Boko Haram, Aso Rock and ASUU strike

Lagos, Nigeria - If a chaperon is a murderer, survival of her protégé’s child is uncertain. The death of that child, without mincing words, is a forgone conclusion. Now, that is the fate of Nigeria’s university education in the hands of apostles of Boko Haram

Those who believe that the police murder of the sect’s leader, Mohammed Yusuf, and the sect’s financier, Alhaji Buji Fui, has put an end to the activities of Boko Haram sect in Nigeria may have missed the point.

The death of the chief advocate of bankruptcy in Western education has in no way affected the blossoming of the idea, the philosophy espoused by Yusuf and his cohorts. Yusuf, if developments after his death is examined vis-a-vis the present industrial action of the university three unions:

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Non-academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) was just a precursor, a message bearer, the fore runner of what the Presidency and the Federal Ministry of Education now appear to stand for. No wander the idea is flourishing as it is watered daily by the Presidency in its insistence that ASUU can go to blazes.

Yusuf believed, till hot lead snuffed life out of him, that Western education is evil. Little did Nigerians realise that Yusuf’s mentors are the most powerful men in the country. On the margin of the vicious game to throw Nigerians especially the poor man’s child into the wilderness of ignorance is the minister of education. Unfortunately, the cost of a wasted genius to a nation because he or she was denied education owing to poverty cannot be quantified in monetary unit or value.

Forget about members of the sect who are now facing various charges in court, With the acceptance of his doctrine by the power that be, Yusuf can now turn in his grave with satisfaction that he had succeeded in bequeathing his no Western education legacy to able lieutenants in the persons of the president, vice president and minister of education as the standard bearers of his sect to perpetuate his evil dream.

There is no better place to stymie the development and propagation of education than the university. Yes the public universities. Those in public office, their relations, industrial and commercial barons could not be affected. They have more than enough to pay the fee of private universities or even send their wards aboard for the golden fleece.

Thus, in no time, a ruling class will emerge. The elite in every sphere of the nation’s life will be offsprings of those who have been opportune to embezzle while they were in public office and, of course, their beneficiaries. Boko Haram sect could not get better standard bearers than the president, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, his vice, Dr, Jonathan Goodluck and education minister, Dr. Sam Egwu. Ironically, they are all former lecturers. Are the dogs not eating dogs?

If the Presidency kicked on the allegation and denying playing the game of Boko Haram sect, the presidnt and his vice should explain the withdrawal of the government team from the negotiation with ASUU. It was nothing but cheap betrayal of trust and the oath of office that all of them took at the inception of their tenure.

No one will be surprised if the Presidency and the Ministry of Education declared the lecturers traducers, using the ivory tower to incite the public against the government.

Government at any level is an adept blackmailer. It is even strange that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has not declared the more than two months old strike in the universities as the handiwork of opposition parties. Those who talk about the interest of students have a point. What they, however, ignored is the rot in the university system.

The standard of education, it is widely believed, is falling. Nigerian graduates are not given direct admission for second degree courses in most Euro- US universities. Why?

Facilities, equipment and tools to ensure that the students are hard-boiled are now luxury on most campuses. It is not a hyperbole that most public universities are glorified secondary schools. If nothing is done to reverse the march to the dell where half-baked products is the vogue, finger will not be pointed at any other group but the lecturers. They would, however, be magicians if they could produce first class graduates who could rub shoulders with their counterparts any where in the world without an enabling environment.

The other day, the Minister of Education was very happy when the nation’s premier university, the University of Ibadan, came tops, the overall winner of a recent Zain organized competition among universities in Africa. In a photograph taken at the presentation of the award to him by the Vice-Chancellor of the victorious university, the minister was smiling from ear to ear. The result of hard work by the lecturers, you say!

That chest-thumbing might have been a mirage if the standard used at the competition had been that of world rating. No Nigerian university was among the world best 100.

It is regrettable that those charged with fostering the nation’s education have teamed up with Boko Haram sect. This stance may not help Nigeria soar beyond the continental standard. President Yar’Adua promised that with his seven-point agenda, he would make Nigeria one of the 20 most buoyant economies in the world. It is difficult to imagine how the economy could be catapulted to a higher height without education to provide the necessary back-up manpower to make the dream a reality.

It is trite to say that education is the livewire, the oxygen, the Midas touch that can turn lead to gold. Japan could not boast of many minerals that Providence, in His infinite mercy, has endowed Nigeria with. The Japanese do not throw up their hands in despair. Trained manpower has got everything going for them.

The new advocates of Boko Haram sect’s philosophy in the corridor of power will be happy to have or populate Nigeria with morons who do not know their left hand from the right.

If not that they want to hamstring university education, why did the Federal Government team walk out on the ASUU during negotiation? What evidence is further needed to brand them Boko Haram apostles?