Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and presidential aspirant on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has appealed to both the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to end the on-going strike action and re-open our universities for our children to return to school.
In a statement issued on his behalf by the spokesperson of the Udom Emmanuel Presidential Council, Mr. Bola Bolawole, Emmanuel said the time had come for both the FG and ASUU to climb down from their high horse and avert a disaster that may strike the country’s educational system as a whole if the ASUU strike is not quickly called off and our universities re-opened for studies.
“The discussions are already going on in some foreign countries where our people, especially our youths, run for greener pastures, to withdraw their recognition of university certificates from Nigeria. God forbid that this should happen! The all-round effects on our people are better imagined than felt.
“According to data from the country’s apex Bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria’s Diaspora remittances inflow for the first nine months of 2021 rose to $14.2 billion, up 10 percent Year-on-Year from $12.9 billion in the corresponding period of 2020 and beating the World Bank quarter-on-quarter projections for the same period.
“This is second only to foreign exchange earned from the oil sector. Nothing must be done to adversely affect its growth in the short- and long-term. If university certificates from Nigeria are no longer recognised, how can our people flooding into countries abroad for further studies and job opportunities fulfil their dreams?
“How can the Nigerian Government benefit from the bounteous energies of the Nigerian people in Diaspora noted all over the world for their resilience, industry, and capacity to excel and hold their own against the world’s best?
“What will be the rationale for the continued maintenance and relevance of ASUU and its members if the students they claim to teach and train are seen and treated as half-baked by their counterparts in other parts of the world?
“Of what benefit and relevance, then, is the continued maintenance of universities whose certificates are treated as worthless by their counterparts in other parts of the world?”
Stating that unofficial reports put the population of Nigerians in the Diaspora at 15 million, Emmanuel said a very important safety valve releasing social tension would be closed with dire consequences if Nigerians, especially our youths seeking “better life” abroad, are unable to do so again.
“This, then, is my clarion call to both the FG and ASUU: Put on the thinking cap of statesmen and resolve this issue as quickly as possible in the interest of all. Where necessary, sacrifices must be made on all sides. And as much as is humanly possible, agreements freely entered into must be respected and implemented.
“The records of ASUU strike actions in recent years are worrisome; close to four years have been lost to strike actions, whereas an average semester is made up of between 3 and 4 months! Just imagine how many semesters and whole academic sessions the university system has lost to ASUU strikes alone, not to talk of time lost to strike actions by other workers in the university system and student demonstrations!
“Enough is now enough! All the key players or gladiators should understand that what is going on is self-immolation. We all must stop cutting our nose to spite our face. Saving the university system from imminent collapse is a task that must be done. It is the duty of each and every one of us; not Government’s alone; and not ASUU’s alone. Everyone must stand up to be counted.
“I have added my voice! Add yours! Heeding this clarion call is the first step in the right direction”, he added.