The Academic staff Union of Universities ASSU has decried the state of the Nigerian Universities described it as archaic among Universities in the world
The ASSU President Comrade Biodun Ogunyemi, Trustee of the Union and Past President Prof Sule Abdullahi Kano as well as Comrade Nadir Issa Fage, Immediate Past President of the Union who stated this at Town and gown meeting of ASSU in Ilorin Kwara state, said “your educational system is archaic, no part of the world is running this educational system we are doing in the university system, this Universities can do so many things to the communities but they are left idle, they are not being utilised nobody is interested about that in the government.”
ASUU President Com Biodun Ogunyemi who reiterated the agitation of the union which include proliferation of Nigerian Universities, the need for government to visit Universities in the country, renegotiation, revitalization of the Universities amongst others issues added that the problem in education sectors in the country cannot be over emphadised.
“The rulers are not commited to anything public because they are comfortable, because they are self seeking and because they use the masses to get what they want and abandoned them after that” he said
Ogunyemi noted that the solution to the problem is internal vigilance “they say internal vigilance is the price of liberty if you don’t ask for your freedom, you will never get it, if you don’t ask what is due for you, you will be ignored we keep telling our students in particular and the parents that, but for ASSU, the fate that has befallen public primary schools, public secondary schools, that same fate would have befallen public Universities, we are not going to allow that to happen, this is where we need your help, this is where we need your support, this is where we need to work together as Nigerians to say no, Nigerians belong to all of us, resources in Nigeria belong to all of us, you cannot continue , imagine what they are paying themselves as security votes, Nigeria can afford free education at all level, that is our believe, if we put our ingenuity into work, if we appropriate the resources of Nigeria currently, if we block all sources of diversion, all sources of misappropriation, all sources of corruption, ASUU has never shy away from that beat and we are ready to engaged them anytime they come up, our appeal to them is let us asked for the correct information, ASUU is not the problem of universities, rather ASUU is working in the interest of all of us to ensure that we get what is due to us because Nigeria and its resources belong to all of us” he said
Speaking further Prof Sule Abdullahi Kano, Trustee of the Union, Past President said citizens dont have right over their wealth as structure was put over which could not generate anything development, “you have to go to them to borrow money, the same money that has been taken from you, they also instigate corruption in our economy, our people also steal and taken to them, they hide the money there. The rulers of this country don’t have the capacity to say Nigeria is a sovereign state, we will manage it as a sovereign state, one of the reason they tell you they don’t have money is due to envelope budgeting which is not inciting way of budgeting scientifically for any economy to grow as it is known by the United nation and recommend it to any other developing country for any economy to grow you must at least budget 25 percent of your GDP to have enough money to spend on education, on health, on the people and so on, but in Nigeria do the government do that the highest budget that government is allowed to do in Nigeria is 9 percent of our GDP, then where will be the money for education, where will be the money for health, where is the money to fight terrorism that is why you see crises in every sector because there is no money, where is the money going to, money lenders and theifs who are colliding with this money lenders, who are claiming to be representing us, who can’t defend our sovereignty, who don’t even care with the way we are living, it is not because Nigerians are daft or our universities are useless we have solution to these problems, our union has in a way after research done by our late trustee we adopted a framework in which every Nigerians can have free education in this country, every universities students don’t pay fees in fact we give them allowances as they come into the universities, at least 10 thoundsand pounds per month until they graduate, when this proposal was given to Obasanjo he was pushing it like a sheat he threw it off they abuse us that they know everything even before we are born because he is the master know it all, it was the same thing with many other rulers in this country, it is only Yaradua when we told him about that research, who was ready to work on it he was excited what happened the bureaucrat block it we had a lengthen meeting with Yaradua almost 2am, he was ready to write an agreement with us that he would set up a committee to revolutionize Nigeria educational system, your educational system is archaic, no part of the world is running this educational system we are doing in the university system, this Universities can do so many things to the communities but they are left idle, they are not being utilised nobody is interested about that in the government, he said that in two weeks time, he would call again there would be meeting to kick start the process, the bureaucrat blocked it after that you know what they did, they wrote a letter to ASUU that we don’t have right to see the president of the Federal republic unless we go through the minister of Labour, the head of states the president is a visitor to all Federal Universities we don’t have to go through any minister to see our visitor, so we have to write back to them that we know that they have blocked that chance they are not ready since then, no government is interested for through out the first term of President Buhari, we could not see him the later we would see him is when they heard we are going on strike that’s the time we saw him, the government can address some of the problems of Nigeria people, but they will not because of their class interest, that is why the students, parents, should work along with scholars to liberate ourselves from this, there is no two ways about it, we would do our best we say we wont abandon it, we won’t abandon this country, despite all the trap to get us out, large chunk of Nigerians are out, see the crises now in the health system in the country, United state alone they have over 2000 professors of medicine, how many do you have in Nigeria today, go to our college’s of medicine, how many professors are there, what is the budget in health, last budget, two percent can you imagine, if you take per capital allocation for health, it cannot treat one million malaria case, you know Nigeria suffer from malaria at least three times in a year if they give you their beat it can’t treat malaria, but the same government will do propaganda, will mobilise our students they will shout they will even give them titles and honour, when the banks are crashing, they took over 80 billion to protect the banks, they call it bail out, have they ever bail out any universities, in the education system, did anybody thinks about it, look at all the agenda, that the government comes with, is education there, even when they expand their agenda to nine, just look there is no education there, what they do is health education not education they are deceiving Nigerians, I’m sure if you ask them to define health education is going to be outside definition of health education, because they don’t know it, let use knowledge to liberate ourselves from the terrible condition that we found ourselves.” He said
Comrade Nasir Issa Fage Immediate past president while commenting on if government refuse to negotiate what will be the way forward he said ” i think it is better we wait when we get to that breach we cross it, but let government refuse to negotiate there will be solution i cant open our strategy here, whatever you do is about strategy, let government refuse to negotiate we would unfold our strategy then.”he said.
On why ASUU have not taken care of other stakeholder in the university he said ” we are always being closed to our students government is trying to make sure that our students are closer to government probably that’s why you found NANS president moving to Abuja and becoming more like president in Abuja, like I said University is about research, the teaching component thing to replace research that are dying we are always very close to our students if you notice the relationship between the chairperson of Unilorin ASUU and the president of Nigeria students Union in Ilorin you see that they are close they talk to each other we have been trying to carry other union along but anytime we do that we get dissaponted, this started in 1982, when we sat down and gree on how we are going to mobilise our members and confront government with a view to getting government to do the right thing as far as Universities are concern these colleagues decide to betray us and went ahead and agree with government simply because they were mobilised to do that, even in 2013, when I have the privileged in leading in the struggle like the one we are in now, that six month strike, the leadership of some went and agree with government and they went to force their agreement on us by going to NLC to tell NLC lie things about ASSU fortunately, we got invitation from NLC for us to attend NEC meeting of NLC in Kaduna because of the series of meetings we have organise for that time, I called the then President of NLC to tender our apology fortunately, one of the meetings was cancelled, I decided to go back home as at that time, we have spent more than two weeks in Abuja, trying to get issues addressed, so that we suspend the strike action, I decide I will go back home and settle the family and come back to Abuja, on my way going, as we entered Kaduna, I just recalled that NLC is having a meeting in Kaduna I decided to go into the meeting and say hello by the time we arrived at the venue the moment I entered our colleagues at NLC were happy to see me I was surprised because that was the first time I’m getting that kind of welcome, when I sat down the president of NLC asked me to inform members of NEC What is happening with our negotiation I did not know that the president of some had already informed NLC and I told them lies that we ASUU were ingredient, government had done everything to address our problem but we have refuse to suspend the strike action, and by the time I finished addressing the national executive, council of NLC people started applauding, in fact one of the president of sister Union stood up and started insulting one of the president is this the way comrade are suppose to behave you people come here and tell us something that is not true I was able to take all the issues and addressed them in my own presentation you can really see why we shy away from working with this people because they are not reliable when the going get very difficult, it is only tough people that will still be standing, and that is what ASSU leadership is made of , we look at things critically, analyse them before we decide on the next line of action we are going to take.” He said
On why is it difficult for ASSU to talk to colleagues in government, he said ” I will say that we have interacted with the Senate president and after the interaction we were promised, that once we are ready, we would be invited to come and continue with the interaction but there after, we are not invited, the president is here he will tell you, we went at a point to follow up on our interaction with the Senate president, we were told that he is very busy we should only leave all the document we have with his assistance it seems there is a virus in this country, not the corona type, this one is a type of virus that the moment you join them, it becomes difficult for you to behave differently from them” he said