Try not to become a man of success, but rather strive to become a man of value. When Prof. Dora Akunyili, former minister of information, announced in November/December 2010 that the Federal Government has stomached nine (9) new federal universities to be sited in Bayelsa, Jigawa, Kastina, Ebonyi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Gombe, Taraba, and Ekiti states, many Nigerians especially those from the affected states couldn’t but hail his Solomonic wisdom.
In 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan after his victory over his presidential opponent Buhari said; “I believe in the youths and that they have potentials that must be harnessed by government. So we would surely work with them.” I wonder how a president can successfully and efficiently harness the potential energies of the youths while they twiddle their thumbs at home and watch their talents rot. Victory they say intoxicates. I would have been more surprised if the president had not issued these political mantras to magnify the youth hopes for giving him his landslide victory. Two years after, our magnified hopes is being rewarded with a four months old government employed strike where the youths cool their heels at home. He went further to give a quintessential of Yakubu Gowon, who became the country’s head of state at the age of 32 and Diette Spiff who at the age of 29 became the military governor of Rivers State. The Federal Government is too intelligent enough to be taught that Yakubu Gowon and Diette Spiff never attained these feats by warming the benches at home.
An agreement entered into by the Federal Government and the Academic Students Union of Universities (ASUU) in 2009 has been greeted with panoply of strikes four years after the government’s refusal to implement the Memorandum Of Understanding in totality. It was reported that about 53 letters were sent to the authorities responsible in consideration of the plights of the educational system, before they embarked on an indefinite strike. The callous response by the Federal Government to the ongoing strike has also necessitated other bodies like the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) to threaten joining the industrial action in solidarity with ASUU’s demand. Let us be very sensitive enough in apportioning blame. ASUU is just a pressure group, and in years to come, nobody will blame them for their continuous industrial actions, they will rather reproach their elected representatives whom they pay their tax to. It is not a matter of new innovations but using ones new innovations in tweaking moribund ones. If the government cannot renovate the existing universities, how do they intend to manage the new ones? I see no future and rhythm in the supposed nine universities to be sited in the aforementioned states. Since the agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU was entered into in 2009 and later consolidated in 2011 by a Memorandum Of Understanding, the monies earmarked in building the supposed universities should rather be wisely channeled in upgrading our educational debris, for a nation that cannot take care of the many who are poor cannot take care of the few who are rich.
In one of my articles, the POLITICAL GAMBITS, I questioned Newton’s third law of motion due to its continual defiance by politicians in our political landscape. When politicians make a promise and defy it, one cannot but call them liars. When they continually defy the same promise year in year out, some Nigerians prefer to call them “Washi Mongers” but I salivate in calling them the big fat liars. A liar will never be believed, even when he speaks the truth. The Federal Government have partially amortized ASUU with N 40 billion in respect of their personal allowance, and they are literally begging them to return to the classrooms, while negotiation continues. ASUU are clamoring for about N 90 billion but only N 40 billion has been paid them. I understand that Nigeria’s health sector loses about N 125 billion annually to foreign medical check ups by our leaders. I also know that our legislators are one of the highest paid law makers in the world. I am crashing at this instance to tell you that president Goodluck Jonathan has a 10 aircraft presidential Air fleet that is larger than the fleets of three domestic Airline combined and maintained annually at an estimated cost of N 9.08 billion and yet the government says there is no money to pay ASUU. I think our plastic leaders are only bent on telling us white lies today and black ones tomorrow. Nigeria’s debt rate stands at about N 9 trillion and I see nothing bad in cutting down by 40% or more from the salaries of our legislators and also sell about 9 of the presidential aircrafts so as to pay up the debt owned ASUU and other national and foreign debts rather than shouting there is no money.
In 2011, president Goodluck Jonathan advising the Governors Forum as to what their priorities should be after their oath of office said that: We must not set a precedent that will haunt us when we leave office…” it grieves me to say that some students haven taken the line of least resistance have profited from the Federal Government Employment Strike (FGES) by involving in prostitution, arm robbery, kidnapping, youth restiveness and other vices. Like his contradictory advice, the spirits of those killed and even arrested in the process will continue to haunt him in and out of office.
To be of use in the world is the only way to happiness. For the Nigerian students, let us not wait for the Federal Government who keep telling us volley of fat lies to determine our destinies, rather let us turn our scars into stars by involving and engaging our minds and hands in meaningful ventures. Abraham Lincoln as at the age of 8 had started reading encyclopedias and he eventually taught himself law. Today he is Americas most celebrated president. Let us together as youths remember that April showers bring May flowers.
Written by Davidson Obabueki