Being the Text of the Solidarity Message of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) to the Seventeenth National Delegate Conference (NDC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), this Friday, June 1st, 2012, at the National Secretariat of the Union, University of Abuja, Nigeria.
‘’ All it takes for evil men to take over the society and poison it, is for good men to stand aloof and do nothing,’’ Edmund Burke.
Distinguished Chairman, The President, ASUU, The Eminent Speaker & Emeritus Professor Tam David-West, Representatives of local & international organisations and institutions, Distinguished Academics, The Media,
Ladies & Gentlemen.
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Nigeria’s foremost human rights organisation, rejoices with the ASUU on the successful hosting of its seventeenth NDC and the reopening of its National Headquarters here at the University of Abuja on this June 1st, 2012.
CLO and ASUU like other trade unions and pro-people organisations are fraternal allies, and have come a long way in solidarity, especially in the patriotic struggles for democracy, social justice, equity, peace, freedom and human rights. We have, since our inception in 1987, crusaded with the ASUU in various national struggles that Nigerians have fought whether against the brain drain or for the actualisation of the June 12 Mandate or academic freedom on our campuses or for return of our country to democracy, saneness and part of freedom and respect for due process and the rule of law. ASUU, no doubt, has remained one of the few labour unions and people’s organisations in Nigeria that are unruffled in their struggles to restore its dignity and that of our country and which have strived to bring freedom and joy not only to its members but, also, to the majority of our people.
CLO salutes the Great ASUU, the custodian of academic knowledge and anchor/platform for the future of Nigeria and Nigerians at this celebration of its 17th NDC. We are proud to be ASUU’s friend, associate and comrade organisation.
ON THE WAY FORWARD.
At this juncture, permit us to say that the struggles that all of us joined hands, resources and commitment; and in which we sacrificed our lives and those of our families to fight so as to restore Nigeria to the part of purity, honour, respect, sanity and justice may after all be a wasted struggle; a struggle that has brought curse, not blessings to our country and people and a struggle that has impoverished us the more and created more shameless plunderers and looters in our system than patriots.
In the last 13 years, contrary to the expectations of Nigerians, our people have become more beggars, hungrier, neglected, abandoned and pauperised. In the midst of these suffocations, our society and people have not known peace. Incessant ethnic, social and religious ‘’wars’’ have been declared against us by those who only removed their khaki uniforms and redressed themselves in ‘’agbada’’ and their civilian collaborators. Virtually nothing has worked since these 13 years. For instance, our education has crumbled, our health services have collapsed and our infrastructural delivery has decayed. Transparency, honesty and respect for due process and the rule of law have died and hunger, homelessness, social crises, diseases and hopelessness have taken over the land. What a shame!
In other climes, the law that applies to the poor and the weak, applies to the rich and the powerful. In ours, different laws apply to the two categories of the citizens. In other climes, corruption is an evil and aberration and abhorred. In our clime, it has become a tradition and, therefore, our way of life. In other climes as rich as we are, the citizens enjoy a lot of rights and privileges. In ours, the reverse is the case. Corruption, looting, plundering and disrespect for our laws, rules and regulations by the political class which has grave concerns for human rights have become the bane of our society.
Unfortunately, our people have been deceived by the politicians into believing that our problems are either ethnic or religious and that if their own people produce certain public office holders, they would be better off. But we have produced Presidents, governors, chairmen of local governments, law makers and even sensitive political appointees who are our kinsmen and women. Despite all these, the ugly situation has not changed. The position of the CLO is that the problem is class oriented caused by lack of ideology. The politicians have deceived and used us a lot and enough should be enough. All their deceptive antics have failed to produce sound results, yet, we have continued to keep hope alive in this dead and hopeless situation.
The Great ASUU; in other societies, positive things have happened. People in position of authorities are servants. They are not lords but ours is a different scenario. Unfortunately, for the looters and crooks in other societies other than ours, their time has elapsed. Struggles have emerged, across the world, which have chased them out of office and replaced them with more humane, lawful, honest and just leaders. We saw the Arab spring and its crushing of the dictators. We saw the European sweep. We are seeing the world rejecting dictatorship. We have seen the world frown at and crush corruption and abuse of the rule of law and due process. Our January ‘’Occupy Nigeria’’ or uprising was a good start. We must sustain it. We must build to crush and demolish the dictatorship of Capitalism and its associate evils. ASUU and, indeed, Nigerians must start to hold their rulers accountable. We must refuse to allow very serious national matters to be treated as either a ‘’family’’ or ‘’personal’’ affair?
Great ASUU, the time to act is now. We must begin to plan, organise, strategise and mobilise Nigerians and popular organisations as it has been done in other societies and take our destinies and the destiny of our country in our hands. The challenge before us, today, is a monumental one. We must rescue Nigeria from the hawks and looters that have occupied our country so that we can use our huge God given human and material resources to serve Nigerians. We, in the CLO, are proud members of the Joint Action Front (JAF) whose popular slogan is ‘System Change.’’ CLO completely buys into it. We sing it as our anthem and we respect it with all our strength and capacity.
Therefore, the only way forward, is to change the class of wicked, lawless and conscienceless oppressors that operate our system and replace and their evil system-Capitalism- with a pro-people, just, equitable and popular system and leaders. All over the globe, Socialism has not got a replacement and will never do. It has remained the best option.
CLO enjoins ASUU to work, collaborate and plan with the JAF and other social movements with similar objects with the view to form a popular alternative platform that will contest and take over power in 2015 from these politicians and uproot this corrupt, ruthless, inept and visionless system that has visited our people with impunities and crude brutalities. This is the only way through which we can reclaim Nigeria for the interest, benefit and happiness of all Nigerians irrespective of sex, ethnic origin, religion, social status or class and their likes.
Nigeria can only be wasted and destroyed if we refuse to listen to, and imbibe the immortal words of Burke quoted above. CLO prays that ASUU takes this issue very seriously and begins early in time to plan for the implementation of this alternative. It is inevitable and we urge ASUU to accept our request to work with the JAF whose leader is one of ASUU’s former Presidents, Dr. Dipo Fashina who is a great and visionary leader and activist. ASUU, please, consider this request.
Lastly, CLO salutes the great ASUU and wishes her a successful and rewarding Convention.
Long Live the great ASUU!
Long live the CLO!!
Long live the struggles of all oppressed peoples!!!
God bless Nigeria.
Comrade Ibuchukwu Ohabuenyi Ezike,