As the strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other related organisations in tertiary institutions in the country lingers, an old video of President Muhammadu Buhari criticizing the Goodluck Jonathan government on the same issue has emerged on the internet.
With the President Buhari-led administration not anywhere close to reaching an agreement with the unions to solve the impasse, an old video has been dug up by Nigerians where Buhari was heard castigating then President Jonathan’s administration for wasting money on non priorities instead of negotiating with the unions to call off the strike so that students could go back to their schools.
While speaking on the 2014 National Conference convened by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Buhari picked holes with the timing of the confab which came at a time ASUU, Polytechnic lecturers and other arms of tertiary institutions unions were on strike.
Buhari faulted the confab for earmarking the sum on N7 billion for the confab, saying a serious government would not spend so much money on frivolity while the tertiary institutions workers were on strike.
“If you could recall, at the time the government said it was voting N7b for the conference, ASUU was on strike. And teachers of other tertiary institutions, like the polytechnics were on strike.
“This strike was on for almost an academic year and a serious government, if they had N7b to throw about, would go and negotiate with ASUU and the teachers organisations and the teachers unions of the tertiary institutions of the polytechnics downwards so that our children will remain in schools.
“The National Assembly is there if you want to amend the constitution so why go and take N7b that we could not afford when our children are on the streets? I think this government has the capacity for wrong priorities that are hurting us as a nation.”
But with the emergence of the old video, the same issues that Buhari frowned at in the interview seem not to have been addressed like he promised as the ruling APC government, and the Ministers of Education and Labour respectively, have also failed to address the lingering issues affecting the striking unions.
The video has also raised concerns in many Nigerians whether the Buhari government is also a serious government like he accused the GEJ government of not being serious.
The present government is also guilty of prioritising irrelevant issues instead of doing everything possible to curtail the ASUU strike which is going into its third month month.
Nigerians, especially parents who have their children and wards in the universities, are disenchanted with the way the Buhari government has handled the strike action especially as the administration seems to have now prioritised the 2023 elections ahead of every other issues in governance.
Many Nigerians are also wondering where the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, the Minister of State in the Education ministry, Emeka Nwajiuba, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, sitting governors and other political appointees in the same government are suddenly able to raise the N100 million for the party’s nomination forms when the same government could not come up with the funds required to settle the ASUU crisis.
ASUU had embarked on a roll-over strike from December 2020 to February 14 when it accused the government of failing to deliver on the agreement that led to the suspension of the strike in 2020, and since it downed tools, the government seems not to be interested in meeting their demands but all its effort are geared towards the 2023 elections.
After initially calling a truce in the impasse between the government and ASUU, the body began another strike to force government to implement the outstanding 2009 agreements on revitalization funding, earned academic allowances, proliferation of universities and sign a re-negotiated agreement with the union.
But despite assurances by the government on different occasions that all the agreements entered into with ASUUS would be met by government, nothing has been done to paint the Buhari regime as a responsible government.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
FEATURE: Ogun residents, waste collectors trade blames, as refuse litter environment
TIJANI ABDULKABEER, a journalist from the University of Ibadan, during a recent trip to Sango Otta, Ogun State took a look...
INVESTIGATION: How online fraudsters siphon victims’ funds through ‘SportyBet’ platform
As Nigeria transits into a cashless society, the evolution also creates opportunities for internet scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting...
SPECIAL REPORT: Enugu govt watches as waste takes over state, threatens public health, environment
In this report, Arinze Chijioke looks at how delays in evacuation of waste in Enugu State encourages indiscriminate waste disposal, its health implications, and how...
SPECIAL REPORT: Illegal miners degrade Ekiti community, engage in child labour
The activities of illegal miners in a community in Ekiti State have caused degradation of the environment, as miners engage...
SPECIAL REPORT: Inside the illegal trading of forest woods in Cross River community
“With a N20,000 bribe, an external buyer can influence the youth in host communities , Cross River State, to cut...