Friday, July 15, 2022

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Enough of the Self-Sacrificing Heroism of Academics (ASUU) in Nigeria

How to deconstruct / salvage some meaning from this kind of proposed action that's aimed at resolving the impasse ?: 

"8). One way out of this situation is both to sustain the strike action until June 2023 AND abstain from taking part in any NUC and TETFUND activities. That way, we salvage our whittled professional pride and begin to rise above our usual petty greed and acceptance of petty allowances and payments from MDAs."

Cornelius Ignoramus is curious and would like to know how  merely sustaining the strike action until June 23 ( or beyond ) and "abstaining" from taking part in any NUC and TETFUND activities  would move the hard-hearted and frozen, indifferent  minds of the Naija authorities, or  "salvage" what remains of  the "whittled professional pride " of  the heroic self-sacrificing academics of the Naija nation? 

 About any proposed strike action that would go on ad infinitum or only until June, 2023, na who go suffer? The Students of course. They would needlessly continue to be cut off from any educational future as they continue under the uncompassionate system and the indifference of those in authority over the whole rotten system. 

If it's the best results that are intended, then a more effective and purposeful way of bringing about the much desired  results would be  to organise a prolonged, massive, nationwide demonstration of both students and staff across the Federation - something like the mass action we saw recently in Sri Lanka, to bring this more than urgent matter to the attention of Mr. President and those vying to be Nigeria's next Mr. President

Assuming that it does not put him in a spot, at this very sensitive electioneering epoch,  it should be worthwhile to consider what e.g. Professor Mobolaji Aluko has to say about today's ASUU strikes and those that have occurred in the past…

On Friday, 15 July 2022 at 06:01:48 UTC+2 okeyiheduru wrote:

Enough of the Self-Sacrificing Heroism of Academics in Nigeria


Jul 15, 2022

By Ibrahim Bello-Kano

I think it's time for academics in Nigeria to begin to rethink their role in the so-called Nigerian University System. Here are a few reasons for that contention.

(1). For years, our colleagues have accepted to do accreditation and resource verification duties for the National Universities Commission, (NUC) on a pittance payment, which, in addition, is never paid on time. Most of our colleagues here lack a deep sense of professional pride and are, thus, eager and willing to work for a pittance (even at the cost of their personal safety).

(2). Some of us think that the University System is patently ours, and does belongs to us, and should, therefore, work for it despite the penury. Perhaps that's because we have come to be dependent on the system for our economic survival. Most lecturers live in university-provided quarters. This unsavoury parasitism has pervaded our professional life, even at the most UNconsious level.

(3). We need a fundamental rethink of large parts of our professional life such as the fanatical attachment to the basic functions of the university lecturer. For example, I've offended many colleagues for my lukewarm attitude towards, for example, attendance at, say, Senate and Congregation meetings. Many of our colleagues confuse the university workplace with their mother or first born!

(4). The old fixation with the revitalization of the system via funds from the government should go. For years, we confused the term "condition of service" with classroom furniture and ceiling fans, carpet in the HOD'S office or such cheap, ridiculous "furnishings" here and there. Now is the time to worry much more about our personal emoluments than fresh paint on walls and functioning light fittings in our offices or the electrics in the classroom.

(5). Notice that most parents of our students habitually keep aloof about our struggles and yet ASUU has been opposed to proposals to get students to pay tuition and other charges (cost sharing). We're, by this stance, keeping ourselves in a quagmire hole: we can't get the government to raise our salaries and yet we can't accept that students pay more for their studies. What a performative contradictions on our part!

(6). We ourselves are probably our own worst enemy: we police the system rigorously even against our own enlightened self-interest. Here's an example from my home university. Some selected scholars were asked by the General Studies unit to write book chapters for core GST courses. I submitted a draft on Philosophy and Logic and others did so on Use of English. The University Senate ruled against publishing the collection for students to buy the books. Yet, previous editions of the same books are being photocopied by students at the commercial shops in the university. The moral is that a photocopy shop has more right to make money than the contributors to a book meant to teach a core course! I suggested that the university authorities should publish the books and then donate them to the students. That, too, was rebuffed by our Senate-going colleagues, the supposed policemen of the system.

(7). Most of us university people are petty-minded and malicious when it comes to our enlightened self-interest. An example: colleagues who left the system for some time to take up high-paying jobs in the government routinely return to be the preferred candidates for appointment as VC at the expense of candidates who had given their youth and professional years to the university. Why is that? That must indicate a deep resentment against those poor colleagues who had devoted time and energy to sustaining the basics of the system. I think we hate ourselves so much that our colleagues in influential positions find it relatively easy to turn against us and the university system itself in the most dyspectic manner. Lecturers are, without a doubt, now glorified 'almajiris'. We should thus blame both the government, especially the Buhari Administration, and ourselves.

(8). One way out of this situation is both to sustain the strike action until June 2023 AND abstain from taking part in any NUC and TETFUND activities. That way, we salvage our whittled professional pride and begin to rise above our usual petty greed and acceptance of petty allowances and payments from MDAs.

The author is a Professor of Literary Theory at the Department of English, Bayero University, Kano, (BUK)

Okey C. Iheduru

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