The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) has come under attack over its comment on the proposed Muhammdu Buhari University.
Aisha Buhari had last Saturday during a townhall meeting in Yola, Adamawa State, revealed plans to establish a university in honour of Buhari with partners from other countries.
Aisha, who did not reveal when or where the university would be sited, explained that it would be established in collaboration with partners from Sudan and Qatar.
Reacting, ASUU lamented that the declaration was a sad reminder of the president’s continued reduction of budgetary allocation to the education sector since 2015.
ASUU Chairman, University of Ibadan chapter, called the proposed university a joke.
However, Scholars Without Boundary (SWB), faulted the position of the academic union on the yet-to-be established tertiary institution.
The group said such comment attributed to ASUU should only come from garage urchins and not academic body.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the scholars through its president, Ibrahim Taiwo, said it was worrisome that ASUU seems to have abandoned their major responsibilities of contributing their quota to the peace and development of Nigeria to the obsession with frivolities and diversionary irrational debates.
The group advised members of the union ASUU to rather dissipate their energies on productive engagements to assist in the development of Nigeria.
His speech below.
And least of all, to understand that the descent into this appalling level of unseriousness is coming from a section of the academia, which should ordinarily be an assemblage or community of intellectuals is a source of concern to all Nigerians.
The wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari, recently announced at a Town Hall meeting in Yola, Adamawa state, her intention to partner with some foreign investors to establish a private university to be named after her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari.
This revelation sparked indefinable outrage in a section of ASUU, which meaninglessly condemned and pooh-poohed the idea, advancing very flimsy reasons. First, they wrongly aligned the idea of a private university from private investors as conflicting with the public office held by President Buhari.
The chairman, University of Ibadan chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (UI-ASUU) Professor Deji Omole, termed it a disaster and proceeded to slate the Federal Government of Nigeria over the proposed plan of a private university which will adopt the nomenclature of President Buhari.
In another interview, ASUU’s former national treasurer, Professor Ademola Aremu somewhat insanely advised Mrs. Buhari to influence policies in education for the President Buhari’s administration to revitalize public-funded education because universities are proliferated in the country.
Or how else, could one strike a nexus between establishment of a private university and its bearing with the Federal Government outside the approval for license? How does it conflict with public universities? Would the proposed university be funded with public funds? What is really the grouse of Omole and Aremu?
Hajia Aisha Buhari is not a government appointee under the government of President Buhari and she has not even the remotest connection or influence with government business. How does Professor Aremu expect her to officially influence policies in education?
To put it bluntly, the duo’s personalized criticisms of a proposed private university to be named after President Buhari, which they coat with the garments of ASUU is an assault on the sensibilities of Nigerians.
For academics to argue in this manner is disgraceful to Nigeria’s intellectual community, because silence would have been more golden. We fear these so-called varsity dons didn’t even pass their own JAMB to have become lecturers and harbingers of knowledge. We suspect these are intellectual touts and not academics.
Regardless of whatever the likes of Omole and Aremu feels, and the hatred they delight in expressing against President Buhari, Nigeria has known him as a rare leader, unquestionably incorruptible and a leader with integrity. He is committed to the redemption and repositioning of Nigeria to an enviable height. His scorecard in public leadership cannot be obviated by the primordial and cynical thoughts of these dons.
Nigerians cherish President Buhari’s leadership for his focus and impact on curbing Boko Haram terrorism, insurgencies and insurrections in the country. Nigerians applaud Buhari for his resounding success in the anti-corruption war; re-fixing a recessed economy, restocking of Nigeria’s depleted foreign reserves, revitalization of the railways and diversification of the economy through agriculture among others. Buhari is leading the journey for the reclamation of Nigeria’s lost glory perfectly.
Nigerians have searched history, but have not found any former leader of the country in President Buhari’s mould. As Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Military Head of State and now, two tenured democratic leader of the nation, President Buhari has no single national monument or institution named after him and he is not bothered. Naming a private university after him is the least of his concerns.
For a section of ASUU to begrudge the initiative of Buhari’s wife to partner with foreigners to establish and name a private university after him is a glaring attempt to provoke Nigerians. This is a private investment and the investors are not prohibited by any law in the land to give the university any name of their choice.
We advise these ASUU members to dissipate their energies on productive engagements to assist in the development of Nigeria. ASUU leadership should be more concerned with cleaning up the mess they have senselessly deposited in the university system in Nigeria through incessant feuds and strikes at the detriment of students.