Time is fast running out for striking ASUU lecturers

Kingsley Omose| For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; 1 Corinthians 3:19

Sit down and consider for a minute the value in monetary terms of all the certificates, diplomas and degrees accumulated by the striking university lecturers over the decades.

Then consider the value of all these certificates, diplomas and degrees of these striking lecturers in academic and application terms to providing solutions to humanity’s challenges.

Both in monetary and in human wisdom terms the aggregated values of these striking university lecturers will be running into trillions of United State Dollars, not even the Nigerian Naira.

But here they are no different from striking workers, agitating for better pay and more funds to run public universities, that other labour unions that should be led by ASUU are now the ones rallying to their aid.

Insanity it is said is doing the same thing the same way all the time and expecting a different result, and while I am not calling the striking lecturers insane, their actions are clearly insane.

How many agreements has ASUU onbehalf of public university lecturers, signed with the Federal Government over the decades, one, two, three, four, five, and how many has the government fully honoured?

And how has ASUU responded each time the government proved incapable of honouring these collective agreements, you guessed right, by going on strike and disrupting education of students.

Playing out in full public view is a war between the insane actions of governments that sign agreements to be honoured in the breach, and the insane actions of lecturers who strike to enforce these useless agreements.

Yes, you read me right, these agreements the government signs from time to time. with ASUU are useless because they are unenforceable and mere kicking of the can down the road.

So if two insane people were fighting publicly, the expectation is that the one with a lesser degree of insanity should exercise better discretion and realise that this fight is pointless.

So, in this fight between politicians who get into government knowing they are going to serve their own interests, and lecturers who are supposed to be well educated, who gets to exercise restraint?

The bane of Nigeria has been the expectation and entitlement mentality that characterises the warehousing of oil and gas revenues in Abuja and for those who can come and fight to collect their share.

So even university lecturers with all their education and despite being in ivory towers are not so different from FG, States, LGs, MDAs, labour unions, militants, bandits, and kidnappers looking to collect their own share.

In saner climes, universities are solution providers, addressing the needs of the societies in which they operate, whether individuals, businesses, government and its various institutions.

So, bad as the current state of university education is, the ongoing impasse between FG and ASUU is actually an Environment of Opportunity for both parties and other stakeholders, especially parents and students.

Sharp conflicts always provide pivot points for the design of new human action, meaning the opportunity exists for the design of a new and better education solution, especially at university level.

Notice I said solution not system because each university has its own name, governance and administrative structure, and should of necessity be having a distinct identity.

And this discussion of what this new and better solution in education should be, must be led by the same university lecturers starting with a self reflection and inner cleansing process to Refocus.

That refocusing is in the light of the fact that universities across the world are fast losing their relevance to a younger generation that is embracing the use of technology.

Time is running out for the striking university lecturers because even if they eventually get a government stupid enough to meet their unrealistic expectations there may be no students to lecture in the future.

Kingsley Omose, a public policy commentator contributed this article from Lagos.

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