I Will Beg ASUU Not To Be Cheap!By Om’eranmukaandu

August 10, 2022 I came across this devotional from OUR DAILY BREAD this morning; it’s titled STANDING BOLDLY. The reference scripture is from Esther 4:7–14. But one verse which says: Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14) caught my attention as it probably did for the author of the motivational piece: In a small Illinois town, domestic violence comprises 40 percent of all crimes in the community. According to a local pastor, this issue is often hidden in our faith communities because it’s uncomfortable to talk about. So instead of shying away from the problem, local ministers chose to exercise faith and courageously address the issue by taking classes to recognize the signs of violence and supporting nonprofit organizations working on the issue. Acknowledging the power of faith and action, a local minister said, “Our prayers and compassion, coupled with some tangible support, can make an important difference.” When Esther, Queen of Persia, was hesitant to speak out against a law that authorized the genocide of her people, she was warned by her uncle that if she remained silent, she and her family wouldn’t escape but would perish (Esther 4:13–14). Knowing it was time to be bold and take a stand, Mordecai queried, “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (v. 14). Whether we are called to speak out against injustice or to forgive someone who’s caused us distress, the Bible assures us that in challenging circumstances, God will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5–6). When we look to Him for help in moments where we feel intimidated, He’ll give us “power, love, and self-discipline” to see our assignment through to the end (2 Timothy 1:7).*Reflections*: “What might God be asking you to do? What tools have you already been given to answer the call?”Prayer: *Heavenly Father, thank You for placing a unique calling over my life. Help me to overcome my fears and step out in faith.*I reflected on the above and came to the decision that I will also beg ASUU not to be cheap as Nigeria has become.’I will not Beg ASUU’ has become the daily refrain in every write-up since Festus Keyamo, a junior Monster in the Ministry of Labour and Unproductivity of the Buhari Bubu Administration’s came on national TeeVee to ask parents and students to beg ASUU to reconsider the current strike and return to the classrooms. This according to him is because the Federal Government, owners of federal public universities and therefore their employers, will not borrow to meet her obligations in wages to the insatiable lecturers, who are denying other beloved Nigerians roads, hospitals, markets, and imported PMS because our local refineries are selling at cheap rates, while neighbouring countries are selling at cheaper prices. The Unlearned Silk opened his mouth ‘gbaga’ (wide) and talked down on his former teachers’ colleagues as if he had it rosy while in school. He was practically shouting on TeeVee. And even rhetorically asked whether he should kneel down and beg lecturers on air, which he bulked at doing. One Adegbola Oluwaseun (Triple Tee) also wrote and titled his piece ‘I will not beg ASUU’. He said inter alia: “Their demands are superfluous and unrealistic. They cannot fix their earnings. The demand for a 180% percent salary increment is criminal for a group of people that have not and may not be able to solve any of our national problems and sectoral growth issues. If our education system is productive and useful, Nigeria today would have been the China of Africa. Poor research skills, disorganized learning aptitude, canonical, and disused curricula, cribbing and lack of innovation are some of the obvious anomalies of our universities. What is the research profile of these lecturers? How productive are they to our national development and sectoral growth challenges? If they are useful and resourceful, they should have helped us solve the bulk of our national problems from revenue, to health, production, economy and all. Plagiarism and intellectual thefts are recurrent decimal in our citadel of learning. shamefully, the relationship is no longer give and take. They are a huge burden to our national budget in a country with dwindling revenue”. This is from someone who probably attended a university, polytechnic or college of education. I am not aware of his educational background but from the tone of his piece, he sounds like a paid agent. He queried: One would wonder if we will be talking about funding universities in Nigeria today if any of our faculties of pharmacy for instance was the standout producer of Astrazeneca vaccine for covid19, and supplying just Africa countries. The money generated from this alone will fund ASUU forever and fix the rot in our ivory towers once and for all. Reward must be commensurate with productivity. But where is the capacity? Same for our Faculty of Engineering and Technology who are sown perpetually to 18th century concepts and antediluvian ideas. We do not produce ordinary blending machines, not to talk of automobiles, heavy machines and farm equipment? We rely solely on importation from a country with a more serious and research focus Academic staff unions. The implications of this are mammoth. First a capital flight and second, job flight. Unfortunately, ASUU is asking for the money they cannot help us retain in our economy. While graduates are similarly asking for jobs, ASUU’s ineptitude took out of Nigeria long before they were admitted. It is our shameful reality.” He shot himself in the foot by asking why our Pharmacy Faculties failed to produce vaccines in the wake of the pandemic called COVID-19. But just yesterday, August 9, 2022, the media was awash with news of the disbursement of a N100 billion grant to indigenous pharmaceutical companies by the federal government. Were these manufacturers and investors not taught and trained by ASUU members? If ASUU’s strike isn’t yielding fruit, albeit indirectly, what do we call this? Government knows it has the responsibility of FUNDING critical sectors of the economy, of which education is paramount. Only that it is still cheap to go to school in Nigeria, according to government and its propaganda machinery. Prof. MK Othman wrote: As against the 1.1 trillion nairas suggested by ASUU in 2009 for the revitalization of public universities, the NEEDS Assessment Committee in the report presented to the Federal Economic Council in 2012 at the Villa, recommended 1.3 trillion nairas to revitalize public universities (Federal and State) and spread over 6 years (2013 to 2018) which was approved. Goodluck Jonathan-led government released the first tranche of N200 billion naira to the universities for 2013 before he was voted out of power. The N200,000, 000, 000 was shared among all the federal and state universities. (Re: #EndASUUStrike: Case of Biased Conciliator, Embarrassed Negotiators, and Disappointed Nigerians).It is most unfortunate that this Adegbola Oluwaseun and some others see that “Our universities are one of the cheapest in the world. The tuition charges from students are very far from the budgets of our schools. This same meager tuition is grossly abused and unaccounted for. Yet they want more money even with a dwindling national revenue”. He does not appreciate the fact that for the same number of years as our independence, ASUU as a lover of transparency has always called on the Visitor to the federal universities, Mr. President, to set up Visitation Panels to go round the institutions and check the excesses of the Chief Accounting Officers, the Vice Chancellors who are appointees of Mr. President. This is with a view to ensuring accountability and transparency in the system. You need not beg ASUU on that. But it had to take a strike last year 2021 for government to accede to this practice which is known to both sides. As I write, the reports of those Panels are yet to be made public for appropriate measures to be taken. Where did ASUU go wrong?Adegbola as a mouthpiece for President Buhari said “These issues are beyond President Buhari. ASUU strike antedated this government”. While one may agree with him, because APC and Buhari and his campaign council mounted the podiums in every state capital, discrediting their predecessor and incumbent President Jonathan in power over the lingering ASUU strike as at the buildup to the 2015 elections. And Buhari promised that his own administration will not witness such but his media dogs have forgotten perhaps that administration is a continuum and every regime inherits both assets and liabilities on assumption of office. He came into office and threw all but one of his campaign promises to the wind. That one is the innocuous school feeding programme which is being run by his faceless cronies as dividends of party loyalty while the hapless schoolboys and girls do not see any food in school. This year alone, N999 billion or million Naira was earmarked for it. That is why the government will fight anybody who tries to fight this programme. This government has refused to honour all the Agreements it inherited, despite public allegiance to do so. It has failed WOEFULLY to address the rot in the system. Only scoring cheap credit in discrediting sincere intentions to march our nation forward. Our PMS is cheap. Our diesel is cheap. At N6 trillion fuel subsidy cheaply appropriated by the Presidency without recourse to the National Assemby! Our cooking gas is cheap. Our roads are plied cheaply by motorists. Our air is cheap. Our water is cheap, hence they want to own the waterways and rape us again of our inheritance by sending their killer herdsmen to settle anywhere without our consent. Their propaganda is cheap! Our public schools are cheap, hence the loss to their friends who have been granted cheap licences to establish expensive private schools with fees out of the reach of the common man. ASUU will not be this cheap. Our universities can be run comfortably with the school charges in place and still survive. Alternatively, let government institute Scholarship Awards for all students and not limit such to members of the families of civil servants and public officers who work in those MDAs. ASUU will always speak out BOLDLY against any draconian, insensitive and irresponsible government, today and tomorrow. Like Queen Esther, we have been sent to right the wrongs in our tertiary education system. (Esther 4:13–14). Knowing it was time to be bold and take a stand, Mordecai queried, “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (v. 14). Whether we are called to speak out against injustice or to forgive someone who’s caused us distress, the Bible assures us that in challenging circumstances, we must stand strong. Hence, our indivisibility as a Union. Parents are appreciative of our collective stand. They are solidly behind ASUU. Even today, it was in the news that Vice Chancellors cried out to their employers to RESOLVE this impasse forthwith. Several sensible groups have made similar clarion calls. I am waiting on the Pro Chancellors to do same. Only that the current PANDEMIC of a government will require strong and effective vaccine for its malady of irresponsibility so that all these pleas and calls can penetrate its heart of stone. Seven years of the APC government, the country has been deliberately sold cheaply to China after the exit from Paris and London Clubs of Creditors and the Debt forgiveness. Yes, I will beg ASUU not to be cheap! We will not give in to blackmail, however cheap. Aluta Continua, Victoria Acerta!(Om’eranmukaandu is the pseudonym of ‘Diran Ademiju-Bepo ©2022)

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I Will Beg ASUU Not To Be Cheap!By Om’eranmukaandu

| Education, Opinion |
About The Author
- Citizen Journalist, public Opinion Analyst Writer and Literary critic