FG, ASUU flex muscles, students helpless!

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By Jimoh Abdullahi

If the statement credited to the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, who on Monday, 26th of July this year raised an alarm that the Union may unsheath its lethal sword from where it’s hanged, was anything to be considered, it is an ominous sign that the suspended industrial action of the union was just a temporal sigh of relief.

The don alleged that the federal government had breached the agreement it reached with the union, which interpretatively pointed at the memorandum of understanding (MoU) of December 24, 2020.

On the other hand, the federal government disavowed it through the Spokesman for
the Ministry of Education, Ben Gong.

Apparently, the federal government doesn’t
acknowledge the initiative power of ASUU in its creation of University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as against the government-inspired Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

That’s why the government claimed that UTAS has a lacuna, for it doesn’t give room for a tax deduction. Such statement obviously made Osodeke to retort and disclaim the IPPIS with its inability to allow ASUU members receive Earn Academic Allowance (EAA ) as promised and as well as selective payment of salary among its members.

It is crystal clear that the back and forth argument is absolutely an attempt to renew strike when the excruciating wound left by the last year’s industrial action that was conditionally suspended on December, 23rd is still being nursed.

No Universities under ASUU can boldly come out to tell the public that it’s not affected by the year 2020 age-long strike. Usman Danfodio University will not forget the havoc wreaked to its academic calendar, not to talk of University of Ibadan that doesn’t conduct 2020/2021 Session Admission exercise due the strike that had adversely affected its programmes.

This humiliating chess game playing by both parties has prompted a lot of well-to-do individuals, particularly, the business tycoons and the public officials, who wish a standard and stable education for their wards to dash abroad since they pretty know how degraded their home country’s education is, only a few of them enrol their children in Nigerian private Universities.

They value effectiveness that academic stability can bring hence, gathered money through thick and thin to settle ticket, accommodation and school fees of their wards. Unfortunately, these people are unconscious that they are helping to boost economy of other countries. But it pays them to spend hundreds of thousands in dollars rather than to stay in this perennial strike mess.

These set of children would return upon graduation to hold sensitive post or even secure employment in top rated companies, not infant ones.

But what will happen to the less privileged children after a myriad of pause-play and zig-zag academic years and when four years course turned to six years course, six years turned to eight years course? Roaming the street or engaging in dirty job like cyber fraud, Robbery, kidnapping for ransom. Only a handful of them would accept fate and engage in menial or laborious job in order to keep body and soul together.

The above are the portions of the children of the less privileged parents. It’s not their fault when they do not get mouth-watering offers that their colleagues in the western world are enjoying such as good facilities and social amenities that can make Business
Innovation and Creativity to thrive, let alone provide stipend for the unemployed people that had already been institutionalized in United States of America and some other advanced nations.

Dr Lola Akande of the University of Lagos, Department of English Language recounts, in her article titled “As Nigerians continue to flee” published by “The News” on July 11), how her colleague in the department was writing
reference /recommendation letters for Nigerians seeking admission in foreign Universities. This in essence exhibits a caricature in the country’s public Universities, which some rich parents cannot contend with.

More so, both parties see each other as a puissant and two strong iron rod, which one cannot bend for the other to the detriment of innocent students, who are at the receiving end of their scuffle. It is palpable that students have been edgy lately over the looming strike and degree of their tension
shows that only God can tell what can happen, if thunder of ASUU strikes again.

Perhaps, both of them do not know that this academic instability is a conflagration that has defaced and which may burn down
totally the nation’s education’s hue.

The fact still remains, ASUU, as the custodian of academy, undoubtedly knows how sensitive its chosen profession is while federal government similarly knows that ASUU is a pest that feeds on money.

If it is only money that can propagate the evangelism of the Union, then what causes this staccato? Please, don’t let the future of the innocent students be at stake!


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