By Prof. Habu Muhammad
On ASUU Strike: I think the best thing to do is for one to take his mind away from the resumption of our universities and concentrate on a meaningful engagement to ward off redundancy and time-wasting.
I am sure the government is not committed to changing its position on the implementation of IPPIS and I support my union (ASUU) not to change its stands on the matter. I have no doubt that the Nigerian youths would not remain onlookers on the impasse between the government and our beloved union. They will soon be a game-changer on the matter.
I, therefore, call on our members to remain steadfast, resolute, and indivisible. We should keep praying. God knows the plight of each of us in this trying period of the stoppage of our salary. Hunger can kill, but it cannot easily kill those that are united in fighting a genuine cause.
The Nigerian state is the same historically. Its adherence to Neo-liberal policies makes it obligatory to sacrifice its citizens to the Bretton wood alligators for it to exist and consolidate its expanded process of primitive capitalist accumulation. It is sad to note that since 1992, the Nigerian state has always dodged the revitalization of the university system in the country.
Agreements are not respected unless they are entered between the government and the international community. Professors are paid less than what a class teacher in China or Malaysia is taking home monthly. Computers are beyond the reach of level coordinators while these facilities are readily accessible to every primary school pupil in Asian countries.
The most worrying thing of all is the fact that teaching at all levels of learning is regarded by the government as the worst job to venture into. The children of those that matter most are abroad, some are even sponsored by the very Tetfund, yes I mean TETFUND, that ASUU struggle engendered. The haves and haves not in the Nigerian university system have already been created in our midst by the greedy university administrators. Our humility is taken for granted.
For our Christian brothers and sisters, they may have to manage Christmas without salary come December 2020. Their pain is ours and vice versa, but theirs is now made double. They have to battle for settling school fees for their children and also cater for the needs of celebrating Christmas with their sweat, as Muslims did during the Eid Fitr and Eid Adha, respectively. This is merciless.
Many scholars of my generation have less than 15 years to retire but are yet to unravel how life will look like without a guarantee of collecting their pension. The sharks called pension administrators to have their mouths wide open ready to swallow their skinny bodies. Their annual income is less than what a messenger gets elsewhere in the country. I really salute us for our humility, perseverance, and commitment to pursuing our demands.
Do not be scared or feel disgusted if the gullible Nigerians say you are selfish. Please tell them that you cannot even buy “fish” for the nutrition of your family even against the backdrop of the CORONA pandemic, talkless of “selling it”😛.
Let us be frank: Can you go back to the farm or engage in fishing for a living in a country where fingerlings are sold twice the amount of a 10 kilogram of fish, or go into farming where a bag of fertilizer is competing with the price of some foodstuffs?
If farming is a lucrative business for lecturers I am sure space would have been occupied by professionals in the business of government. I wonder why they always say we are selfish for demanding higher pay.
Tell them that #EndSARS protests have exposed much more embarrassingly the selfish leaders of today and will do more than that before and after 2023.
Habu Mohammed, Ph.D. writes from the Department of Political Science, Bayero University, Kano.
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