Nwajiuba: Ghost of ASUU Should Hunt Every Administration

James Emejo in Abuja

Presidential Aspirant and former Minister of State for Education, Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba, yesterday admitted that the present administration had failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians concerning the tertiary education system, where the universities had been on strike for several months without a resolution.

He, however, insisted that past governments should also share in the blame as the crisis rocking the university system didn’t start with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Speaking when he appeared on ARISE News Channel, the sister  broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, Nwajiuba refused to take full responsibility for the failure in the education system when he was asked if the ghost of ASUU won’t hurt his presidential ambition.

He said though the union’s demands are legitimate, implementation had often been a challenge because of the funding and the manpower constraints.

He added that financial, human resource and managerial constraints all come to play at the point of implementation of agreement.

He said: “Again, ASUU needs to be put in context. ASUU is not a creation of this government. ASUU has been around since 1982. ASUU has made a lot of gains for the Nigerian educational sector

“However, what ASUU has been asking for is consistently true and good – we need to make sure university education is available for everybody and qualitative.

“What all of that requires is some synergy across the board: the funding, the manpower. Financial and human resource constraints, managerial constraints all come to play when you want to implement. The ministry of education has no disagreement with ASUU on all the things they have requested. I am a product of the entire public education system…”

He added that he recently offered his apology to Nigerian parents because “we have not achieved all what we supposed to have achieved”.

 However, he said it is the right time for the party to introduce a new generation of progressives who would fix the country’s challenges.

Speaking on his chances of becoming president, the former minister  said, “At 55, I probably will represent a bridge between those who are about to leave the stage and those who are coming on stage.

“In the last 30 years I have ran for all the political parties. I am presently the only person in the field who is a member of the judiciary, a member of the executive arm and a member of the legislature. There’s nobody with this kind of credentials.

“There is nobody with the kind of experience – 30 years in politics, in business in everything and we’ve had an opportunity to midwife a new generation way of thinking and I think Nigerians going forward deserves to build upon the solid foundations of infrastructure and good road network and all of that.”

Specifically, he said he was designing a programme that would allow universities earn money from a trusteeship rather than from a council, pointing out that “We are losing money for not making universities financially independent”.

Among other things, he also said he planned to address current security challenges by getting citizens to build a national cohesion “by giving them a sense of participation in governance.”

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