The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday took on the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba over his comment that striking lecturers should consider farming as an alternative profession, describing his position as a reflection of his shallow understanding of the academic profession.
Nwajiuba, while participating on a television program had suggested farming to the lecturers, contending that they cannot dictate how they should be paid to their employers.
However, in his reaction to Nwajiuba’s comment, the chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, Professor Ayo Akinwole held that the Minister of State had “displayed his naivety on educational matters.”
He noted that dearth of farmers in the country is vivid a reflection of the failure of the government he is part of to make farming secured for legitimate farmers, just as asked Nwajiuba to resign his appointment and take to farming as a worthy national service.
Akinwole maintained that ASUU remains resolute not to pursue only welfare of her members while downplaying the infrastructure collapse and underfunding of public universities but resolve to continue to fight parasites like Nwajiuba who preside over a Ministry where no Nigerian University is in the top one hundred in the world.
He further argued that if the Muhammadu Buhari government prioritise education, he would not have consistently cut down budgetary allocation and funding to education since assumption of office.
Akinwole lamented that public varsity lecturers are owed earned academic allowances from 2013 to date challenging the Minister of State for Education to let the public know if he being owed allowances and how much since he assumed office.
According to him, available statistics indicates that salaries of university lecturers’ are below what academics earn in polytechnics and colleges of education.
Scientists, experts in agriculture faculties continue to conduct research mainly with external funding or personal monies. But the Nigerian government who failed to protect farmers and exposed Nigerians to excruciating poverty is not making use of research findings. If the Minister of State for Education is interested in farming, he should resign his appointment and stop displaying his cluelessness of the problems in the education sector.”
“We are on a just fight to ensure that those in public offices become responsive and responsible to the masses they swore to serve. They must fund public education. We have been on the same salary since 2009. That is no longer sustainable. The universities are being run with personal sweats of lecturers while politicians siphon monies for personal aggrandisement. We cannot accept IPPIS that is against the laws of the land and which fails to recognise the uniqueness of the academic profession and culture. We have brought an alternative using our members’ money. People like this Minister of State mirrors the disdain of ruling class for the workers and people of the country,” Akinwole remarked.
Source: NIGERIAN TRIBUNE