Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday described the proposed plan by the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, to establish a private university to be named after her husband as a disaster.
The union also said the plan of the wife of the president confirmed why her husband has continued to reduce budgetary allocation to education since he assumed office in 2015.
The Chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan, Prof. Deji Omole, and former National Treasurer of the union, Prof. Ademola Aremu, said this while speaking with journalists in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Aisha, had while speaking at a Town Hall meeting in Yola, Adamawa State, announced her plan to establish a private university to be named after the president in partnership with some foreigners.
But the duo said the leadership of the country under President Buhari should immortalise itself by revitalising public funded education.
According to Omole, “When I heard about the proposed private university to be named after the president, I just looked at it as a joke taken too far. If we have a president in a country that has simply refused to fund public education, and all we get is that the first lady wants to establish a private university in collaboration with some foreigners, to me, I think it is a disaster for this country and for a sitting president.
“The implication is that Nigerians should know that this leadership does not believe in public funded education. Nigerians should support the struggle for the government to take education as a core investment upon which this country will be liberated. It is not the children of the rich that will solve the problems of Nigeria but the children of the poor, and the tool they need is quality education.”
Aremu, on his part, called on the wife of the president to influence policies of her husband to immortalise himself by revitalising public funded education.
He said: “I don’t think she is serious. We already have proliferation of universities and they are not being taken care of. Since they are policy makers, they will now formulate policies that would ground public universities for their interest to thrive. I thought we have actually left that era. I could remember that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo established Bells University and we condemned it. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar also established his own.”
If you have interest in anything private, I think it is proper to actually leave the public space for those who are eager to serve the masses.
“How many people can afford the private universities existing in the country? If you want to help education, then increase the capacity of the existing ones. When you hold a public office, don’t establish a private concern. She should wait until Buhari is completely out of office before thinking of bringing a private university in whatever name.”