Sir: The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) said through its president, Prof. Abiọdun Ogunyẹmi that Nigeria rulers are not committed to public universities and they are doing everything possible to promote private universities by running down the public ones. Or how else will you explain a situation where, for instance, the presidency of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) is destabilising the entire federal tertiary academic institutions with his so-called Integrated Payroll of Personnel Information System (IPPIS), imposed on the academic and non-teaching staffs, calculated to reduce the meager salaries of the work forces?
Less than three years as the President, GMB’s wife, Aisha was saying that the family would build a university to immortalise him. Of course Nigeria is hardly and rarely on the priority list of her (Nigeria’s) rulers, but self-aggrandizement. With particular reference to GMB, his priorities are clear: self-aggrandizement, as obvious in how he doubles himself as the self-appointed Petroleum Minister and is recovering looted funds without accounting for anything, yet sinking Nigeria in debts, ruined economy and swelling ocean of beggars.
Second on GMB’s priority list is the war against Boko Haram, and thirdly, of equal weight is nepotism, as evident in the protection of the Fulani herdsmen terrorists and his appointments. Aisha accentuated GMB’s priority of self-aggrandizement when she revealed the family secret plan to build a university to immortalise him.
Lagos is in the forefront of wealthy states in Nigeria, as the former capital of Nigeria that remains the commercial capital, given the seaports and things like that. How imaginable that Lagos State owes the workers in its only one university (Lagos State University – LASU)? I have always lamented that Lagos State’s beauty is artificial when common people in the state are shabbily treated, exploited and driven like beasts of burden and potable pipe borne water is lacking in too many areas? I commend LASU workers, academic and non-teaching, for not discouraging the government of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu from reopening schools, including universities, in the name of the phantom coronavirus (COVID-19) but rather waited for him at the LASU gate, proverbially so to say, to get their dues from him.
When workers union leaders do not sell-out, Nigeria rulers will have no option than to do the needful. When normal life is restored to universities, the administrators who squander money on everything but classrooms and equipment must be focused in their future expenditure.
• Prof. Ọlọ́jẹ̀ẹ́dé Oyeniran Abíọ́jẹ̀ wrote from University of Ilorin.