The Lingering ASUU Strike
We all thought the era of incessant Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike actions will be over. We thought the change has come, but unfortunately, the recent events have proven otherwise. It is pathetic and painful that the World’s most populous Black nation is embarking on industrial strike action in the educational sector in the 21st century.
There are lots of condemnation targeted at ASUU for always embarking on strike anytime there is a face-off between the association and the Federal Government. But truth be told, the government has neglected the academic sector. The Public Universities are in deplorable conditions and sorry state. From the University of Ibadan to Obafemi University Awolowo, Ife to Michael Okpara University, Umudike to ABU, Zaria to the University of Calabar, they are being bewildered with the same plights. The laboratories are without adequate instruments and materials for practical sessions, lecture theatres are always crowded and students stand or sit on the bare floor to hear what lecturers are saying. Universities’ toilets are maggot-ridden. Libraries are of antediluvian age.
It is saddening that in our clime education is chronically-underfunded and punitively deprived. In 2014, the total allocation for 89 federal higher institutions was N336.57 billion. If converted to dollars at N199 (as at it was then), it would come to $1.69 billion which would still be far below the annual revenue of only one private university in the USA. Appalling, you will say?
The calls by people urging President Buhari to intervene in the industrial strike action embarked by ASUU has not been yielded. Mr. President is not moved because the strike action will not affect his re-election bid. His lethargic silence shows that the educational system is not a priority.
For your information, all of Buhari’s children (alive) have had a university education abroad.
Fatima had her Postgraduate degree at Business Academy, Stratford, United Kingdom.
Nana Hadiza attended Cobham Hall, Kent, UK and the University of Buckingham.
Safinatu studied at the University of Plymouth and Arden University, United Kingdom.
Halima attended the University of Leicester.
Yusuf attended University of Surrey, United Kingdom.
Zahra Buhari also attended the University of Surrey, United Kingdom.
The political mafias do not give a damn about the precarious situation of the sector. They are playing “tiki-taka” with us since their wards are in abroad enjoying sound tertiary institution with state-of-the-art infrastructures and cutting-edge technologies.
The collapse of our university is the collapse of Nigerian society as a whole. It is tragic that the academic community which provides the government with its best policymakers and excellent advisers is being allowed to decay.