Though not surprised by the so-called order from the most insensitive government ever in the history of our dear country, Nigeria as regard to the fundamental rights of Nigerian masses, which is right to education.
It is quite clear to everyone who cares to follow updates concerning industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) since middle of February, 2022, that the present government does not have the political will to address some of the reasons if not all that made university based unions to embark on the longest strike that has never been possible under previous administrations in the history of this nation.
However, it is important to straighten the records, Nigerian Public universities were never closed or locked down. This position can be verified with a visit to respective university‘s administrations. The academic staff simply withdrew one of their services to the universities that is teaching, while research and community services are ongoing. Even the unending strikes could be regarded as community service because it is in the overall interest of boosting and advancing our universities to be competitive globally or have a minimum standard of what is called university internationally.
As regard to research, browse through the internet especially academic databases like Scopus, springer and so on and so forth and discover how many publications; such as journals, book chapters, conferences proceedings, seminar etcetera were published by the Nigerian academics this year especially from February, 2022 to date with or without government funding.
To settle the face-off between FG and ASUU and return academic activities to our Universities, I humbly suggest the following options.
1. Terminate appointment of ASUU members
The FG in its recent attitude, the Federal government claims to have wanted that masses to go back to school by-fire-by-force despite the obsolete tools and equipment found on university campuses. Regardless of quality education in tertiary institutions, specifically universities. Since ASUU is “adamant” and refuses to go back to classroom despite court order and now FG order, what is the difference!. The FG should just sack all academics in the country then replace them with other set of Nigerians that would not demand for a better educational system.
2. Employ or Hire professors from around the globe
After sacking all academics, the government should hire senior academics from foreign universities to come and teach the teeming population of students in the universities. This option I swear this government might not attempt to try it. It requires a huge amount of money and no benefit to the political class.
Less I forget, since the quality education is not a way to go as demonstrated by government officials, especially the presidency. The almighty FG should just employ every interested Nigerian with interest to teach in university irrespective of qualification and character, just like political office holders; anybody with senior secondary certificate examination (SSCE) results like WAEC, diploma, NCE and so on, even original NEPA bill should be considered for immediate employment as academics in the universities in order to fill up the vacancy after sacking all lecturers and ensure school “reopens” as soon as possible.
3. Fulfill the agreement
This government, like its predecessors, entered an agreement with the union a number of times but refused to honor it. Where is his integrity? Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Memorandum of Action (MOA) were duly signed by this government apart from renegotiation reports by the committees willingly set up by the government, but as if like there is nobody in-charge of the administration. Nobody is talking about it except few and the FG wants the patriotic ASUU to also be coward and keep mute and follow blindly until the university education in Nigeria perishes.
4. Another option
The FG should do nothing and keep blackmailing and issuing propaganda until its remaining months are over. We pray an education friendly president is elected in the forthcoming 2023 general election. Vote wisely, vote freedom.
5. Provisional conclusion
The ball is now on the coat for FG to decide and choose among the options presented above. As a student, I want the government to go for option number three (3) because the country is ours and posterity will be kind to present administration as one that brought an end to the incessant strikes in Nigerian universities.
God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria
God bless Academic Staff Union of Universities
God bless Nigerian Students.