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The Academic Staff Union of Universities has made good its threat to rollover its strike if, after the 30-day warning strike, no good news came from the Federal Government. As predicted by this writer, no good news came from the Federal Government. As we also predicted, an ASUU bereft of ideas has no other idea than its hackneyed strike ad nauseam and ad infinitum. Both the FG and ASUU are assholes!
The Government has no stake in our schools because the children of rich and powerful Nigerians school abroad. The few of their children that attend school here are in private universities whose fees are exorbitant. The Muhammadu Buhari administration apparently subscribes to the Boko Haram ideology of Western education as “haram” – that is, poison. ASUU – and parents – must devise a means other than strike action to force the hands of the government. It is like someone sent Buhari to ruin Nigeria! It is like Buhari has a score to settle. The way he is ruining everything in sight, it is like he has a mission of vengeful hatred that he must execute without looking back.
A spike against education is primarily a spike against the South; which is the bastion of education in the country. The South suffers the most from the deliberate suffocation of the public school system. But while the leaders of the North have failed to understand that the preponderance of private universities in the Southern region will help it cushion the adverse effects of the de-marketing of the public school system baffles me. The North can only sink deeper into the miry clay of educational disadvantage. But do their leaders care? They do not need quality education to wangle their way to the top and then lord it over their betters from the South. If they do care, this is the time to speak up!
The poor are being pushed to the wall on all fronts. Are you aware that the Seme border remains closed, with dire economic consequences for the economy of southern Nigeria in general and the South-West in particular? The closure violates the ECOWAS Protocol on the free movement of goods and persons, to which Nigeria is signatory. It also creates bad blood between Nigeria and its West African neighbours. Nigerian leaders will be well advised to learn from what is happening in Ukraine: when a government deliberately declares war on a section or sections of its country, it courts trouble! The continued closure of the Seme border is open declaration of war on the South of Nigeria, especially the Southwest – and it will have serious consequences in the fullness of time!
Sunday Igboho: Not yet ‘uhuru’
Yoruba self-determination activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, was released from detention in the Republic of Benin on March 7, 2022. Igboho was arrested in the neighbouring West African country in July 2021 while reportedly trying to travel to Germany through the Cardinal Bernadin International airport, Cotonou. Obviously, Igboho was on the watch list, unknown to him, most likely on the instigation of the Nigerian government. According to reports, an aircraft was already revving its engine at the airport and Igboho would have been given the Nnamdi Kanu treatment but for watchful and alert Yoruba elements at the airport that frustrated the effort. Abducted from Kenya and whisked to Nigeria, Kanu, the IPOB leader, is currently in DSS detention in Abuja, undergoing the charade of a court trial. But tell Igboho it is not yet “uhuru”. And tell the Yoruba self-determination groups already grinning from ear-to-ear and congratulating one another not to celebrate too early. For as long as the Buhari people have not sheathed their sword, Igboho and the self-determination groups must sleep with only one eye closed. They must behave like the proverbial “aparo” (sparrow) that sees not just with its two eyes but also with its feathers. As they say, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance!
Your article on ASUU, including the brief reference on Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello’s plan for LASU as the incumbent Vice-chancellor of the institution, and your student Work Study experience at Great Ife (University of Ife) now OAU, ought to be given wider circulation in ASUU circles, among other universities and their students generally. Why? Because there are so many lessons to learn from the exposition. First, you gave unassailable statistics on ASUU strike strategies between 1999 and 2022. It seems strike has been ineffectual to the cause the university Union has been fighting for and there is no hope in the horizon that future strike will change things for the better. Instead of engaging in a wild goose chase and repetitive strike actions and expecting a different result, ASUU should change tactics as you rightly suggested. The students who bear the brunt of ASUU strikes year-in, year-out ought to be mobilised to fight the cause against an uncaring government. It is obvious that their future is being tampered with by the incessant strikes that yield no results. Let the students mobilise themselves into a pressure group to jolt the government to do something positive about their plight. They are the country’s future. The incumbent LASU Vice Chancellor, no doubt, has in stock novel ideas for LASU under her watch. However, such lofty ideas remain a pipe dream until they are accomplished in reality. Like they say, some things are easier said than done! Bad belle, under-funding, and deliberate obstacles are the Nigerian factors and the unseen hands responsible for the derailment of many well-intentioned programmes in our climate. Therefore, for now, let us put them under the realm of “ceteris paribus” and pray for the VC for successful tenure at LASU. Now to your experience as a work study programme recipient at Great Ife: By giving a vivid account on your bitter-sweet experience under the programme will definitely have a positive impact on the mindsets of the new generations of university students in Nigeria. They would begin to realise that work study is to their benefit, it should not be derided, more so when there is a near-zero alternative to the bargain. In my university days at Rutgers University in Newbrunswick, New Jersey, USA, I was a beneficiary of the Departmental Work Study Programme as a Research Assistant to a renowned professor of Urban Planning. Apart from the monetary gain, the invaluable gain is the wider knowledge I gained while working with my principal. Such invaluable knowledge endures till date in my career as a Planner. The point I am trying to make is that the Work Study Programme is a win-win adventure in a lot of cases, either tangible or intangible. – Yacoob Abiodun, Chicago, USA.
I suggest that ASUU goes to Prof. Ishaq Oloyede for a tutorial! It is annoying the way they behave like they are in the same category with the drivers’ union! For God’s sake, why don’t they consider the students and their parents in terms of what they would lose and, then, the country? Their actions are unpatriotic. Every issue should not be resolved by force – Elder Kola Oloye.
Strike now, strike then, strike always! Do they think of the cost implications to those paying the fees? What about the children who grow old in their institutions? No wonder, lots of parents and guardians prefer private universities if they can afford it. ASUU and those responsible for the planning and execution of university education for our children should have an all-encompassing view of what it takes to put – and keep – a child in the university!
The employment market that would not consider so-called “over-aged” applicants should also be factored into their consideration. Pa E K Odeleye.
I think this is the same old establishment rehash position! It is just a way by those who do not wish to hold the government responsible. The point is, for political reasons, management of public universities cannot generate revenue outside of governing councils, and councils can hardly operate outside of state political control. Prof. Akin Onigbinde.
This is nothing but “oko oro” (bluntness at its best)! They deserve it and, eminently, too! My son ought to have left Ife long before now. The over-stay of these hapless students has become a heavy burden on both the parents and the students! The irony of it all is that the children of many of these lecturers and our rulers are enjoying the best of education elsewhere. Enough is enough! – Lanre Alabi
Nigerians should come out in their millions and shut down Nigeria! We do not want any Labour sector unions such as ASUU, NUPENG, PENGASSAN, POLICE OFFICERS WIVES’ ASSOCIATION, ARMY OFFICERS WIVES’ ASSOCIATION, NAVY OFFICERS WIVES’ ASSOCIATION! All these “yeye” associations in one way or the other hold every sector of our public life hostage in the promotion of their selfish interests, like you rightly said. Name every ASUU member and Government official whose child/ward schools abroad. – Chris Abugo.
I understand your feelings! ASUU has become a laughing stock. Any news about ASUU is not cheery but is about the woes of strike. No news of commercialized invention, only news of strike primarily because of money. Parents are fed up. One day, ASUU will regret its actions. Then, nobody will be proud to be a member of ASUU again. If ASUU must be reckoned with, let it think of a better method that will receive the sympathy of Nigerians but definitely not STRIKE action. -Pastor Jube Olawale.
Your views on ASUU at OAU and National levels are to the point. Embarking on strike will serve no useful purpose as the children of politicians from “agbero”, local government councillors, state and federal legislators, ministers, advisers, vice-president and President etc are all schooling abroad! The action can only hurt the people. As for academics deodorising INEC abracadabra election result, the professors actually are eagerly looking forward to another season of elections because of the allowances and bribes! It’s a hopelessly hopeless situation! Much respect for your contributions to the discussions on myriads of Nigeria’s handmade challenges! -Dr. Ebenezer Ebun Sonaiya.