ASUU STRUGGLE AND THE SURVIVAL OF NIGERIA’S EDUCATION

by Moses Afashima. Twitter. @afashima_moses.

To be sure, Buhari’s administration has been one founded by propaganda and obfuscation of obvious truth and nothing else. I will call for a party if this government will change her fundamental values of propaganda.
Their techniques of living the public in illusion and delusion that ASUU is the selfish one in the ongoing strike is no new to me as they have repeatedly done so in all facets of national issues. And they are quite enjoying the fruits of their techniques as people whom I feel should be well informed and defend this course of national importance are gaslighted to believe that ASUU is indeed the bad one.

For anyone who seek to legitimize the propaganda by FG that ASUU’s fight is personalized interest is not just sick but a terrorist seeking to annihilate the educational structure he or she have benefited over the years.

In 17 June, 2020 article titled “Is ASUU really the bad one?” I pointed out that ASUU needs to be commended for been the only viable union that has refused to be deterred by the chip blackmail of the Federal government. In the midst of difficulties, ASUU has continue to demonstrate the true purpose and tenets of unionism. When the Nigerian labor congress (NLC,) have apparently become a treacherous extension of the Federal government and National association of Nigerian students (NANS) amongst many other union have failed their members and Nigerians at large, , ASUU have remained resolute to the fight of their survival and that of tertiary education.

While I will excuse the ignorance of those who have never been to public universities, I find hard not to be infuriated with students who are victims of Nigeria’s decay of public institutions taking sides with the federal government. When you listen to such students, One cannot help but enraged with the level of gaslighting achieved by the Federal government.
As reported by daily post on August 1 2013, The then Interim National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was quoted to have said “no government worth its salt can afford to play with education, because it is the path to national development.” He went further to say that ASUU was not making any fresh demand beyond the agreement it reached with the government in 2009, adding: ”Agreements are meant to be honored.” The same Lai Muhamed who was on the part of truth in asking the administration of Goodluck Jonathan to honor ASUU’s demands is now utterly quiescent and oblivious to the demands of ASUU which the past administration could not fulfill.
The federal government horrendous claims that ASUU is only been selfish and adamant has no bases because the government negotiation team themselves are insincere with what I describe as their easily said agreement.
Now, To the issue of IPPIS which the government have stressed out to make a case that IPPIS is targeted at checking corruption and ASUU has no right to determine the platform they must be paid. “The University Miscellaneous (Provisions) (Amendment) Act (2003), which government gazetted as University Autonomy Act (2007), has vested the powers of personnel and payroll system issues in the hands of each university’s governing council,” Thus, ASUU has the right to choose how they will be paid. Plus an administration which claim to be patronizing locally made contents is now rejecting UTAS for IPPIS that is said to have been a foreign content.
I do not want to stress further the contempt that politicians hold on education. For a minister to ask lecturers to “…consider farming as alternative” speaks volume. It was Nelson Mandela who said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” But a typical Nigerian politician sees education as a weapon to impoverish the masses of a better future and further subvert their desires. S. O. Awokoya, a former Minister of Education in Western Region of Nigeria, was reported to have declared in a parliamentary debate that “Educational development is imperative and urgent. It must be treated as a national emergency second only to war. It must move with the momentum of revolution.”

Increase funding for public varsities do not bother them because their children are ensconced in private and foreign universities so they have nothing to lose. Some of these politicians sees the dilapidated and inadequate infrastructure in our public institutions as an appealing factor to their susceptibility.
Do we really have to blame them? Whenever I try to fault the government holistically, My conscience is always reminded of a quote credited to George Orwell which goes thus: “a people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, Thieves and traitors are not victims but accomplices.” It is the youth who are affected by this strike the most that conspired to elect bunch of mediocre people to government positions. This is why I found truth in the statement of prof Doki that most of these politicians do not want intellectual prowess because most of them did not really worth the certificates they hold.

Let me be clear. The day ASUU gives up the fight of holding the government accountable, That will mark the death of Nigeria’s education. The tactics of no work no pay in the period of strike is not only a crazy thing to be done bya supposed democratic government But what should be repudiated even in tyrannical regimes.
For the students who are ignorant to the fact that brain drain is on the increase, There will come a day when students will have all their wonderful scholars leaving abroad to do what they know how to do best, That will be the day that they will discover the level of damage caused by illiterate politicians in government. Because no scholar will agree to lecture in environment that is not conducive to learning. Inadequate laboratories, Low funding for research, Poor lecture halls is not a problem to these politicians at all.
A government that have vehemently refused to prioritize education is ultimately heading for extensile peril of great consequences.

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ASUU STRUGGLE AND THE SURVIVAL OF NIGERIA’S EDUCATION

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About The Author
- Studied Mass Communication from the University of Jos. He is a Journalist, a blogger, a public relations practitioner and an advocate for social justice.

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