supports ASUU strike for better education in his 2013 statement that:
“This nation owes a debt of gratitude to ASUU and the strike should not be called off until the government accepts to do and does what is required. So instead of hectoring ASUU to call off its strike, the nation should be praying for more of its kind in other sectors of the economy.”
Today, he is the direct representative of the government in charge of education. He is unable to commend ASUU for the present situation and is openly villifying the union and actively seeking to undermine her.
What a barefaced, duplicitous, character- defining attitude.
The man never knew that he would ever be made a minister and be given the opportunity to do what he preached.
If you have ever wondered why our country is today in tatters, especially in the past seven years, look at the characters running the country from “top to bottom”.
But it is fitting that President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC), now seen as the president and party of wreckers are the ones that are trying to sound the death knell on the Academic Staff Union of Universities. It is appropriate that they are the ones illegally and immorally trying to create divisions within the academic union by promoting and supporting a group of opportunistic, self-serving renegades and mercenaries to serve as a counter-union.
The Buhari government is generally known as the divider-in-chief.
It is simply living up to its unwholesome reputation.
His party the All Progressives Congress is seen as the most anti-progressive in the annals of our country and his government functionaries, the most incompetent and least patriotic. Mind you, most of those who have straddled the various corridors of power in our country in the past 23 years have acted more like enemies of the people than friends. It is not the president and his APC alone. It’s just that the APC is the apogee, the, zenith, and field marshal of deep seethed infamy and contradictions.
Under the present political dispensation, we are wrapped more inexorably than at any other time in a vortex of deception and blood curdling perversity. It is said that deep within the labyrinth of centralised governance in our country the harbingers of malice and destruction are hard at work undermining our national collective.
The fruits of these political anomalies are manifest all over our geo-political space.
Blinding hunger, the enthronement of corruption as king, insecurity on a scale never before seen in our country, and the total decimation of our economy have been the trademark of a political party that claimed to possess the magic wand for ‘change’ and ‘next level’ politics.
Having consistently failed miserably and horrendously to protect the citizens from danger and harm and having been beaten black and blue on all sides by violent non-state actors, the government seems to have realised that it is no match for the terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, unknown gunmen and herders.
They have now decided to respect themselves and go for a softer target – at least to try to regain a semblance of its lost dignity.
Luckily, that target has been found.
It is the ASUU.
And the government will take its pound of flesh from ASUU for the humiliation it has suffered at the hands of bandits and terrorists and kidnappers.
Unfortunately for the government, it has picked the wrong union to grapple with. ASUU will not be cowed. What is at stake is the future of our present.
The attempt to divide and break ASUU, rather than respond positively to our national education crisis by the government will only further our decline in this critical sector.
The response from individual lecturers is already known – they will flee our country, their country, to other countries to give to them what we refused from them – their knowledge.
But it is sad that twenty-three years after we sent the military back to the barracks, we have continued to run with their tactics and methodology.
We know the major reason for this attitude.
MANY OF OUR POLITICAL LEADERS ARE NOT PATRIOTS – STARTING WITH THE ONES IN POWER PRESENTLY.
The attempt to proscribe ASUU is not only insidious, myopic, self-defeating, irresponsible and provocative, it is blatantly illegal and unconstitutional.
IT IS IN OUR COLLECTIVE INTEREST TO RESIST IT.
Chude is a Lagos, Nigeria-based writer, civil society activist and political affairs commentator.