THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has told President Muhammadu Buhari that enough will not be enough until he does “the needful and act presidentially by signing the renegotiated agreement” between the federal government and the union.
Comrade Adelaja Odukoya, Zonal Coordinator of Lagos Zone of ASUU-Lagos stated this in response to President Buhari’s comment on Monday in Daura, Katsina State, when he received some governors of the All Progressives Congress, legislators, and other political leaders at his residence.
Buhari, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, was quoted to have said: “We hope that ASUU will sympathise with the people on the prolonged strike. Truly, enough is enough for keeping students at home. Don’t hurt the next generation for goodness sake.” He was also quoted to have asked well-meaning Nigerians, especially those close to the leaders and members of ASUU, to wade in on the matter and persuade the lecturers to call of the strike that is in its 5th month.
ASUU in its response on Tuesday stated, among other things, said: “Mr. President, the reason why enough cannot be enough is that you have failed to act presidentially to reposition the decaying and dying public university education in our beloved country.
“This struggle too shall continue despite the state’s tyrannical disposition which has since manifested in the use of starvation as an instrument of oppression and subjugation against our members by the refusal to pay our salaries in the last five months.
“Sadly Mr. President, enough will not be enough until you do the needful and act presidentially by signing the renegotiated agreement before your excellency, authorize the end to the ruinous, evil and exploitative IPPIS and the adoption of UTAS, payment of outstanding allowances, stop the proliferation of universities and ensure the proper funding of public universities among other things.”
The statement, dated July 12, 2022, and entitled: “Mr President Sir: When and Why Enough Cannot Be Enough,” reads
“It is with painful and heartfelt amusement that we received your comical statement and laughable call yesterday that “enough is enough” on the almost five-month old strike action of our Union, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), occasioned and forced on us by the crass insensitivity, nonchalant disposition, ineptitude and crass indifference to the fate of public university education in the country under your leadership.
“That all other Unions in the nation’s public University system as well as unions in other tertiary educational levels in the country are also on strike for similar reasons, belied and exposed the ridiculous disposition and propaganda to paint our union black in the face of the Nigerian public who has seen through the shenanigan, deliberate, systemic and orchestrated agenda of the present government. This is not only to undermine but to comprehensively destroy public university education in unpatriotic obedience to the slavish and destructive command of the neoliberal high command to which the soul of this administration and her forbears seems to be irrevocably sold.
“The fact that the president that unfortunately and sadly taken and embraced an attitude of mute indifference and unedifying quietude in the face of calamitous consequences a neglected education sector could foist on generations of Nigerians, including those yet unborn is a clear signpost of leadership failure.
“Nigerian public university students remain at home while our dear president and his cronies lavish valuable time on partisan party political activities, family egoistic ceremonies and global junketing, and to have finally woken up to address the issue of the national strike in the nation’s public universities in a season of Eid Adha celebration – season that calls for utmost and supreme sacrifices exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim should elicit both spiritual and popular condemnation.
“The choice of this solemn occasion to trade blames rather than making sacrifice as the season demands appears more of gross lack of understanding of the enormity of the crisis. The usual window-dressing and buck-passing and inability to rise up to serious occasion affecting our country particularly the nation’s education sector is rather unfortunate. This is underscored by the sleep-walk disposition of the un-presidential response to an issue which has been prolonged and exacerbated due to presidential inaction.
“Mr. President sir, for ASUU, this strike action should not have lasted beyond the first week after it was declared because the issues at stake were neither new nor do they require rocket science to resolve given that there had been MOUs and MOAs as well as a duly renegotiated ASUU-FGN Agreement completed way back 13th May, 2020 before your government which you and your administration neglected and refused to implement and signed.
“Our Commander-in-Chief, if only your administration has taken the sacred responsibility for education and the future of the Nigerian youth seriously, this latter day unconvincing lamentation without doing anything would have been unnecessary. Your Excellency, your position is to be on top of issues and solve national problems no matter how tough the situation instead of hopeless lamentation and sermonizing.
“The various issues confronting our nation, that of the ongoing strike in the nation’s public universities will not be solved by presidential lamentations but by executive actions induced by rare patriotism and nationalism. Therefore Mr. President, saying that enough is enough is mere wishful thinking and will not resolve the present decadence in our universities nor stop the present struggle to reposition our public universities.
“For the records, Mr. President, enough will not be enough in the struggle to reposition the public university education in Nigeria under this present administration and beyond as long as: the Nigerian public universities are reduced to glorified secondary schools for the production of poor quality and globally uncompetitive, rejected and unemployable graduates; Nigerian academics remain one of the poorest paid scholars not only in Africa but the world; our universities are unattractive to students and scholars from across the globe; universities in the countries are made constituency projects and mushroomed for political exigencies; Nigerian universities, no thanks to IPPIS, are run as government parastatals; Nigerian universities are seen as profit-centers where government and its functionaries can obtain money to fund its excessive gastrominal greed.
“Mr. President, the reason why enough cannot be enough is that you have failed to act presidentially to reposition the decaying and dying public university education in our beloved country. This struggle too shall continue despite the state tyrannical disposition which has since manifested in the use of starvation as an instrument of oppression and subjugation against our members by the refusal to pay our salaries in the last five months. Sadly Mr. President, enough will not be enough until you do the needful and act presidentially by signing the renegotiated agreement before your excellency, authorize the end to the ruinous, evil and exploitative IPPIS and the adoption of UTAS, payment of outstanding allowances, stop the proliferation of universities and ensure the proper funding of public universities among other things.”