The Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Dr. Salihu Lukman, has described the seemingly unending power tussle between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, as the greatest disservice to Nigeria’s public education system.
Lukman noted that there was enough blame to go around on both sides if the blame game was to be relied upon.
He, however, said, amidst the accusations, counter-accusations and the destructively long strikes, the nation’s public education system and our teeming youths have been the worst for it.
This was contained in a statement titled, “ASUU and Indeterminate Power Struggle – The Boko Haram Logic,” which he signed and made public in Abuja, on Sunday.
Lukman said, “Many respected Nigerian academics have publicly celebrated the point that ASUU has never lost any struggle against the Nigerian government, whether military or civilian. These are being said without any remorse or acknowledgment of the damage ASUU strikes has done to the Nigerian education system.
“That we are even thinking that closure of universities and our schools can produce any form of victory with reference to any form of outcome demonstrate our nasty state of mind, which brings us closer to the Hobbesian reality that civilisation would have long resolved.
“How can anyone with a child whose dream and aspiration should include being educated, celebrate in any form the closure of schools? What difference is such logic from the Boko Haram objective of abolishing western education?
“It is very sad that it is common knowledge now that in the last twenty-one years, ASUU was on strike for a record period of more than four years. Worse still is the fact that we have people who claimed to be public intellectuals that present such a reprehensible scorecard and by any standard a scandalous credential as achievement is sickening.
“At this rate, we may as well accept that Boko Haram terrorists are also public intellectuals. In any event, who is a public intellectual? Aren’t Boko Haram terrorists engaged in critical thinking, research, and reflections? If their mission is to abolish western education, how farther away from that mission is the activity of any group that causes the closure of our universities for nine months in one academic calendar?
“If our universities are closed for nine months, what does that mean to the remainder of the education system? Assuming that secondary students are able to pass their exams, will they gain admission into universities? Where will space come from when existing students have not graduated?”
He further noted that to make proposals aimed at resolving the dispute based on an assessment of who was right and who was wrong would be unhelpful.
The PGF DG said, “It is important for everyone to take responsibility. Nobody is right and everyone is wrong. Neither ASUU nor FG is right. Both ASUU and FG are wrong. The best way to demonstrate this is with reference to the agreement that ASUU members are celebrating.”