ASUU Strike and Jonathan’s Misplaced Priorities By Mahmud Abubakar Lapai
I am not writing this piece as a citizen of Nigeria alone, but also as a student who has been denied access to the class room for over two month, simply because my parents are not fortunate enough to lay their hands deep into the nation’s resource and send me out to any country of my choice to study whatever course I may wish to study.
The leadership of this country has served it citizens with number of troubles that left us with choosing which to or not to talk about on daily bases. The problems are too numerous for one to start discussing at every given time. However, as a student of Mass communication, I recall how my lecturers imbibed the culture of selecting the “most important” out of important phenomenon into my knowledge base making it easier for me to select among equals what to write about at a given time.
As a close observer of the drama that is currently playing out between the Academics Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government of Nigeria, what I fail to understand is the crime that ordinary Nigerians must have committed to deserve this punishment from our leaders. The FG from all indication has taken the whole of this as a joke; if you say they don’t know the importance of education, then why sending their children abroad to study? What kind of a country is this we are living? What are our leaders benefiting from putting us into un- imaginable pains? Isn’t it strange that with all our natural and human resource we cannot enjoy basic things such as power, transportation, infrastructure and the mother of all education just to mention but few? I better stop asking before I run mad.
Sad enough our universities are closed for over two month now and nobody gives a damn about it, after all the President’s political party is already plunged into series of crisis that requires his attention so what is ASUU to stop the President or any members of his team from attending one reconciliatory meeting or the another just to make sure the “oga at the top” controls the party machinery? We all know ASUU is too small for that, and by implication the Nigerian students are too small to come between Mr. President and such important national issue like the crisis rocking his party. And to further prove it, they have decided to label ASUU as another agent of oppositions; or rather the third faction of the almighty PDP. Therefore the student can wait patiently at home till the crisis between the presidency and the second faction of the party is resolved for as long as it may take.
Unfortunately the kind of leadership we have is that whose time and energy are focused on issues of personal interest rather than national interest. It is saddened to see how Mr. President gives priority to resolving issues within the PDP but pay deaf ears to the plight of the students, and I begin to wonder if our dear President understands the job he is actually elected for. While we struggle every day to deal with issues such as poor electricity supply, deadly road networks, dilapidated infrastructure and insecurity, our leaders continue to add more salt to our injury.
However, I wish to remind the President and all stake holders that even if the strike is called off today, the damage has been done, but it is better late than never. I have heard from different quarters some of the actions our students have taken to and those they are about to take regarding the ongoing strike; some are of the opinion that we should close down the few private universities in the country whereas others say we should engage on massive street protest to show our displeasure towards what can be described as a day light robbery of our right to education. Though am not against this measures, I do not support them, considering the fact that our security operatives are good at handling such situations in the most un-professional manner as proved during the 2012 fuel subsidy protest.
Therefore, I call on the FG to stop the act of mistaking priorities and listen to the plight of the Nigerian students, we are tired of hearing the strike will be called off soon as it is not about ASUU or whatever they are demanding from the government but it is about the students whose time is being wasted. Our patience has been tested enough and it is said that even the nicest person’s patience has limit.
The word they say is enough for the wise.
Mahmud Abubakar Lapai
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