The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) has lambasted the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, urging him to resign as minister, and go into farming.
The Union in a swift reaction, to the statement credited to Nwajiuba, while speaking on Arise News Channel, where he said that striking lecturers should consider farming as an alternative profession.
ASUU described the statement as a reflection of Nwajiuba’s shallow understanding of the academic profession and the low premium that the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration placed on education.
Chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan Chapter, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, said the minister had displayed his naivity on educational matters.
The Professor indicated that the sparse population of farmers in the country is a reflection of the failure of the federal government he is part of to make farming secured for legitimate farmers, asking Nwajiuba to resign and take to farming as a worthy national service.
The enraged ASUU boss, labeled the minister ‘selfish’ in his agenda, maintaining that the union remained resolute not to pursue only the welfare of its members, while downplaying the infrastructure collapse and underfunding of public universities but decided to continue to fight ‘parasites like Nwajiuba, who preside over a ministry where no Nigeria university is in the top 100 in the world.
He also lamented the lip service given to education by the Buhari administration, saying it has consistently reduced budgetary allocation and funding to education since the assumption of office.
Professor Akinwole, challenged the minister, to tell Nigerians, if since he assumed office he has been owed allowance, stating that public university lecturers are owed earned academic allowance, since 2013 till date.
According to him, “As scientists, experts in agriculture faculties continue to conduct research mainly with external funding or personal monies. But the Nigerian government who failed to protect farmers and exposed Nigerians to excruciating poverty is not making use of the research findings. If the Minister of State for Education is interested in farming, he should resign his appointment and stop displaying his cluelessness of the problems in the education sector. We are on a just fight to ensure that those in public offices become responsive and responsible to the masses they swore to serve. They must fund public education.
“We have been on the same salary since 2009. That is no longer sustainable. The universities are being run with personal sweats of lecturers while politicians siphon monies for personal aggrandisement. We cannot accept IPPIS that is against the laws of the land and which fails to recognise the uniqueness of the academic profession and culture. We have brought an alternative using our members’ money. People like this Minister of State mirrors the disdain of ruling class for the workers and people of the country.”