ASUU vs FG; It is time for the public to shame the ‘greedy lecturers’

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By Abdelghaffar Amoka

There was a discussion among colleagues few days ago and a respected Senior colleague was bitterly complaining about ASUU, strike and the need to change strategy to seek for government’s attention for education. Then a colleague with him informed him that the younger lecturers are actually trying to make ASUU change strategy by demanding that ASUU fight for welfare alone and forget fighting FG for university funding. He then said, no! ASUU cannot do that.

If ASUU stop the funding fight, who will do it? How will he be able to afford university education for his Kids?

He don’t want strike, he want ASUU to fight for university funding, but can’t suggest a workable alternative to strike?

Most Nigerians are in this category of people. They hate ASUU for strikes because of its effect on the academic calendar of their kids, they don’t think ASUU is fighting for the public, but they still want ASUU to device a non-strike way to fight for university funding for their kids to be well trained. Meanwhile, they hate the idea of tuition in public universities.

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If the public is actually against ASUU’s struggle, let the public come out to say that ASUU should forget funding fight, and that they are ready to pay tuition. That will end the whole drama. 2 years ago, during one of the negotiations, FG team proposed N350,000 tuition for Art and Humanities, and N500,000 for Science and Engineering to fund universities. And ASUU rejected the offer for reasons that was well publicised. And the public were happy with ASUU’s position.

About a year ago, UNIMAID increased students’ registration fee from 25k to 129k. There was large outcry and a large number were going to drop out. Stakeholders intervened and it was dropped.

Meanwhile, there is an agitation from a section of ASUU members that the union should dwell more on members’ welfare and abandon the funding fight if possible. But will that be in the interest of Nigeria? When we dwell more on welfare, it is an easier fight to win. The government will be more than glad to do that as long as we stop asking them to inject some hundreds of billions to revitalize public universities.

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But then, good salary and poor facilities means, you have got enough to eat nice food and possibly get a nice car to cruise around, but watch as the public universities degrade till it collapse like primary and secondary schools while you are in it. Good salary with poor or no facilities to work with can’t give you job fulfillment except you are just being hypocritical.

While we have funding problems in the existing universities, the governments at Federal and state levels are still busy establishing more tertiary institutions. And no long term funding plan for any of the established institutions. That’s Nigeria politicians with our money.

Strike for now still remains the best language that the government understands if ASUU still wish to carry on with the burden of forcing government to fund the universities they established.

Between 2018 and 2020, there were 3 strike actions by lecturers in the UK universities to save their universities. As a Union of Intellectuals, we welcome suggestions on alternative ways that will make the unwilling and insincere government perform their responsibilities of funding education.

ASUU believe they are fighting to save Nigerian universities for the people but the people don’t think so. It is time for the people to shame the “Greedy Lecturers” and declare that they are ready to take the responsibility of funding public universities and willing to pay tuition.

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Every onlooker is either a traitor or a coward.

Dr Abdelghaffar Amoka

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