The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described as the height of insensitivity the decision by First Lady Patience Jonathan to receive an Honorary Doctorate award in far away South Korea, even as Nigeria’s public universities have remained shut for many months under the watch of her husband.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said if the First Lady and her advisers had been perceptive enough, they would have known that embarking on such a jamboree at this time is an assault on the sensibilities of Nigerians in general, and the students who have been marooned at home for almost four months in particular.
”In their eagerness to gobble up one spurious award after another, they forgot that if the Hansei University in South Korea had been shut by a strike because the government there has repudiated an agreement it willingly signed with the teachers, the institution would not have been able to give any honorary degree to anyone.
”A government that is unwilling to spend the nation’s resources on the education of its youth has no qualms about wasting the same resources for a junket by the First Lady and her cheerleaders halfway around the world for what is nothing more than an ego-massaging award,” it said.
APC said the reasons given for the award of the Honorary Doctorate to the First Lady was particularly interesting “She’s a humanitarian who has dedicated her life to working for the less privileged in Nigeria and Africa especially for women and children. Her vision as the defender of the poor in Nigeria fits into Hansei University’s motto of a practising Christian.”
”What the university forgot to add is that while the First Lady may have dedicated her life working for the less privileged in Nigeria, there is no indication that she and her husband are sparing any thought for the poor Nigerian students whose dreams for a better future have been put on hold by the long strike that has paralyzed academic activities in public universities,” the party said.
It said that since charity begins at home, the First Lady, as a mother and a ‘humanitarian’, would have done well to rally women to put pressure on the government led by her husband to quickly reach an agreement that will end the long-drawn ASUU strike.
”It is instructive that the First Lady would rather corral some hapless women to the Eagle Square in Abuja to illegally campaign for her husband, in furtherance of her ‘humanitarian’ gesture, instead of leading a campaign of concerned mothers and ‘humanitarians’ to protest the deadlock in ending the strike in our public universities,” APC said