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Asuu Strike: Time for FG and Union to reach consensus and resume lectures

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After an extensive deliberation that lasted days, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has embarked on an indefinite strike action.

ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, said all means of negotiation had been exploited before the decision on an indefinite strike action was reached.

The grouse of the university teachers are as follows: The inability of the Federal Government to implement some of the issues contained in a 2009 agreement it had with ASUU as well as payments of allowances.

The lecturers have complained of poor funding of universities, part-payment of salaries of lecturers and the kidnap of two lecturers of the University of Maiduguri by the Boko Haram.

For the umpteenth time, our education sector has been thrown into another avoidable industrial action

It is against this background that Nigerians condemns the levity with which federal government handled the numerous agreements it had reached with the union, and failing to implement the agreement.

It is obvious that the federal government have not proved to be honorable in ensuring the faithful implementation of the agreements they entered with the academics since 2009. This has engendered a lack of trust and confidence of the scholars in the government. This latest strike action will disrupt the academic calendar of the affected public tertiary institutions.

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With this development, many final year students who are supposed to graduate this year may not be able to do so. The ripple effect of this is that with delayed graduation, medical students who should go for their housemanship; law students who should go for their law school programme and the generality of other students who should be mobilised for their mandatory one-year national service scheme would also have theirs postponed.

In the long run, it is the students’ destinies that are generally being manipulated with these endless industrial actions.

Many of these students would now have time to fully engage in social vices such as prostitution, cultism, kidnapping, armed robbery, fraud and many others to while away time as well as make illicit money.

It will be difficult for many of them to seek proper legitimate job as they are not certain when their lecturers will call off their strike; more so, they have no meaningful qualifications to seek full employment.

The disruption of studies of the students will also have negative psychological impact on them. By the time the strike is over, many of the students would most likely have forgotten what they were taught before the unwarranted break.

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Is this how we want to continue to frame the future generations of this country?

From the foregoing, it is pertinent to appeal to federal government to implement the dictates of the 2009 agreement it entered with the academic union. Government should also quickly consider the issues of poor funding of universities, part-payment of salaries of lecturers and the kidnap of two lecturers of the University of Maiduguri by the Boko Haram which had led to the strike action. Nigeria’s education sector needs to be properly funded given the primacy role the sector plays in human capital development.

Furthermore, Nigerians appeal to members of the academic staff union to soft pedal on their demands, particularly the ‘payment of allowance’. Asking for payments of allowances during recession may not seem right.

The union should give the government more time, and the benefit of the doubt by going back to work in the interest of their suffering students. Let’s save our tottering education sector from the imminent total collapse.

 

By Gbenga Odunsi

 

 

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National Issues

Nigeria : A Nation Yet With Unfulfilled Pledge

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The functionalist behavioral scientists presented the evolution of human society by drawing an analogy between human organism and societal entity. They viewed human and social organism as a system in which their parts work interrelated and interdependently to maintain a healthy whole. While human entity consists of systems such as the nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system; the social organism (Society) comprises institutions like economy, education, family, government, religion as its system. 

Human entity also progressed from infancy to adolescence, and to adulthood, while society or a nation passes through progressional chain such as; hunting and gathering, horticultural, agrarian to the level of industrial society. The foregoing means that a nation like Nigeria with approximately 200 million inhabitants in an area of 920,000 km2 (360,000 sq mi) is subjected to growth just as a living organism.

It is yet hard to conclude that the expectations and dreams of Nigerian citizens , except few privileged ones , have been fulfilled, in spite of Nigeria’s 59 year existence as an independent nation. Is Nigeria still a fool at 59? Will it be a fool forever? Because a popular adage echoes that “a fool at 40 is a fool forever”. Though, life span of a country may be longer than that of a man, yet if a man cannot attain his appropriate position at age 59, he is likely to be considered a failed human. Even, as the ‘Giant of Africa’, can Nigeria nationale hope for a better Nigeria?

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Looking around, Nigerians daily see signs of hopelessness, retardation and backwardness which are antithetic to ” to life more abundance “, the slogan when Nigeria was granted a sovereign status in the 1960s by the then British Empire. It is only when a tongue is kept in the mouth that what has been displayed in Nigeria for fifty nine years (59) would be described as development.

Food prices keep rising, cost of living including accommodation skyrocketing, cost of education rising, yet yearly failure in exams and low quality outputs is the order of the day. Petroleum products prices keep rising from N11 per litre in 1994 to N145 per litre in 2019, yet state of infrastructure in Nigeria is deplorable, crimes and hostilities, the militant groups in the Niger Delta, Kidnappers and Bokoharam in the North among others, have assumed different dimensions in the land. The latter seems to be a reaction to injustice, which the leaders have allowed to permeate the land.

According to development experts, indices such as industrialization, Gross National Product (GNP), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Capital Accumulation, Massive Investment in ICT like NigComsat and the newly launched one (s) ; even democracy, among others, cannot be used as yardsticks for growth or development.

Far back in 1969, it was Dudley Seers, a British economist who specialised in development economics that said the questions to ask about state’s development are : What has been happening to poverty and hunger? What has been happening to unemployment? What has been happening to inequality? “If all three of these have declined from high levels, then beyond doubt this has been a period of development for the country concerned. If one or two of these problems have been growing worse, especially if all three have, it would be strange to call the result ‘development’, even if per capita income had doubled”, Seers concluded.

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Premising on the conclusion of Seers, it is neither out of place nor over statement to conclude that Nigeria is far from development. If the nation is far from development, then, what is the root cause? Many causes can be adduced but chief and basic among them is LEADERSHIP.

Bad or ineffective leadership, including political and business leaders who run the nation’s economy, has been identified as the treat to sincere development in Nigeria and liberation of the Nigerian majority from poverty, hunger, homelessness and discomfort in its various manifestations. It is germane, not to deceive ourselves, to state that the type , the quality of person (s) put at the helm of affairs will determine the extent of progress recorded in the areas of socio – political, economic and human development, peace and tranquility that pervade a society.

With all these infuriating challenges, conspiracy of enslavement and pauperization by the imperialists in the corridors of power from the North to South, and West to East, when will that pledge and dream be fulfilled? May be at this juncture, Nigerian leaders should be reminded of the lines in the nation’s pledge which they have always forgotten.

“I pledge to Nigeria my country; to be faithful, loyal and honest

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To serve Nigeria with all my strength, to defend her unity….” Nigerian leaders , have you been faithful, loyal and honest with your fellow Nigerians? Have you been serving Nigerians with all your strength? Have you been defending the unity of your immediate constituencies, the country at large?

All these nagging questions require resolute answers

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National Issues

Ex-INEC Boss, Jega, to Speak at UI

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As part of the activities marking the 71st Foundation anniversary and Graduation ceremonies of the University of Ibadan (UI), the immediate past Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru  Jega will today engage the nation as he delivers the University’s Convocation lecture.

 

According to the information scooped from Mr Sunday Saanu’s verified facebook account on Thursday, the title of his lecture is “Towards Credible Electoral Process and Sustainable Political System in Nigeria: What Role for Universities?”

 

Saanu, who is the Media Assistant to the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Idowu Olayinka further added “the lecture comes up at 4 pm today, November 14, 2019 at the newly renovated Trenchard Hall of the University.
“All are cordially invited”.

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Emir of Kano, Sanusi betrays emotion, narrates how sick child died in mother’s arms over $5

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The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, on Thursday betrayed his emotions as he expressed  displeasure over  the alarming rate of inequalities in the country.

Sanusi, who shed tears noted that the inequalities in society have caused so much hardship with the poor paying the ultimate sacrifice.

The custodian of culture  made the submission as he gave an emotional address at a United Nations (UN) meeting to reach Sustainable Development Goals in Lagos.

The traditional ruler narrated an unfortunate situation where a mother could not save her sick child, despite being close to getting help.

Sanusi stressed at the event that on that fateful day, the woman had walked to the palace from a children’s hospital located just about 200 metres.

According to him, he heard a very loud scream and asked someone to check what happened while the person who came back with tears in his eyes.

The emir said the baby died in the mother’s arms while she was waiting for her turn to ask for money to buy the drug to save her child.

“And how much was this? It was less than five dollars,” an emotional Sanusi answered.

“This is what happens every day in this country. Children die because their parents cannot afford five dollars, that a mother will watch her child die because she does not have five dollars”, the Emir added.

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