Analysis & Opinion: Adamu Must Go! Ngige Must Go!!

By Sunny Awhefeada

That Nigeria has regressed, some say irretrievably, since 2015 is not in doubt. Citizens are daily confronted and assailed by the raw and harsh realities of monumental misrule and the gross incompetence that has become the defining feature of the ruling elite. The citizens’ plights are hourly reinforced and made worse by indices of failure of governance and state capture which add up to grave disillusionment. Those who forced themselves on the hapless masses, beginning from 1999 till date have refused to live up to the ideals of statesmanship which is the core desideratum for state development irrespective of time and clime. From Obasanjo to Buhari electoral victory has always been something to be stolen and brazenly so. When a thief invades your abode he or she operates with reckless abandon without the least consideration for decorum or how the house owner feels. The thief invades, plunders and bequeaths disruption as he exits. Obasanjo came with his band of state bandits, so did Jonathan and now it is Buhari’s turn. The citizens are besieged by bad leadership at all levels. Nigerian leadership is akin to the phenomenon of an army of occupation. That is why Nigeria is perpetually in dire straits.

The sad reality of our situation is that those who criticize in view of seeking electoral advantage turn out to be worse than those they supplanted in the power loop. The Buhari gang was quite vociferous and vitriolic in criticizing first the government of Olusegun Obasanjo and later that of Goodluck Jonathan, prior to 2015. Today, nearly seven years in the saddle and running and ruining the affairs of Nigeria, the Buhari crew scores abysmally low in all facets of governance. The three indices on which the Buhari propaganda machine pinned Jonathan’s failure were the economy, security and corruption. In truth Jonathan, failed woefully on the three items. Buhari’s spin doctors went to town and ascribed Jonathan’s failure to his cluelessness. Lai Mohammed and Bola Ahmed Tinubu won the prize for being Jonathan’s arch-tormentors. Today, the many foibles of Jonathan look like great achievements when compared to Buhari’s monumental failure.

The ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would not have taken place, but for the gross incompetence and abysmal lack of patriotism of the ruling cabal. The issues which provoked the strike are already in the public domain and well known. The renegotiated 2009 ASUU/FG agreement was due for a review in 2012. ASUU reminded government again and again, but the latter took to ostrich politics. ASUU embarked on a series of strikes until the Federal Government crawled to the negotiation table, engaged ASUU and both parties reached an agreement in December 2020. As usual government went to sleep. The two ministers who should run the show and ensure industrial harmony in our universities, Chris Ngige (Labour) and Adamu Adamu (Education) forgot that they had an agreement with ASUU with timelines for implementation. The issues at stake are central to not only the survival of education in Nigeria, but core to the stability of the country in all ramifications. ASUU represents a constituency whose goal is the continuing discovery and rediscovery of the essence of nationhood. No nation can grow or aspire to do so with a vanquished education system.

In the wake of the present strike, Ngige and Adamu have demonstrated acute patriotism deficiency in their inability to resolve the issues at stake. Perhaps both men are ill-equipped mentally and morally to resolve the crises. Ngige literally betrayed his inability to handle the strike in utterance after utterance especially in the interview he granted Channels television a few days into the strike. Adamu for want of what to do fumed and walked out on Nigerian students. He had nothing to offer so he walked away. As usual, government has set up a new negotiation team to negotiate an agreement that was negotiated as recently as December 2020. This is simply renegotiating a renegotiated agreement! It is absurd and it is only in Nigeria that this kind of absurdity sees the light of day!
Government is on its hobby-horse of “no money”. This is a lie. Or maybe there is no money because too much has been stolen and still being stolen. The Nigerian people, among them students and their families, the lecturers and their families, are the victims of Ngige and Adamu’s vicarious incompetence.

Both of them must go as they have become the problems of the sector. Sometime in 2009, the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua decided to personally intervene in the ASUU strike of that year. He, together with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Alhaji Ahmed Yayale, was shocked with the extent of the complicity of the then Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu and a Vice Chancellor of one of the universities. An angry President Yar’ Adua not only berated Egwu and the complicit Vice Chancellor, but directed the SGF to take charge of proceedings towards resolving the crises. Pronto, the strike ended and the universities experienced a new lease of life.

The present strike should be seen for what it is as a struggle not only for the welfare of lecturers, but for the soul of the university system and Nigeria. It is unbelievable that no university professor earns up to half a million naira in Nigeria! To those who take ASUU to task over what they consider unending strikes and the inability of the university dons to proffer alternatives to strikes, they must be told that, but for the struggles of ASUU there would have been no semblance of university education in Nigeria. It should also be added that the only language governments understand in Nigeria is that of strike. That is what brings them to the negotiation table.

The ongoing ASUU strike should be read as a patriotic duty to reclaim Nigeria. Every sector of our nation is in dire straits and education remains the most important of them all. ASUU is fighting to retrieve Nigeria from the cliff and players in other sectors should do the same. Nigeria is failing that is why many of your youths are stranded in Ukraine and elsewhere. But we must not let it fail. The way to go is for the people to clamour for a new season or credo of Nigerianism which will prohibit political office holders from sending their children to private schools in Nigeria or to schools abroad. Such a credo should also prohibit them from patronizing private hospitals or seeking health care abroad. The people should clamour for a ban on the use of electricity generators by political office holders. They must also not travel by air. Let the people do this and in two or three years Nigeria will be fixed. What is needed is the will and resilience. Those who cannot subscribe to the creed should quit! Nigige and Adamu belong to the parasitic class and both of them must go! They lack what it takes to occupy their present offices. Let Ngige retreat to Alor to be a curator of masquerade dancers and Adamu can go to Azare and be patron to sugar cane or kola nuts sellers. Nigeria does not need these guys in the corridors of power right now.

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