ASUU Strike: Is Education In The Transformation Agenda Of President Jonathan?

osita-okechukwu-cnppBy Osita Okechukwu
Conference of Nigerian Political Parties {CNPP} has carefully reviewed the 2001 and 2009 Academic Staff Union of Universities {ASUU}’s agreements with the Federal Government of Nigeria; and pose the question is Education in the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR?

CNPP doubts that Education is listed in the Jonathan Transformation Agenda, otherwise how can the Jonathan administration flagrantly renege on a Memorandum of Understanding {MOU} the regime signed with ASUU on 23 January 2012? In the said MOU it was clearly
agreed that, ‘Government reaffirms its commitment to the revitalization of Nigerian Universities through budgetary and non-budgetary sources of funds. Government will immediately stimulate the process with the sum of one hundred billion Naira {100b} and will build this up to a yearly sum of 400 billion Naira in the next three years’

CNPP notes with great concern that only two out of ten items in the MOU were honoured – Reinstatement of Governing Councils and Retirement Age of lecturers. We regard the reinstatement of Governing Council as inconsequential and self-serving, for it only creates
job for Jonathan boys.

The more important and crucial items in the MOU and the 2009 Agreement like the stimulation of the university system with N100 billion in 2012, N400 billion in next three years, Federal Government assistance to State universities, 26% progressive increase
of annual budget of education, setting up research and development by companies operating in Nigeria and university autonomy were consigned to the dust-bin.

We had thought that President Jonathan as a university don could have been more passionate with education and concerned that no Nigerian university is listed among the 100 best university in the world.

This is especially when the Federal Government controls 52% of totally collected revenue, the Oil and Gas revenue has never gone below annual budget benchmark, the FIRS and Customs Service return over N4 trillion annually to the Federation Account.

We may not wholly agree with the position of pundits that education in Nigeria is poorly funded because the children of those in power are either not studying in Nigeria or are in private schools; however we cannot locate any of the kids of the Minister of Finance in
university in Nigeria.

May we ask, how will Nigeria be listed among the first 20 world leading economies in 2020, with poorly educated 3rd rate university graduates, who are encumbered with
brain drain and poor research and development facilities?

Consequently, CNPP is in solidarity with ASUU in their legitimate demand to revitalize our educational system and promote development of our universities as centers of excellence.

Mr Osita Okechukwu
National Publicity Secretary

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