- Category: POLITICS
- Published on Monday, 07 May 2012 20:20
- Written by Bukhari Muhammed Bello Jega
No doubt; the Academic Staff Union of Universities remained one of the most patriotic unions in the last decades. This patriotism is informed by years of doggedness and commitment by the intellectual community in engaging and drawing the attention of non charlatan leaders and policy makers on the dilapidated nature of Nigerian
universities visa vie the welfare package of the spirited tutors. ASUU in the past, stand tall as an accomplished body of intellectual union armed with the symbol of struggles, patriotism, and theater of ideological and intellectual prowess, that not only move and build students with strong moral and ideological disposition, but, also send a spine-chillingly in the mind of the oppressors; thereby building and nurturing a community of conscious revolutionaries vanguards of change as Students.
ASUU has/had courageously stand up against Lilliputian class of leaders, through engagement, protest and strike to register their displeasure over the character, attitude and policy intentions of leaders towards the Nigeria state, especially the educational sector. Such actions and engagements not only checkmate and resisted bad policies against Lilliputian class of leaders, but, offers alternative voice to the belligerent Nigerian masses .Such was a legacy of patriotic union, that not only confronted the military tanks and bullets, using their only tools “Ideas” and intellectual discourses, but, provides alternative indigenous strategies on the future direction of their country and contribute greatly in laying the foundation for country’s return to democracy that is suppose to nurture and entrenched good governance and development.
For a non-combatant union like ASUU, strike has always been the instrument of engagement with the uncaring and unconcerned Nigerian government. Most often when these strikes were carry out by ASUU, its paralyses the whole gamut of university education and exposed the general slide and decays in Nigerian universities. Interestingly, anytime, the Academic Staff Union of Universities embarked on these strikes to pressed government to answers to the various challenges facing the universities visa vie the welfare of the good spirited lecturers, I often find it very interesting and often supported such move, even against my interest as a student of intellectualism in one of the ramshackle Nigerian University in northern region. Looking around the university environments; from classroom/lecture halls, library, hostels and the welfare package of our lecturers, visa vie the quality of information and knowledge coming from these highly spirited tutors and mentors, I often have this believe they deserved better. The total neglect of the universities education by the government call for sober reflection on the seriousness of the nation to attain development and transformation visa vie building the competitive educational advantage in a fastly changing world of knowledge based century.
However, having gone through the university system with all the neglects and hopelessness and confusion in the system; am beginning to have a rethink on certain perception and support to this strike issues and the blamed game against the inability of the Federal Government to engineer the needed change and support to the university education. On a deeper reflection and analysis as a student of development studies and an aspiring lecturer myself, I came to appreciate and understand that the internal contradictions within the universities have deeper implications to the future of Nigerian universities, compares to the external dynamics of government neglect. This preposition is informed by the crisis of values, seriousness, and moral lapses eroding the Nigerian universities across the federation. I find it very compelling to draw the attention of the general public on the rots within the university community and the inability of ASUU to tackles or to sees these crises as a major impediment that is seriously eroding academic excellence and intellectualism across the country. Today, the Nigerian universities can be classified as what Professor Steve Agwo Okecha, an ivory towers, with neither ivory nor tower due to breakdown of moral and academic excellence in the system.
I believe, ASUU can not shy away from the fact that, the crisis of sexual harassment of our sisters, mothers and wives by their members did not captured their fancy and attentions; thereby needing drastic actions and punishment against their erring members. Today, the Nigerian universities parade sexual predators and skirt chases as tutors and lecturers in large numbers. Unfortunately, most often their victims are our unsuspecting sisters, mothers, wives and aunty, who have no options that to give away their God given treasures to suppose moral moulders and future guardian to enjoy with the promise of giving them a grade. The agonies of sexual intimidation and harassment have permeated the landscape of the Nigerian universities, thereby, destroying the fabrics of the universities in the country as citadel of academic and moral excellence; as undeserving students graduated into our system to continue with the corporate prostitutions in various government and private establishment. If the stories and crisis of sex for promotion and privileges or “Bottom power” we often here in government and private establishments is anything to go by. While does that refuse to play balls are not only frustrated, but, some time withdraw out of the university, thereby ending their academic careers forever. This I believe is an internal problem that needs ASUU to declare war against erring members so, as protect our future mothers, sisters, and wives the agonies of using their treasures to safeguard a polluted future. We are still awaiting the measures ASUU will take to tackle this moral and academic perfidy by sexual predator clothed in sheep cloth as lecturers.
Furthermore, the character and attitude of our lecturers in various universities left one thinking, to ask, if the men and women in the ivory towers are emperors of sort? The idea of universities is to have universal perception and conceptions of life and specialization through a well guided and caring tutors and mentors. Naturally, a graduate of university ought to be seen as very sympathetic to his fellow man or woman, due to humility and moral exigencies that ought to be the bedrock of Nigeria University. Unfortunately, the attitude and characters of some lecturers can not be equated with intellectualism and humility that comes with knowledge. Instead of showing the light and way to students that need the horizon of light at the end of the tunnels, most students graduate more confusion and wicked during to the crude and hostile nature of their tutorship during the university days. I think we expect maturity and fatherly concern from men and women who should know better. This act of wickedness and insensitivity by men and women of intellectualism is creating an army of uncaring, unconcerned, rude, unrefined and unpatriotic smart future leaders lacking sympathy and patriotic zeal against their country, due to the way they were treated during the university years. A situation where student is stopped from graduating due to some ego and self adventurism of a lecturer is uncalled for.
The tragedy of prolong and delay tactics against post-graduate students, running Master and PhD programme is sympathetic and tragic to the future of our tertiary education and recruitment process of young lecturers with fresh ideas and spirit. A situation where a student running a master of science spend or waste over four (4) to Six (6) years for a programme of 2 years while PhD students spend ten-Fifteen (10-15) researching for what suppose to last for just three years without a fault of his, is on call for and portent an impudent of wickedness from the men that should exemplify simplicity, pity, humility, and decorum of the highest order. Most a time, personal ego and selfish interests of the men in the ivory towers seem to be the major driving force on this wickedness and insensitivity. This crude, unrefined, and rude behaviour of our tutors have turned the university community into a theater of envy and antagonism, instead of reservouirs of intellectualism and strategic research.
I believe, the irony of our contemporary reality is the battle of space among and between various segments of the Nigerian society. The reality is that, most of us are standing on a pleasant space which is comfortable to us. We do not want to shift to anywhere and until we move before another person take up the challenges of contributing his own best towards national development. The wickedness and conspiracy at the post graduate level lies within the insecurity by most lecturers against their students who might graduate and decide to become members of the academic community. Delay tactics and wickedness becomes a vehicle to frustrate such patriotic intellectual contribution mostly from the digital and conscious generations. The rate of wickedness and delay tactics have starve the Nigerian universities with young and dynamics lecturers; as the old guards continue to enjoy and entrenched themselves in various universities. The few that, are fortunate to be in the system, were denied opportunities as the politics in the post-graduate level is often used against them. The reality is that Nigeria universities are starved of qualifies senior lectures including the newly established universities by President Goodluck Jonathan. Ironically, at the end of the day, it is/was the same old senior lecturers that the society will be force to fall back to, as either visiting lecturers or switching over to new opportunity; thereby earning double salary or switching jobs at will due to scarcity of senior lecturers. Generational transition from graduate assistant –Assistant Lecturer- Lecturer 11 and 1 to Senior lecturer is now an issues of privilege instead of hardwork; as the men and women, have jealously monopolize the process with a delay tactics and wickedness at post graduate level to frustrate the new entry of new members into the class of doctorate (PhD) holders.
I believe, if the rates of years wasted in post graduate are put into consideration, it will be enough to cushion and bridge the gap of ageing population of senior lecturers, almost expiring Professors; thereby injecting new blood of passionate and committed researchers and sound minds as lecturers/leaders in various universities across the country. We really, cannot see, ASUU in collaboration with school management, insisting/ assisting in sanctioning erring members who uses unnecessary measure to delay students from graduating. From the information I gathered, ASUU often have a running battle with school management against attempt to discipline and sanctioned these wicked and unpatriotic members. This is sad coming from a union I have supported in the past. I believe ASUU has often stand against injustice and wickedness, so I believe close collaboration with University management to stop this unnecessary backstabbing of the Nigeria state and students to massage the ego and selfish interests of some lunatic and unpatriotic lecturers require the support of this patriotic union, to cleanse the rots in our university.
Although, the universities have be grossly underfunded by the government; but, the little given to the universities, are often wasted and looted by the Vice Chancellors and university managements, without any resistance from this patriotic union. Is the intellectual community finding it difficult or trap in assessing themselves against the ills they often accused other of? Or could it be as a result of almost all the management teams where former and present members of ASUU or a case of espirit de co? I believe ASUU need to declare either at their various branches or national, a strike against Vice Chancellor or management team that, are found to be corruptly enrich themselves or refusal to tackle the infrastructure challenges facing the universities in the country with the little resources at hand. The total silence on the crisis of corruption, internal wickedness, inresponsibilities, crisis and contradictions by erring ASUU members and total silence by ASUU leadership has seriously erodes whatever the argued as the external dynamics for their strike action. A striking example is the case of University of Abuja, where four faculties are not accredited, but, yet, ASUU allow lectures to continue, until when the Faculties were closed, and the students who have stayed at the university for years are now granted exit visa. This is a failure to me, on the side of the University ASUU, to engaged and threatens the illegality from taking shaping in the first place. For University of Abuja, ASUU is an appendage of hopelessness and confusion, as the so call comrades are engrossed of politics of religion and shown weakness and stupidity in charting a course for its members and the belligerent students that looks up to their lecturers for succour and protection. Now ASUU at university is not only divided along religion line, but, ASUU is becoming the major impediments to academic excellence and progress.
I really, believe, it is a pity, how a once patriotic and determine Union, looks the other ways to the internal contradictions affecting the universities and the downward slope and speed to which the Nigerian university are head to self destruction. The reality is that, the internal contradictions are affecting the future of Nigerian universities than all this external dynamic of government ineffectiveness in funding the universities in the country. Tackling the internal contradictions in our various universities, will begin to address the crisis in our university system; thereby raising the falling standard of our graduate to the challenges of contemporary century of knowledge. This requires urgent attitudinal change and fear of God by the tutors and guardian of our future leaders in realizing that, lecturing is serious business that has the tendency of building or destroying the future of the Nigerian state, thus, the need for a smart partnership; a father/children like relationship between lectures and students. Morality remains instrument and key to our societal survival. And the university remains the environment where this moral revival most begin; and the lecturers the drivers of such societal rejuvenation. Our lecturers must be seen with the cloths of humility, sympathy, and assistance to their students and the community at large.
I believe a standard code of conduct and engagement needs to be formulated, implemented and driven by ASUU is require in punishing erring members of the academic environment. ASUU as a union of intellectuals, the drivers and formulators of ideas, must be seen practicing and projecting the beauty of truthfulness, moral, steadfastness, humility, and justice to all. Issues of generational rivalry, is not only unhealthy but, it deprive the Nigerian state from the services of energetic and knowledgeable youngsters within the university community. ASUU must be seeing leading a leadership recruitment and mentoring process thereby bridging the gap between the old and new lecturers within the university community. I still believe ASUU is still a patriotic body, with patriotic people, but, ASUU needs to cleanse itself from the internal contradictions that seem to me, the greatest threat to university education and future of Nigeria academic excellence. The time for espirit De cop, is over, now is time to remove the veil of hypocrisy and look inward for solution for our mud sliding in academic and university education for the sake of the future. On a final note, I still believe ASUU still remain a vehicle for university development and Lecturing the best profession among all; but, the reality need to be told period.
Bukhari Muhammed Bello Jega
Writes from Wuse Zone 4, Abuja