BY BRIGHT JACOB
The Lagos Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities has described as “comical” and “laughable” the statement by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to the national body of ASUU, whose members have been on strike since February, to call of the industrial action for the sake of the next generation, and lampooned the members saying “enough is enough.”
In a statement titled “Mr. President, when and why enough cannot be enough,” and made available to The Point, the Zonal Coordinator, ASUU, Lagos Zone, Adelaja Odukoya, said the Nigerian public had seen through the government’s ploy to paint the union black and undermine it.
Odukoya said the “shenanigan, deliberate, systematic and orchestrated agenda of the present government” was not only meant to undermine ASUU but would also “comprehensively destroy” public university education.
“It is with painful and heartfelt amusement that we received your comical statement and laughable call yesterday that “enough is enough” on the almost five-month-old strike action of our Union, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), occasioned and forced on us by the crass insensitivity, nonchalant disposition, ineptitude and crass indifference to the fate of public university education in the country under your leadership.
“That all other Unions in the nation’s public university system, as well as unions in other tertiary educational levels in the country, are also on strike for similar reasons, belied and exposed the ridiculous disposition and propaganda to paint our union black in the face of the Nigerian public who has seen through the shenanigan, deliberate, systemic and orchestrated agenda of the present government.
“This is not only to undermine but to comprehensively destroy public university education in unpatriotic obedience to the slavish and destructive command of the neoliberal high command to which the soul of this administration and her forbears seems to be irrevocably sold,” the statement read.
Odulaja, who also described Buhari’s response to the strike as “un-presidential,” accused the President of remaining silent in the face of the protracted strike, and submitted that the President’s inaction was a signpost of “leadership failure.”
He criticised the President and his cronies who he said continued to waste time on “partisan party political activities, family egoistic ceremonies and global junketing,” and also declared that the Eid Adha celebration which the President chose to make his statement concerning the strike, ought to be one for making “sacrifices.”
The union also reminded the President that the strike would have been avoided, and noted that had the government implemented earlier agreements and taken its responsibility to education more seriously, Buhari’s “lamentation” would have been unnecessary.
“The fact that the president has unfortunately and sadly taken and embraced an attitude of mute indifference and unedifying quietude in the face of calamitous consequences a neglected education sector could foist on generations of Nigerians, including those yet unborn is a clear signpost of leadership failure.
“Nigerian public university students remain at home while our dear president and his cronies lavish valuable time on partisan party political activities, family egoistic ceremonies and global junketing, and to have finally woken up to address the issue of the national strike in the nation public universities in a season of Eid Adha celebration – the season that calls for utmost and supreme sacrifices exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim, should elicit both spiritual and popular condemnation.
“The choice of this solemn occasion to trade blames rather than making sacrifice as the season demands appears more of gross lack of understanding of the enormity of the crisis.
“The usual window-dressing and buck-passing and inability to rise up to serious occasions affecting our country, particularly the nation’s education sector is rather unfortunate. This is underscored by the sleep-walk disposition of the un-presidential response to an issue which has been prolonged and exacerbated due to presidential inaction.
“Mr. President sir, for ASUU, this strike action should not have lasted beyond the first week after it was declared because the issues at stake were neither new nor do they require rocket science to resolve given that there had been MOUs and MOAs as well as a duly renegotiated ASUU-FGN Agreement completed way back 13th May, 2020 before your government which you and your administration neglected and refused to implement and signed.
“Our Commander-in-Chief, if only your administration had taken the sacred responsibility for education and the future of the Nigerian youth seriously, this latter-day unconvincing lamentation without doing anything would have been unnecessary,” the Union stated.