The Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman has equated the frequent strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to declaring support for the Boko Haram ideology which is against western education.
Lukman made the submission in a statement on Sunday in Abuja titled, “ASUU and Indeterminate Power Struggle – The Boko Haram Logic” where he condemned those supporting frequent ASUU strikes and those pitching them against the government.
He called for a better approach different from strike actions in resolving disagreements between the government and members of ASUU.
The PGF DG noted that the frequent strike actions are damaging the country’s educational sector and having negative effects on the students, declaring that the Boko Haram insurgents will be happy the schools are closed as they are already against western education.
The statement reads: “These are being said without any remorse or acknowledgment of the damage ASUU strikes have done to the Nigerian educational system. That we are even thinking that closure of universities and our schools can produce any form of victory with reference to any form of outcome demonstrates our nasty state of mind, which brings us closer to the Hobbesian reality that civilization would have long resolved.
“How can anyone with a child whose dream and aspiration should include being educated, celebrate in any form the closure of schools? What difference is such a logic from the Boko Haram objective of abolishing western education?
“It is very sad that it is common knowledge now that in the last twenty-one years, ASUU was on strike for a record period of more than four years. Worse still is the fact that we have people who claim to be public intellectuals that present such a reprehensible scorecard and by any standard a scandalous credential as achievement is sickening.
“At this rate, we may as well accept that Boko Haram terrorists are also public intellectuals. In any event, who is a public intellectual? Aren’t Boko Haram terrorists engaged in critical thinking, research and reflections? If their mission is to abolish western education, how farther away from that mission is the activity of any group that causes closure of our universities for nine months in one academic calendar?
Naija News recalls the most recent ASUU strike which commenced in March 2020 was only called off in December 2020 with the nation’s public universities unable to carry out academic activities within this period.
Speaking on this development, Lukman asked “If our universities are closed for nine months, what does that mean to the remainder of the education system? Assuming that secondary students are able to pass their exams, will they gain admission into universities? Where will the space come from when existing students have not graduated?”
He also urged the federal government to seek other alternatives in relating with ASUU as well as diversify the country’s economy so as to make funds available for the growth and development of not just the educational sector, but also all other sectors.
“With reference to funding, there are issues that are beyond ASUU and therefore any agreement with ASUU may likely be a source of dispute with other sections of the university community and educational sector, including students. Already, from the agreement with ASUU, this is implied given that part of the N40 billion disbursed for earned academic allowances is to be shared with non-academic staff.
After exhausting the N40 billion, what next? Should we assume that it will be the end of allowances in Nigerian public universities? Certainly not. If there are new earned academic allowances, how will the resources be generated?
“This is where we must get our government to urgently come up with a new framework of negotiating these issues outside the scope of labour relations. This may perhaps require that, as the governing party, APC would need to expedite the process of ‘diversifying the economy and expanding our tax base to increase non-oil revenues and prioritising public spending away from bureaucracy towards investments in infrastructure and improved frontline services’ as provided in the APC manifesto”, he stated.