Thank you for the 4 months "presidential mercy", but keep your "mercy"

The trending news for the past 12 hours was that Tinubu has extended his "mercy" to ASUU members by approving the payment of 4 of the 8 months withheld salaries of the academics. It is seen as a "mercy" to cushion the super-economic hardship they have imposed on the academics. There were congratulatory messages to ASUU members. This comes not without jokes from some Nigerians. They said our wives should watch out that some cash is about to hit our pocket. The supposed gesture from the president is not without a condition. The condition is for the union never to dare anything called strike again else the hunger they will be subjected to will be worse.

How do you expect a country with this mindset to make progress. Instead of addressing the issues that cause the strike actions, the Nigerian government is trying hard to stop strike through crude and inhumane ways. There is no sign so far that indicates that the government has a plan for the education system. This is also a warning to Nigerian workers and labour unions not to try anything called strike again except they want to be straved. After all, they are aware that the tensile strength of other Nigerian workers is much lower than that of ASUU members. 

Unfortunately, nothing have changed and no sign of that. The section of people that felt that a Yoruba man in power will treat education system better are possibly having a rethink. He has no plan. No effort so far to reposition the education sector and the universities. It is business as usual. It is still as Buhari left it or getting worse. There is no talk about the agreement that the FG negotiating team reached with ASUU. I read this morning that Tinubu has approved the establishment of 7 new universities. That is their idea of the solution to the finding crisis in public universities.

The members of the political class are just using university to catch a cruise. The TETFund ES that went abroad to say it is embarrassing that a professor in Nigerian university is earning less than 1,000 USD is still the ES. One politician will stand up and open his mouth with the statement "a Professor should not earn less than 1 million naira" to get a clap from his audience. They are just catching cruise.

Meanwhile, as they are struggling hard to stop strike, all that our public universities have got from the government for that last 30 years were through ASUU strike. All other approaches deployed before the strike did not produce any result. A government that do not give out anything to the people willingly except it is forced through threat or strike want to eradicate strike. The pathway to slavery.

Will ASUU members accept the 4 months withheld salaries and take that path of Nigerian refinery workers as advised by a member of the political class? Should we accept this show of "mercy" from Tinubu, forget the remaining 4 months salaries, learn our lessons from fighting for the survival of the public institution, erase the idea of strike from our mind, pretend that all is well with our universities, leave our public universities to the fate of our refineries, and rely on private universities the way we rely on imported fuel? Should we leave the public universities to go the way of public primary and secondary schools?

As for me, Tinubu should pay the 8 months withheld salaries unconditionally or keep his 4 months "mercy".


Prof. Abdelghaffar Amoka Abdelmalik, PhD.
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Copyright © Amoka 2023


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