The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has decried the apathy shown by the Federal Government to the university system amidst a myriad of issues bedeviling the nation’s polity.
Addressing journalists, Tuesday, in Calabar, Cross River State at the end of the National Executive Meeting, NEC of the Union, its President, Mr. Biodun Ogunyemi said that they were angry with the current position of the Federal Government on education because it had shown less concern to the growth of the system.
Ogunyemi said that the Federal Government was not interested in the growth and development of the education sector because from the budgetary allocation which was 11 percent in 2015 was now a little above seven percent in 2018.
He said, “Since the return to civil rule in 1999, the highest budgetary allocation to the education sector was in 2015, when government allocated 11.75 per cent to education.
However, in the 2018 budget, the allocation to the education sector fell to a scandalously low point of seven percent. This is also unacceptable.
“NEC reviewed the state of affairs in our country with special focus on the crisis in the education sector, the increasing despondency among the generality of the citizenry owing to the hazy political environment foisted on the people of Nigeria by politicians of the ruling class, the inclement economic atmosphere that has continued to produce joblessness, hampered productive activities and the development of productive capacities, the total disconnect between the government and the Nigerian people at every tier of our political structure.
“ASUU as a Union of patriotic intellectuals is compelled, once again, as in our established tradition, to call the attention of Nigerians to the multiple malaises that have constantly conspired and are still conspiring against our developmental aspiration as citizens in the Nigerian state.
“As a union in the education sector, we have the duty to the Nigerian people to assess and report on the state of our universities which is gravely disturbing. Education, which is the kernel of transformation in any society, is being treated with levity in Nigeria.
“The ruling class in Nigeria has constantly refused to pay due attention to the significant place of education in the improvement of the living standards of the people. Promising pronouncements by politicians about education notwithstanding, no state in Nigeria has an all-round internationally competitive system of education.
‘’Yet, Nigerians are widely acknowledged to be among the most intellectually endowed in the world, judged by their performance in all parts of the world. The Nigerian society is left to drift because of the neglect of the educational sector, especially the Nigerian University System (NUS),” the president said.
Speaking further, he said “The Chairman of the Government Re-negotiating Team, has constituted a stumbling block to the process of the re-negotiation. He has arrogantly exhibited “I-know-it-all” attitude and also conducted himself as a judge, instead of a negotiator.
“With unwarranted arrogance, he has disregarded the cardinal principles of collective bargaining, deliberately slowed the process and made mockery of the core tenets of industrial democracy. He has arrogated to himself the power to decide matters that should be collectively debated, analysed, and agreed upon by the two parties.”