By Nura Jibo
During my university days in one of Nigeria’s best and leading universities, I was a victim of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike. As a result, we were stricken academically and made to stay at home for an entire year.
The ASUU-Federal Government face-off continued to linger. We were affected by another two-year strike at different times. Then I wrote a full page in the Daily Trust opinion column of 2 May 2003 titled, “ASUU/FGN Face-Off: Point Blank”.
I don’t really blame ASUU for all the strike actions. Because I know even then, the moribund status of the Nigerian education system had reached its comatose stage. We were given lectures in two of the biggest lecture theatres at my university. And the mammoth student crowd was so overwhelming that one had to sit on the floor to listen to lectures. There was a lack of seats and spaces to patch on and receive lessons. That was nineteen (19) years ago!
Now I don’t want to be lengthy today. Anybody that wants to know the solutions I proffered then could search Google or take time to read my book chapter on Nigeria. It is there on Amazon
To cut the story short, I listened to the haggard-looking and frustrated ASUU President with a sympathetic mind. I saw how Seun of Channels Television tried to balance his reporting with Festus Keyamo’s verbal diarrhoea.
First, anybody watching Keyamo’s take on ASUU knows he is lying! He sounded a pathological one, for that matter. But I don’t blame him because that’s what some Nigerian politicians do to make ends meet! However, as a lawyer and former human rights activist, Keyamo ought to have been careful by minding his language as a custodian of justice.
I am happy the ASUU President debunked and dismissed Keyamo as one of those ‘chop-chop’ guys that rants on government, but after having a lucrative position, they eat and dine from it. And their so-called activism ends there!
Second, Adamu Adamu’s Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education is one of the most corrupt ministries in the world. A verifiable proof and evidence of this is vivid when one wants attestation of their academic documents. The entire people in charge of attestation of university documents are all fantastically corrupt. They charge and collect kick-backs from left, right, back, front and centre! And they would tell you there is no actual price for attestation of one’s academic documents.
Very recently, a very shocking incident happened. Someone was kept aside, probably a former staff of the Ministry, that specialises in being a money liaison negotiator between one of the women directors that work in that attestation section in the Ministry and anybody that comes for attestation of documents. That guy (name withheld for now but will be released in my subsequent analysis) is extraordinarily corrupt and charges a considerable amount of money in the name attestation!
I wanted to expose these ills and terrible ineptitudes to Adamu Adamu by intending to painstakingly go and meet him personally at his office the way we used to meet at late Dr Mamud’s Tukur house in Kaduna at Raba Road. But I decided not to because he may ask his secretaries not to usher me in. The rest of this story is a menu for another day. Now let’s come back to ASUU Strike.
As it is, Adamu Adamu has lost respect and the so-called radical reformer he thinks he was. Because for him to preside over an education ministry that is the biggest in Africa and allow corruptible ministerial staff to keep reigning and painting a terrible image of Nigeria in the name of attestation of documents shows a lack of concern and total negligence of holding public office on Adamu’s part!
Therefore, little wonder when he ignores ASUU’s demands because during his struggle days to make both ends meet, he was an ardent ASUU supporter. But now, he has joined the bandwagon of Keyamo’s “Kiya Kiya” in the name of public service!
Third, I respect my university teachers very well. They earn my respect any day. Because despite all odds, they made me who I am educationally (academically), politically, socially, realistically, genuinely, “temeritically”, hopefully, audaciously, respectfully, fearlessly, confrontationally, and above all analytically and scientifically savvy.
Ditto Adamu Adamu and the Keyamo’s of this world!
They were well trained and educated by those university lecturers that they betray today in the name of public office.
To be continued!
Nura Jibo is a Lifetime Member of the West African Research Association (WARA), African Studies Centre, Boston University, United States. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.