ASUU STRIKE: Time to Sheath the Sword.

By Best Ofori

The Academic staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said the Federal Government failed to make fresh offer on Funding for the revitalization of Public Universities in the Country.

Also, the Union Stated that government is yet to address the issue of renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement in its new offer made to the union.

This was disclosed by ASUU President Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi in a bulletin he sent to branches of the union.

In the same development, the chairman ASUU at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, Joel Okewale has said that Federal Government should be blamed for the continuing strike action by the Union. He said the Federal Government has been insincere deceitful and unwilling to resolve the issues raised by the union.

There is no gainsaying that the ongoing ASUU strike has dealt a debilitating blow to the academic sector in particular and so many other aspects of life. Activities in the hitherto citadel of learning and other ancillary services in the academia have been virtually paralysed. What is more, students as well as teachers and numerous non-academic staff have taken to menial jobs and other vocations mainly out of boredom and in search of what to do.

It is often said that the idle mind is the devil’s workshop. In extreme cases, students get involved in heineous crimes. The females in particular, due to the allure of materialism sometimes find themselves in frivolities including sexual peccadillo, which may lead them to a syndrome called babymama.

Understandably, whatever may be the lot of these endangered species does not seem to be the concern of the policy makers. Afterall their children and wards are far away, schooling in Britain, United States, Canada, Switzerland and even as remote a country as Malaysia, Indonesia, Qatar, South Africa and other eastern countries that were in the same stage of economic development as Nigeria in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Obviously the humongous salaries and allowances inappropriately allocated to the political class is milking the country dry. Some of the arguments put forward by members of the Academic staff union of universities is the wage disparity with the political class.

In civilized climes, the academics are highly rated in terms of remuneration. This is because the universities are the hub of research and developments of any country. But successive government, from the first republic through deliberate policies, occasioned by greed, ethnicity, nepotism and the obnoxious federal character argument have stiffened the growth of quality education in Nigeria, such that Nigerian youths have to flee in droves to neighboring “Shithole” countries in search of quality education and unbroken academic session. It is appalling.

While the government shouldtake the huge blame of the pedestrian state of education in Nigeria, ASUU holds itself, the academia, the students and the country some degree of professionalism, selflessness and patriotism.

Speaking recently in a radio programme (Daily Reports) on Star F.M., Dauglas Anele, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lagos appealed to his colleagues to sheath the sword. Adding that when two elephants fight it is the ground that suffers.

According to erudite scholar, “If you do something repeatedly, commonsense demands that you apply other sublime methods. The idea of comparing the wages of an academics with that of the political class, does not conform with the realities on ground”

As it is now, politics and strategic maneuvering towards winning the forthcoming election is the top priority of the government. Education should not go to the limbo.

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