By Prof. Abdulrasaq Oniye.
ASUU went on a painful strike as a last resort to press further its persistent call for a better system for Nigeria education. Government responded with pride and its characteristic non-challant attitude. Nigerian parents typically responded with mixed feelings (majority believing government lies against ASUU and very few showing some understanding for the cause ASUU is fighting for). The Nigeria students were torn between immediate gratification (need to complete their programme) and need to support ASUU for a more functional educational system for this generation of students and those yet to be born.
Government used hunger(withheld salaries), heavy propaganda, character assassination and divide and rule as its weaponry against ASUU and as it stands, there appears no victory in sight for ASUU as all forces appear to be against it and its noble goals for the Nigerian education system.
My fears for Nigeria and her education system are:
- If ASUU succumbs to this suffocating government high-handedness, the last army in the defence of our education system would have been defeated.
- If ASUU remains resolute, it risks internal sabotage from hunger-striken (half-committed) members.
- If ASUU calls off the strike because it’s persuaded to focus on the welfare of her members at the expense of fighting for a functional educational system, lecturers risk losing the age-old selfless services for which the teaching profession is known.
- If university teachers stop caring about what happens to the system and the wellbeing of their students, parents risk a future of wasted investment in their children’s education (because their children would be made to attend schools with mere buildings but less learning if any at all).
- God forbid, should the situation in 4 above obtains, the academic and human capital superiority of the nation among committee on nations would have been lost.
These are my fears for Nigeria, Nigerians and our education system.
Prof. Abdulrazaq Oniye