By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN – VICE Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Olufemi Bamiro has expressed worry over the lackadaisical way the face-off between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities is being handled.
He said the way the strike lingers without any concrete step taken to address it for the past two months shows clearly the manner with which education that is vital to national development is being trivialized.
The don spoke at a â€œTown Square Meeting for the Ancestorâ€ held in memory of Professor Ojetunji Aboyade in Ibadan. According to him, if education had been given its due recognition, both parties in the feud would have shifted ground to end the strike.
Dissatisfied with the way students in Nigerian universities roam the streets due to the strike, he lamented that â€œa colleague of mine said it is very surprising that a developing nation like Nigeria can afford a situation whereby universities have been on strike for the upward of two months and nothing concrete is being done about it.”
â€œIt clearly shows the way education is seen in the development of the nation. It is not seen as anything important because if it is seen in that manner, Iâ€™m sure the government would have taken it more seriously. The union and the government would have allowed whatever the compromise in order to get all our children that are scattered all over the country back to the universitiesâ€, he stated.
Continuing, Prof. Bamiro pointed out that the issues being discussed by the feuding parties in the face-off were too beclouded.
â€œWhen you look at the issue they are discussing under education-the issue of funding, university autonomy and you still see everything beclouded. You do not see any evidence of key policies coming into it. The government would say it can only fund it to that level, the question is where has it taken that decision to? he wondered.
What has happened, he noted, is that it has now taken a foreign intervention on the platform of Mc Arthur to get a number of institutions all over the world because it has been discovered that development issues are now interdisciplinary.