“This country is just drifting on an autopilot. An agreement that we have concluded since May 2021, and you waited until the expiration of the tenure of the former council members to constitute another team. This is what could have been addressed in two days or in one week.
“The whole process is a joke because none of their children is studying here in the country” – Emmanuel Osodeke (The president of ASUU)
The long-winding strike embarked by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities some six months ago, in February, 2022 should not have taken place. That is, if our current crop of political leaders has any respect for quality education delivery. And if they got their priorities right, to also understand the value of honouring agreements reached with individuals and groups, after some peaceful negotiations. That surely defines integrity.
In all honesty, the element of trust should be the key to facilitate smooth and sustainable relationships. In fact, if yours truly was told, back in July 1976, while graduating from the prestigious, premier University of Ibadan, all on federal government scholarship that my country, Nigeria would be where we currently find ourselves some 46 years later, one would have described such prediction as one nauseating nightmare coming from a weird man’s imagination.
Worrisome indeed, is the fact that we have a dysfunctional political structure skewed in favour of the political elite, as against the wishes of the masses. If not, how do we still call this a democracy, where many of our political leaders who approve peanuts as budgetary allocations for education, sponsor their favoured children for high-brow university education outside our shores? And they brazenly and proudly display photographs of their families celebrating them while the children of the poor masses grind their teeth in agony, after wasting away at home courtesy of six months of ASUU strike!
So, if the federal government goes ahead to reopen universities without meeting some of the requests of ASUU as reached in 2009, it means that some unpatriotic elements, who have little regard for quality education delivery have truly succeeded in ruining this nation further.
Going forward, members of ASUU and the Minister of Education should learn from the experience of former President Goodluck Jonathan under whose government ASUU embarked on strike that lasted for four months. ‘So, I had to call a meeting of all the leadership of ASUU. I presided over the meeting with my vice president..the Attorney General and Secretary to the federal government were there….I thought that my being there would help us do things quickly. But we spent the whole night. We finished at about 5.30 am and the strike was called off”!
Much as one shares in their woes, the long-term aim of the strike is for their own good, their long-suffering parents and the country at large.