The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the key to Nigeria’s true freedom is dependent only on a vibrant and competitive education sector.
The union’s President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos while reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s 6oth Independence Anniversary broadcast.
Ogunyemi said that Nigeria’s numerous challenges in its 60 years of nationhood could be overcome if government pays keen attention to its education sector.
Buhari in his broadcast said the country’s economy, alongside all other economies in the world was in crisis.
He noted that Nigeria was still faced with security challenges in parts of the country, while the society suffered from high loss of moral rectitude, driven by unbridled crave for political control.
According to him, an undying cause of most of the challenges faced as a nation is the consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that citizens have harboured and allowed to fester unnecessarily.
He noted that institutions such as the civil service, the police, judiciary and the military had all suffered from general decline and urged Nigerians to join hands with the government in its efforts to put the country back on track.
Buhari added that there was need to begin a sincere process of national healing, noting that the 60th Independence Anniversary celebration presented a general opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perception that had always put to it test.
But the ASUU boss said that the key to Nigeria’s true freedom was dependent only on a vibrant and competitive education sector.
He reiterated the need for government to prioritise the sector in the scheme of things, “if it truely intends to actualise all that it envisaged in the nearest future.
“’Nigeria’s flag Independence is 60 years old today, but Nigerian academics who hold the keys to its true freedom are in chains.
“’Let us remind our ruling class that knowledge dispels fear. Nigeria will only truly be free, if the academia is free.
“The Accountant-General of the Federation needs to also enhance this by ensuring that the withheld salaries of members of ASUU in federal universities are paid, just as we also need to state that some state governors have not funded their universities for years,” he said.
Prof. Solomon Akinboye, a former Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos, also said the president’s independence anniversary message could revive the hope of the citizenry only if the leaders could be more responsive to their duties.
Akinboye, a one-time Head, Department of Political Science, UUNILA, told NAN that all he mentioned that should be done to return the country to the path of glory, is what we are looking forward to seeing; that is, rallying round the government to make Nigeria great again.
“’However, in achieving this, much is dependent on leadership. Followership is important but again, leaders must provide the lead that will prompt the followership to actualise the envisaged.
“’Leadership must be focused, dedicated and strive to make its vision realistically pursued,” Akinboye said.