By Kunle Oyatomi
It is not funny that four months on, public tertiary educational institutions in the country have remained shut because of the action and inaction of ASUU and the Federal Government.
Neither of the sides to the stalemated talks can do without the other for a peaceful solution to occur. For one side to abandon talks and ask the other to climb down or go to hell is not the product of wisdom.
Both sides are claiming to be acting in the best interest of Nigerian children, but by stalling talksÂ is convincing enough; although it must be admitted that much more is expected from the federal government than it is giving as commitment.
The FG is responsible to the masses; perhaps that is why it got involved in funding education in the first instance. But not to feel deeply concerned enough when children of the masses are being deprived of education is culpable neglect. The issues are not as complex as some would make it out to be.
It is about funding, and creating the condusive environment for learning and educational development to take place. And primary responsibility for this rests with the government at the centre. State governmentsâ€™ responsibility in this regard is residual.
For the FG therefore to argue that it could not impose conditions on state governments is totally disingenius. If they shirkÂ responsibility for setting standards on remuneration, what moral authority should they claim to impose academic standards throughout the educational system in Nigeria?
I support the call for reason to prevail, to allow both sides return to the negotiating table. Those who are suffering the brunt of this stand off are children of the poor masses.
Those of the rich are enjoying themselves in private schools.
We donâ€™t want to believe that government allowed private universities to flourish because they have been ill-advised to curtail government spending onÂ education. But it is beginning to look like that, otherwise the crux of the stalmated talks is not beyond the FGâ€™s ability to manage.
That is what ASUU is insisting on. It should matter to the government that majority of Nigerian children are roaming the streets, while they should be in school. The fight between ASUU and the FG is not one you can win with guns, but with brains. And both side appear not to be making the most of their brains in this matter. By refusing to dialogue, we get the impression that they are tired of using their brains.
Enough of this stand off please. It is now or never to fix education in Nigeria, and both sides have equal responsibility to address the issues involved. However, the onus lies more with the federal government to be astutely proactive in this matter. The use and â€œshowâ€ of power against ASUU is not helpful in resolving the crisis.
Meeting ASUU only halfway in their demands is as good as doing too little too late in resolving the core issues that hasÂ destroyed and continues to destroy education in Nigeria.
Discord within parties useless
Again, 12 years into Nigeriaâ€™s fourth attempt at democracy. The exercise seems really threatened. And one of the roots causes of this threat is the inability of politicians to organise and run solid political parties. This failure is making the country slide into the dangers of one party dictatorship.
OfÂ particular interest to me is the mess in which APGA and PPA have thrown democratic prospects into disarray in the East. Internal discord and wranglings within those parties have deteriorated so badly, that they stand a tragic chance of losing their gains in the democratic process.
The painful side to this tragedy is that the politicians involved in both parties appear not to have learnt anything from their experiencesÂ in the last election where, due to similar serious discord within the PDP, they emerged winners with three out of six states in Igbo heartland. Now these parties have gotten themselves into the same messy disunity that led to the fall of PDP in their states.
This is a tragedy for the democratic process in Nigeria as much as it also is a sign of failure, due to ignorance and political incapacity or both, on the part of politicians to grasp the nitty gritty of party political engagement in a democracy.
The good news however is that there is still time for those two parties to pull their act together once again.
They have the goodwill of the people, but they cant have it much longer if they continue their â€œroforofoâ€ fight.
The less selfish they are about their purpose in politics, the better for the democratic process. And the faster they learn this, the better for them also.