By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”Pro-chancellor of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, has passionately appealed to President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua not to allow the on-going nationwide strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to go beyond the next few days in the interest of students who are the future leaders of the country.
Besides, he wants the President to direct the necessary authorities to carefully study the agreement the government reached with ASUU with a view to knowing its relevance and worthiness, saying government should implement the agreement once it was found to be plausible..
Isekhure, who is also the Chief Priest to the Oba of Benin, fielded questions from newsmen in Benin yesterday on the on-going nationwide strike embarked upon by ASUU over the failure of the federal government to implement an earlier agreement it reached with the body and said there was no need for the government to have entered into any negotiation with the university teachers if it knew it was not ready to implement such an agreement.
According to him, â€œas a Pro-chancellor of a Nigerian university, as a parent and a traditional person, I feel disappointed that each time we travelled out of this country and our university system and curricula is being discussed, we always discovered that they underrate our degrees because they always said that our universities spend more time on holidays which is always occasioned by strikes and all that and the quality of our degrees are even questionable.”
â€œThis is the first time in the past ten years, that our academic calendar appears to have been stabilized.”
Now our children we presumably regard as leaders of tomorrow are the same children today whose education is being truncated.”
They are being punished for the sins they never committed.
â€œEducation is the most viable property that you can bequeath to your children or any human being living within any nation. And if government does not seem to pay attention to how our children are trained or the number of hours and calendar years available to our children to go to school and to become learned human beings with wisdom and good character, then off course, it must be accepted that government has failed woefully at the federal level to really take the welfare of Nigerians at heart.
â€œThe university is the strong room of any nation. If you cannot build a university, then you cannot build a nation because the resources and the manpower needed to pivot and move any nation forward at all levels scientifically, culturally, politically and philosophically and otherwise, they are contained within the frame work of the university environment.
â€œSo, if you destroy a university, the entire nation has been destroyedâ€.
Noting that it was the children of poor Nigerians that are mostly affected by the strike, since the children of those in government and the rich are in oversea countries studying, Chief Isekhure insisted that the federal government has the responsibility to protect and care for the poor in the pursuit of their educational careers.
He said the federal government could not claim to have sat down with ASUU to discuss theirÂ welfare and the need to properly fund the university system in the country, describing as lamentable the situation where government and its officials sit comfortable in cozy offices and behave as though nothing was happening.