Factoring ASUU-FGN into the Value System DevaluationColumnists, Prof.R.A Ipinyomi Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
By Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi. University of Ilorin, Nigeria
The Academic Staff of Universities Union (ASUU) of Nigeria embarked on industrial strike in most government owned universities in Nigeria since July 1, 2013. ASUU did so because the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), and their employers, signed some working condition with them after a similar industrial dispute in 2009 but which FGN had failed to implement. ASUU sees no other options but to embark on strike to awaken the sleeping FGN. May be FGN is too busy or has only little interest on the youths and their development in the first place. If they do, probably the whole education system, classroom conditions, number of students that could be allowed to certain class room size, the level of admission criteria, condition of service for its workers and ASUU, all would have been on front burners. After all Nigeria’s future, in technological sciences or arts, political sciences or finance, exploration or experimentation, are all in the hands of our youths. Parents must look for the best environment, teachers and administrators to manage their children the best possible at all levels.
Meanwhile ASUU has a right to make demand for what it sees best for the system improvement because we are all stakeholders. My children all passed through Nigeria University system before they ventured out. Similarly families of Nigeria University workers have benefitted immensely from the system in all areas including the added opportunity to get easy admissions for self, children, wards and friends. It is therefore in ASUU’s best interest for the system to keep running and never shut down for any reason. The problem with ASUU, (my own colleagues), is the hangover of extreme left political ideas in the head that has no proof in behaviours and actions. We are in a democratic process and numbers should matter; it didn’t matter in Unilorin in 2001 when ASUU National kicked out Unilorin Chapter of ASUU from their ranks. ASUU won the war but not the peace nor commonality of association. Another problem is the fact that ASUU always over estimates the government officials thinking, ability, conceptuality, and general attitude to education or their devotion to duty. Very few Nigerians are loyal to Nigeria, even including ASUU members. Nigeria is a vague concept that requires a revolution to cement us together; Nigeria is still a loose association of nationalities. Nevertheless strikes as a single force, used too often and for a prolonged time has the ability to lose its usefulness; not when he have some politicians who want their own percentages in any negotiations of budgets, contracts, any allocation of money, materials or vacancies.
To compound the issue we must examine the level and calibres of people elected or appointed to positions in the system. Over the years the high calibres have been disappearing globally but the disappearances are worst in Africa. For example the ongoing government shutdown in USA couldn’t have happened if excellent individuals have filled the houses of power. Similarly here in Nigeria the level of people representing us is terribly very low compared to the best we have. They are people of the 30 to 40 percentile levels in morality, IQ, exposure, commitment to national interests or vision. People today simply want to get their money back in multiples as the only objective for running for government. They just occupy the positions and everything around them may go ablaze to give way to their perceived desires.
The banana republic may be faced with more strikes but no one would care. For example a main reason why many parents want to push their children to campuses may be because they are becoming unruly, using their cars without permission, and consuming their food. Many parents just want freedom from these children and keeping them on campuses is their option, not what they do nor how they fare. Parents should ask how many times a child get a chair to sit in a semester in a 1 credit course, where 15 hours lectures are supposed to be delivered to them. In most cases 50 percent of the students have no chairs or sit on pavements. Lecturers could not assess them individually as required. During examination many of them would come up. There is a need for a holistic approach to addressing the root causes and finding genuine solutions. The Minister of Finance may have to go back to the World Bank where things work because it is in New York. We have to work things out here in Nigeria and if the kitchen gets hot in that process, even the president may go home.
Nigerians should be educated to imbibe a proper valued system in their life as the only option. Over emphasizing your own religion over others, making money from the system and yet doing nothing, or thinking that only the small budgets should be passed would only lead us far into the jungle of backwardness, disagreement and more strikes. ASUU has a stake in the political arena by being a major stakeholder by participation and publicly condemning our colleagues in politics if they fail, and many of them do. A new value system is required at all levels in Nigeria.
We charge ASUU/FGN to institute a commission to calculate the losses since July 1, 2013 individually and nationally. It is possible to run a semester in 15 weeks all of which have been lost to a single strike that is yet to end. FGN is not saving the over two months salaries of university workers it refuses to pay; whereas the same FGN is unwilling to implement agreements it had signed it had been quick to pull out a gun on no-work-no-pay. Our government looks unserious and unrealistic. The situations on our campuses are getting out of hand, from cultism, sexual harassment, lack of laboratories or poorly equipped ones, lack of standard lecturers or their low numbers, low quality of university administrators and council members, over population of students, and the like. Someone must pay for all these and I think Nigerians have the solutions to solve our problems.Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi, email@example.com or/and firstname.lastname@example.org
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