By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ASSOCIATION of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, has advised Mr. President to reject alleged moves to transfer the 104 Federal Unity Colleges (FUCs) to the state governments, following perceived subtle campaigns by hired analysts.
In a statement in Lagos, the ASCSN National President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, emphasized that those pushing the President to embark on such negative action wanted him to enter into a collision course with millions of Nigerians who voted him into office, arguing that “They would come in different guise and Mr. President has to watch out for them.
The Union is worried that now that we have a new government in place, some Nigerians under the guise of discussing the issue of devolution of power in the country are clamouring for the transfer of Unity Colleges to state governments.
“The question to ask is, what has devolution of power got to do with ownership of Unity Colleges when Education is in the Concurrent List of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? “What manner of country do we want to run when we engage in the habit of approbating and reprobating on sensitive national issues?
Moving forward and backward will not help anybody. Let us take all our institutions as given and service them on a regular basis for the benefit of mankind. You build toll gate today, demolish them tomorrow only for you to come back later and start toying with the idea of rebuilding them.
We need to get serious for once and move the country forward. The idea of selling our national assets and heritage is only being driven by selfish motive and interest. It is not the way to go.” ASCSN recalled that when in 2005, government tried to auction the schools to its cronies, millions of Nigerians overwhelmingly opposed the move while ASCSN carried out 7-week strike throughout the Federation to forestall the plan.
“Besides, how can anyone in his or her right senses be advising the Federal Government to hand over the 104 Federal Unity Colleges to state governments that cannot pay salaries to their workers and whose primary and secondary schools are in shamble?” the union wondered.
The union pointed out that the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Alhaji Tawafa Balewa, in 1966 established the first three Unity Schools in Sokoto in Northern region, Warri in Western region, and Okposi in Eastern region as centres for nurturing national unity because the existing political parties then used tribes and religions to divide Nigerians.