Malam Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education, walked out from a gathering with protesting students on Monday, which was unseemly and immature. He did not act with the decorum and dignity that his position demanded.
Mr. Sunday Asefon, President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, had visited him at his office to vent their issues about the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU’s current one-month warning strike.
If the government fails to accept ASUU’s demands within the warning strike period, Asefon has warned that NANS would take steps that will make the historic #EndSARS protests of October 2020 a toddler’s play.
He also offered the excellent notion that NANS could represent students in the long-running dispute between the lecturers’ union and the Federal Government.
The problem that enraged the Minister immensely for him to walk out of the meeting was when Asefon reminded him that his children were receiving an unrestricted education in universities overseas, despite the fact that their own parents could not afford to send them there.
The absurdity of Adamu’s enraged walkout was highlighted by the fact that he still had to meet with NANS leaders later at the National Universities Commission’s (NUC) office. By that time, his fury had calmed down sufficiently for him to engage the students with proper calmness.
Malam Adamu revealed, maybe for the first time, that the disputed topics included in the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, signed with ASUU in 2009 and the Memorandum of Action (2020) were being repackaged for possible endorsement by both sides, possibly with the NANS involved this time.
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His exit was like rubbing salt in the wound. It was a dig at the millions of Nigerians who are forced to live with the consequences of ASUU’s never-ending strikes.
People in positions of power, such as Adamu, should be reminded that the grandeur of high office and the privileges that come with it belong to the people, who have the right to ask questions and demand answers.
Adamu will be out of the workplace in just 14 months. He should ask himself what he has done to address our educational difficulties throughout the two years that President Muhammadu Buhari has given him.
We also hope that the new strategy he mentioned is included in the ASUU package. What will it mean in terms of the Memorandum of Understanding and Memorandum of Agreement that the federal government has continually failed to honor? We hope that this does not aggravate the problem.
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