APC Slams FG For Sack Threat Against University Lecturers

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The All Progressives Congress
(APC) has slammed the Federal Government for issuing a sack threat against
striking university teachers, saying the resort to such military-era tactics
reflects the FG’s poverty of ideas in resolving the prolonged ASUU strike.
In a statement issued in Lagos on
Sunday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the
party in particular criticized the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr.
Nyesom Wike, for the way he talked down on the striking teachers, while issuing
the ill-advised, “go-back-to-work-or-be-sacked” threat.

”Wike’s language was crude, his
presentation was rude and his threat was demeaning and counter-productive. We
believe his lack of finesse and the inability to think out of the box in
handling the whole strike issue will not bode well for a quick resolution of
the crisis.
”We also disagree with the
Minister’s inference that the lecturers should automatically call off the
strike because the President intervened and sat for long hours with them. It is
this unnecessary deification of a democratically-elected President that has
almost turned this President into an Emperor. What is the big deal in President
Jonathan sitting with ASUU members, his former colleagues for that matter?  What is a President elected to do if not to
solve problems?” it queried.
APC said it is unfortunate that
Wike can be threatening to sack university teachers at a time there is a
shortfall of 60,000 lecturers in Nigerian universities, adding that the threat
itself has shown that the FG does not understand the enormity of the problems
facing public universities in particular and the education sector in general.
”The poor remuneration of
university teachers and the inadequate facilities for teaching and learning in
our public universities have combined to trigger a brain drain in the
institutions. The pauperization and frustration of the teachers through the
non-implementation of the pacts aimed at ameliorating the situation have
discouraged those who may want to become university teachers. Yet, the few who
have defied the odds to take to this noble path of helping to mold our future
leaders are being threatened with dismissal. This betrays a painful lack of
understanding of the long and tortuous path it takes to produce a university
teacher.
”It also shows that the so-called
Supervising Minister of Education is not better than the misguided market women
who, having being hired and paid to protest against ASUU, threatened to invade
the universities to chase out the lecturers if they won’t call off the strike.
”This is what a country gets when
it puts round pegs in square holes. It is not everyone who can mobilize
campaign funds for the President or organize thugs during an election who
should be rewarded with a ministerial post, not to talk of being given such a
sensitive ministry as that of education, which is directly responsible for the
future of our youth and of course our country. No one who knows the value of
education will toe the path taken by Wike in issuing his empty threat,” the
party said.
It said ASUU was right in
demanding certain benchmarks, including the non-victimization clause and the
need for a senior government official, like the Attorney-General, to sign the
agreement, before calling off its strike, in view of the fact that the FG has a
history of reneging on its agreements.
”Yes, our party is eager for this
prolonged strike to end so that our youths who have been marooned at home for
five months can resume their academic pursuit. Yes, we believe this strike has
gone on for way too long, and that it will impact negatively on our country’s
development in the long run. But we believe the issues at stake must be
resolved once and for all, so that we won’t have a repeat of these recurring
strikes.
”The onus rests on the FG to work
with ASUU to resolve this lingering crisis. President Jonathan should get off
his high horse, roll up his sleeves as Presidents elsewhere do and tackle
squarely what has now become one of the biggest challenges facing his
administration.
”However, if the Jonathan
administration has run out of ideas, as we now fear it has, going by the
infantile threats being issued by it, then let it hands off the negotiations
and allow other stakeholders to find a way out. We are all stakeholders in the
education of our youths,” APC said.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
Interim National Publicity
Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)

Lagos, Dec. 1st 2013

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