Education: ASUU and Ngige’s Destructive Inferiority Complex

By Sunny Awhefeada

Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige is a very bitter man. If very had a superlative lexis, one would have gone for it in describing how really very bitter Ngige must be. Diminutive, dwarf even, he thinks to talk brashly would give him an advantage over what he lacks in physical presence. Facially unprepossessing, he thinks reckless talk and playing braggadocio would earn him applause.

Having suffered untold humiliation in the hands of the Uba brothers in Anambra State and shamefully thrown out of office as Governor of the same State, he did reckon that masochism and diarrhea of the mouth would amount to courage. He must have taken a good look at himself, done an evaluation of his past and opted for the flexing of muscles he does not have. A puny ego, regret over his failed political adventures, abysmal lack of emotional intelligence and the burning urge to do the job of a slave to please the Master made him giddy and worse off than a rookie inhaling Abbi weed for the first time. Giddy, he must have gone ahead to drink ogogoro using his nostrils and the end is the predicament in which he found himself. The man does deserve pity.

The foregoing provides a tentative reading of Ngige’s disposition to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). It is hoped that psychologists would find him a worthy subject in dissecting the danger posed to national development by puny ego and inferiority complex. One must state that by being an enemy of knowledge, Ngige is underserving of mention in critical discourse. It is only for the sake of Nigeria that his name would pop up as an example of infamy and disservice which future governments that mean well for Nigeria must avoid. Ngige has, since the beginning of the ongoing strike, subverted all strategies to end it in the interest of the nation.

Goaded by self-consuming bitterness, Ngige would always emerge from the dark recesses of his mind to misinform Nigerians and in the process unsettle whatever gains the negotiating team had recorded.

Yes, he is the Minister of Labour, but the issue at stake is within the purview of the Minister of Education. Ngige in his bid to ground the nation once and for all shoved aside the Education Minister and assumed the role of a sole arbitrator in a matter where he ordinarily should a supporting official.

In the months leading to the strike, ASUU had drawn the attention of the Federal Government to the many breaches the latter had committed that amounted to casus belli. The issues at stake, with the 2009 agreement being the core, are already well known to Nigerians. Instead of urging the government to heed ASUU’s overtures aimed at averting the strike, Ngige played Nero by pretending as if nothing was amiss.

Ngige waited till the strike commenced before pretending to act. Ngige, by his actions and utterances, cuts the image of an unstable mind tortured by a deep feeling of inferiority which manifests in bitterness and confusion. Hence he has had to jettison all attempts geared towards resolving the issues that led to the strike and ending it. Ngige rubbished the report of the Professor Munzali Jubril negotiating team. The 2009 agreement was renegotiated by that team. Having thrown that report into the trashcan, government inaugurated another committee chaired by the highly respected Professor Nimi Briggs. This committee was asked to renegotiate a renegotiated agreement!

Professor Nimi Briggs’ committee finished its work and submitted a report to government. Then the genie in Ngige popped up and again he disowned and tore the report to shreds and chose to blackmail ASUU. Ngige, the loose cannon, accused ASUU of fixing its own salaries and dictating to government. In an interview that went viral, Ngige exposed his diabolic agenda as he raged and raved and ended up saying that he could teach ASUU members! That was it, that feeling of inferiority complex that has generated in him an intractable animosity against ASUU. Ngige deliberately sabotaged the committee that the government, in which he is serving, commissioned to resolve the strike. At this point, all keen followers of the ongoing ASUU strike needed no further convincing that Ngige was the problem. He cuts the picture of a man suffering from acute patriotism deficiency syndrome (APDS) with a tendency to destroy the future of an entire generation of Nigerian youth.

It was therefore not surprising that a few days after that ill-fated interview, President Mohammadu Buhari ordered Ngige to hands off the negotiation and asked the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu to make sure the issues are resolved and the strike called off in two weeks. Ngige’s co-travellers in the Presidency have come out to say that the President didn’t tell him to back off.

They are birds of a feather trying to save the face of one of their own. Not a few Nigerians think that it was not enough to ask Ngige to back off. He ought to have been sacked. Adamu also deserved to be pilloried for his docility and inability to resolve the crisis early enough. This was the same Adamu who, in his days in the opposition, tutored the Peoples Democratic Party’s government of President Goodluck Jonathan on how to revamp the university system in Nigeria. Buhari also did the same.

The ongoing strike is a popular one despite Ngige’s attempt to make it look as if ASUU erred. Many other unions have declared solidarity with ASUU. The most recent being the ones by aviation sector workers and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that announced protests for July 26 and 27. Nigeria’s Squealar, Lai Mohammed has come out to tell NLC that the proposed protest was illegal.

The Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika has also muttered some inanities. ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, has maintained that the strike will be called off once government shows good faith by signing the renegotiated agreement. Now that Buhari has woken up and given his Minister two weeks to resolve the issues, it should be hoped that the spirit of ologbozighi in Ngige will not possess Adamu.

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