Lawmakers Eulogize Teachers, Call on ASUU to End Strike
Udora Orizu in Abuja
A slight drama played out on the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday, following a motion by a member, Hon. Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau), to honour teachers all over the country.
Bagos, who had at plenary raised a point of order on personal explanation, appealed to his colleagues to suspend the House relevant rules and dedicate a few minutes to eulogize teachers as October 5 is World’s Teachers Day.
The Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), agreed that it was a good idea, while the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta), seconded the motion.
Thereafter, the floor was yielded to Bagos to move the motion. The lawmaker while noting the recent efforts of the parliament to resolve the ongoing Academic Staff Union and Universities (ASUU) strike, said teachers should be recognized and given standing ovation.
“Despite the ongoing ASUU strike. The house has recognized the importance of teachers and has intervened in the crisis. Knowing their importance, it will be an honour to recognize the teachers and give them a standing ovation,” Bagos said.
Commenting, the House Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (APC, Kano), was of the view that a matter of this magnitude and importance shouldn’t come as personal explanation but as a motion of urgent national importance.
But, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), in his view, while noting that the House has done a lot for the betterment of the lives of teachers, however said many people would like to use this opportunity to get attention, adding that, that’s what Bagos, the sponsor, was trying to do.
Reacting, the Minority Leader, Elumelu, faulted the Deputy Speaker’s assertion, describing it as unparliamentary.
Elumelu added that teachers are very important to the society and there’s nothing political or mischievous about Bagos’ idea to honour them.
He said: “What Bagos tried to bring on board, is what we did last year when we gave honours. It has nothing to do with Bagos seeking political relevance. For me, there’s nothing mischievous with Bagos’ move, nothing political. One way or another we went through them (the teachers). Bagos is talking about teachers in Nigeria, if Wase is insinuating that this is political for Bagos to win election then it’s not parliamentary.”
Another lawmaker, Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye (APC, Lagos), corroborated Elumelu’s comment, saying the motion shouldn’t be debated, wondering maybe if there was something the Deputy Speaker wished to say that he had not said.
His words: “Teachers must be provided with a conducive environment; they should enjoy salary increase. This motion should not be debated, teachers should be honoured. Except maybe the Deputy Speaker has something he’s not telling us.”
Reacting, the Deputy Speaker, Wase said: “Let us not begin to input what’s not the motive, the motive is to honour teachers. I come from a teaching background and the parliament has done a lot for their betterment.”
At this point, the Speaker, Gbajabiamila, interjected and ruled in favour of Doguwa’s suggestion that it should come as an urgent motion given the importance.
Gbajabiamila said: “I allowed Bagos to bring it as a personal explanation because it’s not controversial, it’s important and not debated.”
Speaking first, the Chief Whip, Hon. Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno), while opining that the mover (Bagos) should bring the idea as a motion if he was so passionate about it, however said that teachers in the country have contributed immensely to the growth of the nation and should be honoured.
He called for the upward review of teachers’ salaries, urging the government to bring to an end ASUU’s strike.
Also, the House spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia), while reminiscing on his school days with his favourite teachers, recalled that despite the harsh conditions, the teachers selflessly impacted knowledge on them to become great minds they are today.
On her part, the Chairman, Electoral Matters, Hon. Aisha Dukku (APC, Gombe), said without teachers, they won’t be where they are today, suggesting that the lawmakers should go back to their constituents to give back to the schools in a show of appreciation.
Another member, Hon. Kingsley Uju (APC, Imo), while lauding teachers nationwide, suggested that enough percentage should be voted for the education sector in the 2023 budget.
Other lawmakers also took turns to praise all the teachers and equally called for an upward review of their salaries.
Thereafter, the Speaker, Gbajabiamila, called for a minute silence for deceased teachers and as well as a resounding applause and thank you for all teachers.