Zaid Ayuba Alhaji (Sir Kuli -Kuli)
Since 1978, the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU remains the “last men standing Union” defending the education of the common man, even when they are accused of selfish demands; yet they still hold better cards than all other unions including the so-called N. L. C.
Down the memory lane of the 1988, 1992, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2017, 2019, and 2020 strikes, we’ve experienced 42 years of the constant struggle to uphold the ‘Nigerian Educational standard’. Imagine public tertiary education in Nigeria without ASUU, even as it exist, those in the position of power continue to send their kids to foreign Universities while refusing to ‘commit properly’ to what will avoid ASUU strikes.
Let us try to analyze the future of a country with over 200 Million citizens, but only allocate 6.7 % of the 2020 budget in its education sector, what do you think of the N13.08 Trillion, but only 5.6% goes to education. It is a shame ‘the giant of Africa’ to keep setting a weak pace for others.
Let’s revisit some bitter facts: Today is 21st November 2020, exactly 1year + 90 days that the Education Minister assumed office for his 2nd term since August 21, 2020, despite his inability to meet up with his Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP 2016-2019). Can any student, lecturer or politician show any substantial transformation in our public tertiary Institutions?.
It is painful how some Nigerians side with the Government while blaming ASUU over these strikes. Imagine the fate of a commoner in the Nigerian Educational System without ASUU. Imagine the future of the Nigerian Universities without Visual lecturing facilities; by 2040 when the population of Nigerians may climax to about 500 Million people, how do you see our Universities?.
How do you feel when 500-800 students are packed like sardines in a lecture hall without a microphone or even light to power the bulbs or fans in the hall?. How do you feel when you see Federal Universities with no internet connection in this global era of the 21st century?.
How do you feel when you visit any of the departmental, Faculty, or University’s main Library; only to find outdated Books, the acclaimed ICT resource centers are filled with obsolete, dusty, rusty, and dead computers of the 1980s?. Now that the Gov’t utilize both the pandemic and strike to suspend University learning for close to 9 Months, did their children stopped schooling abroad?.
How do you feel as a father or a Student to be running to the bush as a toilet, walk kilometers in search of water, spend hours or even days without electricity, use street lights as the most reliable reading environment, treks several minutes because there are no shuttle buses, etc? Do you understand what it takes to be called a “University student or lecturer?”
How do you feel when you see that almost all the private Primary Schools are having more standard facilities than almost all the Federal Universities (Except a few) while the Libraries and Laboratories of our Private Secondary Schools are better than our acclaimed Federal institutions (Except a few).
Imagine the wages, allowances, welfare, and fair treatment of Lecturers that are believed to be the highest shapers of the future compared to the most unqualified political appointees!. Do you care to know how state Governments treat Educational facilities compared to the Executive furnishings giving to their legislative assemblies and other offices?.
Do you care to know how junior lecturers struggle hard to get scholarships for further capacity building?. Do you care to know the unavoidable importance of Visiting lecturers, especially senior lecturers that are scarcely available and specialized in certain courses?. Do you know that Nigeria of over 200 Million population requires at least 200,000 qualified lecturers instead of the existing less than 40,000 in Nigerian public Universities?.
It is statistically proven that our Federal Universities have less than 25,000 lecturers while the State Universities have less than 16,000 Lecturers. Do you know that Egypt has more than 60,000 Professors and teaching staff, just in their 24 public Universities?. South Africa has more than 4,034 Professors, just Professors!.
We are a Nation full of potentials but challenged by the misplacement of priorities. Despite our challenges in the Educational System, our science-related students face the worst.
From Medical students, Engineering, technology, Chemical Sciences, ICT, Genetics, Biotechnology, Artificial intelligence etc; all are trained with the obsolete tools. With all the facts on the ground, how do you justify the negligence of the authorities’ concerns and end up insulting ASUU?.
How do you expect our Educational system to work both at the Federal, state, and local level when our Federal Ministers and States Commissioners of Education are free to own private Schools?. Imagine SUBEB Chairmen and E.S of local government having private Nursery and primary schools, what do you think will ever change?.
When the leaders of a Nation prefer to send their children to the United Kingdom for degrees, how then do you blame ASUU for the strikes? Is it that you don’t understand how men care less about what doesn’t affect them or you so much love to defend the politicians?. Before you blame ASUU, know that Fatima Buhari went to BUSINESS ACADEMY, Stratford, United Kingdom.
Know that Safinatu Buhari went to University of PLYMOUTH, United Kingdom; (Now Arden University, U. K). Halima Buhari went to the University of Leicester, U. K. Yusuf Buhari went to the University of Surrey, United Kingdom. Zarah Buhari went to the University of Surrey, United Kingdom. Hanan Buhari went to RAVENSBOURNE University in England.
The No. 2 citizen of Nigeria equally send Fiyin Osinbajo to Warwick University in the same United Kingdom. Even the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission sends his kid to the University of Aberdeen United Kingdom, while Students at home continue to be hopeless, struggling through B. Sc to Ph.D., spending 7 years in a 4-year course. Do you think Nigerian education will ever get the right attention?.
In conclusion, i strongly recommend that the Academic Staff Union of the Universities, ASUU urgently consider the following submission to save the academic future of Nigeria and to regain back their glory that’s about to be completely insulted by politicians especially those in power:
1: Academicians especially Professors should desist from participating in electoral collation and returns, completely and unanimously, that’s because the attitude of a lot of Professors as Returning Officers were considered disgraceful and unpatriotic; which is why the politicians even have additional temerity to treat ASUU as they do!.
Zaid Ayuba Alhaji (Sir. Kuli Kuli). ND, PDDPIT, PDDPGD, HPDDPIT and B. Sc International Relations. 08069835881 email@example.com.
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