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The rivalry between the FG and the ASUU

10 September 2013, 14:13 TONY Igbinoba O Tony

There is nothing wrong in Nigeria that cannot be corrected with something right in Nigeria.

This article is based mainly to analyse the role of education in the growth of Nigeria's economy, there has been a decay in the Nigeria educational system as there has always been a continuous rivalry between the federal government(political system) and ASUU(pressure group)

This article is not to praise or applaud either parties but to bring to the public the good,the bad,the ugly and the beautiful of Nigeria's educational system and to take a look at the way forward.

It is important to bring to your notice that section 18(1)of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria provides that Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels. section 18(3) Government shall strive to eradicate illiteracy and to this end Government shall as and when practicable provide(c)free university education.

However this so wonderful provision of the constitution is non justiciable(section 6(6)(c) 1999 constitution) and therefore cannot be enforced by an action in court. In other words, the government was just thinking aloud when it included the provision! Therefore it is at the mercy of the FG to provide any of these necessities, and they cannot be held liable if they
fail to provide them.

The Government has been very lackadaisical as regards the provisions of section 18 of the constitution, as a result, education is now taken as a second hand affair,forgetting the fact that enhancing human resources is far more important and better than even the so called natural resources. recourse should be made to japan or china whose economy is a force to be reckoned with in the world because of their level of human resources, the percentage of funds from the federal revenue allocated to education is so minimal as compared to other nations of the world. How can Nigeria be the giant of Africa when education cannot be adequately provided for rather our leaders jump into unnecessary issues. Is it that our leaders are not wise enough to know what ought to be done? Even the bible provides that woe to any Nation whose leadership is a child.

Now to the other side of the coin which is ASUU (Academic Staff union of universities) before I go into the issue of ASUU stricto sensu, I shall briefly give an hilarious story.''A white man came to Nigeria and asked a student what is the meaning of ASUU, the student humbly replied by saying ASUU is a festival celebrated in Nigeria where students don't go to school''.
ASUU as we all know is a union group whose main aim is to fight for the interest of its members,the purpose of this body is to serve as an intermediary between the FG and lecturers of their member university for the good of fostering healthy educational system.

The most important weapon a union group uses in fighting for their interest is strike,this is something that is synonymous to ASUU. This weapon called strike has its own advantages and disadvantages, advantage towards the lecturers because it helps them get what they want and disadvantage towards the students because it makes our stay in the university longer than anticipated, a four year course turns into five year course because of the persistent break encountered due to numerous ASUU strike. It has now turned into a normal routine that ASUU must go on strike at every two years interval since 2009,later on in 2011 and now 2013, so how are we sure that they won't go on strike again in 2015,well I will be out of the university before 2015, the feeling of experiencing two long ASUU strike in 2011 and 2013 is not something to be proud of. It is so amazing to know that the striking parties will still get paid for the elapsed months due to the strike,thus getting paid for services not rendered. Due to this unending state of affairs students are now vulnerable to anti-social activities for it is written that an idle mind is the devils workshop.

It is barely four days to september and a month to october yet my friends who are in their final year,faculty of law in the university of calabar are all at home, their dreams of making law school this october is gradually going down the drain, I weep everyday in my heart knowing fully well that if they don't move, I too will not be able to move to the next level.
So many questions running through my mind now, what is the bone of contention between ASUU and FG? Is ASUU having also the interest of the students at heart in this struggle? The Nigeria students are suo moto involved in this struggle, for anything that will not benefit the interest of the students is nothing,according to ASUU the issue on ground is for the full implementation of the 2009 agreement between both parties.

Firstly,improved working condition, which entails infrastructural rehabilitation, briefly put this will also improve fast and comfortable learning condition for students. Finally increment of their salary, it seems like our lecturers no longer want their rewards in heaven.

Who can blame them? After all, narrow is the gate... one thing is sure that increment can only be available to deserving hands, have they been fulfilling their obligation of appearing in class regularly? Do they want money for a job not adequately rendered? A man that takes the glory for a job not done is a sinner in the sight of God.

Why will ASUU fight for their pocket alone forgetting that students are supposed to be entitled to remuneration also no matter how minimal it might be. What makes a university? Simply put the lecturers and students, if they get paid for impacting knowledge into us, I see no reason why we also should not get a little allowance for helping them grow in their area of specialisation,for without us there will be no them vice versa,so therefore we compliment each other. If you think it’s a
lie, what makes them lecturers if not the availability of students?

To bring an end to this scorpion eating up our educational sector,this is the way forward.

The federal government should provide ASUU with all they want so they can go back to the classroom but an unbiased panel should be set up as watch dogs which will comprise of both lecturers and students to check mate any lecturer that will not give 100 percent performance of his or her duty as a teacher, any lecturer found wanting after investigation shall be summarily dismissed( do your job in order for you to keep your job).I believe this will be able to eradicate bribery otherwise known as blocking or sorting by greedy lecturers.

Most importantly every leader should have love and compassion for the people they lead, if our leaders truly have this undeniable love towards us they should adhere strictly to section 18 of the 1999 constitution and the oath of allegiance they took before assuming office. A law should b passed that there should be compulsory admission of all off-springs of our leaders in any varsity located in the constituency they represent, this law will foster equal educational opportunities in accordance wit section 18 of the 1999 constitution. With this policy our leaders will learn how to do the right things at the right time, this burden of numerous ASUU strike is too much for the masses to handle alone.

Furthermore section 18 of the 1999 constitution should be amended and moved from chapter two to chapter four (fundamental rights) education should be our right and not a privilege, because education is the back bone of all nations economy in the world.

A word of advice for those piloting the affairs of this Nation, the question you should always ask yourself is not ''will my calender be full but rather what will fill my calender''. To ASUU do your job in order for you to keep your job.

To my fellow Nigeria students I promise you all today that we will surely be taking over soon, so I indulge you not to pack in the packing lot of our leaders. we are the hope for tomorrow; we should not talk ill about our country. To get the responsive government and a Nigeria we all dream of, this is where I come in, this is where you come in, this is where we all come in.
We cannot raise Nigeria up by calling her down... GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA !!!

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