The Academic Staff Union of Universities, on Tuesday, reacted to the comments made by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), regarding the ongoing strike action by the union.
The PUNCH reports that Buhari had, on Monday, in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, told the striking lecturers to consider the future generation and resume back to work.
“We hope that ASUU will sympathise with the people on the prolonged strike. Truly, enough is enough for keeping students at home. Don’t hurt the next generation for goodness sake,” Buhari was quoted as saying.
But the chairperson of ASUU, Federal University of Minna, Dr. Gbolahan Bolarin, accused the president of playing psychological games by involving the future generation in his statement.
According to the ASUU chairperson in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja, he noted that the president who had been vocal about the struggles of ASUU before he became president, failed to put his knowledge of the struggles of the university lecturers into use.
“The media space was inundated with a statement credited to President Buhari regarding ASUU’s struggle yesternight, and with spill over till this morning. Hence, the need to give this brief response so that Nigerians would know if ‘Enough is actually enough’.
“Firstly, Mr President was very vocal about the ASUU struggle some years back before becoming the President and one would have expected him to know about the struggle more than some people but unfortunately, his statement yesterday suggested otherwise. I won’t blame the president that much, I can only say that his handlers are his enemies because if the president was properly briefed about the matter, he wouldn’t have made that statement.“Again, the president said enough is enough, what is actually enough? Was he talking about the attitude of his appointees to direct order, as evident in the directive he gave on February 1, 2022, and was not executed for over two months? Was he tired of going through reports on assignments given to different agencies? These are more of his faults and not that of the Union.
“The president was trying so hard to play a psychological game by bringing students (next generation) into the statement forgetting that the lecturers like any other common Nigerian have their kids and wards in public universities but his kids are/were not/never in public universities.
“Unfortunately, the government after six months of keeping the students at home due to its poor handling of the strike issues is just realising that they are parents when their children do not even know what the gates of public universities in the country look like. There is no need to paint ASUU’s struggle in such coloration because we all know that the political class hardly cares about the rest of us because they only believe the students are good for political thuggery.
“I was so happy when the president mentioned that, we should be inclined toward technology, the question again that we need to ask is this; do we have the facilities to make us an innovative nation through our universities? Is the upgrade of facilities in our universities to make us competitive not part of ASUU’s demands? Then, I think enough is enough of daydreaming.
Speaking further in the statement, the ASUU chairperson cautioned the presidential spokesperson and other government officials against making issues of ASUU political.
“Unfortunately, some aides to the president think that academic staff can only think maximumly at their own level of reasoning. The Media Aide to the President, Mr. Garba Shehu, was on Channels TV yesterday saying that “why is ASUU holding President Buhari to ransom?” This is as if the fight is personal. He should go back in time and tell us if President Buhari was in power in the 90s, 2009 (the strike that led to the famous agreement), 2013 (the six-month strike), etc.
“Government agents should stop playing politics with everything, especially when lives are involved. He was also saying that ASUU should bend, the question is this, which item on the demand has been resolved that can make any right-thinking person bend?
“I am very disappointed when I heard “they should go back to classes while we continue to negotiate with them,” do they think we are stupid or a bunch of idiots that can not process things properly? We have been on strike for close to six months and you have not been able to resolve just one of the issues and you want us to go back to classes so as to declare another strike in the next three months?
“Haba, Mr. President, enough of this talk, it is time for action that will lead to permanent resolution of the issues quickly going by what you were saying before 2015 and history will be kind to you that the president that brought enough to ASUU strike was you.