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#EndASUUStrike: Victory Of The Hawks, A Nation Riding On The Back Of A Tiger

The Oasis Reporters

November 7, 2022





Prof. MK Othman

When I joined the academic turf over two decades ago, I was accosted by a hawk on a recruitment mission, a kind of membership drive. The first lesson of hawkish agenda in a game is “win by any means, hook or crook” as the end justifies the means.

The game must be manipulated to bring out the desired result, which is more or less a selfish end before the game even commences.

Hawks fight to always win and hardly believe in “gives and takes”. Peaceful or diplomatic ways of winning a game are alien to them. “Leave the ball and tackle the leg of your opponent to secure an advantage.”

Hawks are driven by selfishness, survival instinct, and egoism, which becloud their sense of reasoning and sometimes lead to their failure.

The 18-day proportionate salary paid to ASUU members is a clear indication that the hawks are opposed to a peaceful resolution of the ASUU-FGN imbroglio.

They have thrown a spanner in the wheels of progress made by Honorable Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The hawks are being led by the supposed conciliator, the labour minister, Dr. Chris Ngige who transformed into an indefatigable aggressor against all efforts to resolve the FG-ASUU crisis.

From the beginning of the crisis, he was always firing salvos in the direction of ASUU to create a more unreconcilable situation and anxiety.

Whenever Dr. Ngige is seen or heard talking to the press, his statements often create tension, and hopelessness, and are unpalatable to both the students and university workers.

Dr. Chris Ngige

Even when the speaker started his intervention, we saw how Dr. Ngige systematically walked out during the stakeholders’ meeting organized by the Speaker for to amicable resolution.

That action, a symbolic disrespect to the office of the speaker was reported to be done with the permission of the speaker.

Nevertheless, it was apparent that the “negotiator” did not believe in an amicable resolution.

Thus, as the meeting was progressing toward a common understanding, he rushed to court, which used technicalities to force ASUU to suspend the strike.

Ngige’s counterproductive move did not discourage the speaker’s noble action as he met President Buhari twice on the issue in less than one month and secured his nod that formed the basis for not only suspending the strike but agreeing to fully resume academic activities in all campuses.

The action of the distinguished Speaker, in #EndASUUStrike, was highly valuable beyond quantification.

As previously mentioned in this column, the universities are re-opened but the lecturers lack the motivation, the strength, and even the passion to face their students and happily teach, no thanks to the government’s posture as the absolute winner of the imbroglio.

This posture is manifested by the refusal to pay the arrears of eight months’ salary. Instead, only a half-month salary for October 2022 was paid in the first week of November.

Again, Ngige was reported to have boasted that lecturers were paid for the period they worked for. This means that all the assurances obtained by the speaker amount to nothing as the hawks are tirelessly working to make the Federal Government renege.

What is the implication?

My belief, ASUU’s struggle is geared towards qualitative and quantitative university education, which is a sine qua non for resolving society’s developmental challenges and placing the nation on the path to progress and a glorious future.

ASUU’s loss of the struggle will be a devastating loss to society and those fighting ASUU today will be powerless to protect society against the calamitous consequences of poor-quality university education.

Let me paraphrase what was posted on FB by Prof Abdu Nafiu, an erudite scholar and professor of soil science. He said “Metaphorically, destroying a Nation requires no weapon. With few resources, a Nation can be destroyed completely while the bridges and other infrastructures are still standing. All that is needed is to lower the quality of education in such a Nation. Once the quality of education in a Nation is lowered, cheating in examinations becomes a norm, research by students becomes an abomination, and copying project work, thesis, and dissertations becomes legal. Whoever goes against these vices becomes an outcast and wicked before the eyes of everyone.


That is probably why patients are dying at the hands of half-baked doctors. Buildings collapse at the hands of engineers who are theoretically sound but practically poor as their laboratories and workshops lack basic teaching facilities.”

He added, “Monies are lost at the hands of economists and accountants, justice at the hands of lawyers and judges is for the highest bidder, Clerics and Clergies are without humanity, governance dies at the hands of legislators and politicians, morality and respect are lost at the hands of the youth, parents are no longer role models to their children and teachers no longer inspire their students/pupils to reason philosophically”.

The victory of the hawks is not only a loss to the ASUU members but catastrophic harm to the nation making it ride on the back of a tiger. Those who ride on the tiger’s back, more often than not, end in its stomach. Should society watch while the hawks are celebrating victory?

At this point, for ASUU, the battle may look hopeless, but the war is not yet over. There are many options for the union; resume the suspended strike, the hawks have only seven months to become ex-men/women and may be forced to account for their deeds, adopt work-to-rule, active non-cooperation, cancel a session, which the government is hesitant to pay for, etc.

Nevertheless, ASUU being the conscience of the nation may have to strategize and adopt a more palatable approach to the issue. Surely, ASUU NEC is planning to do just that.

Last note, it is mind-blowing, how the hawks within the ruling party, APC are undoing the APC with their hawkish manner, and anti-people policy at this critical time of the electioneering campaign. If the party is interested in winning the 2023 election, then Someone somewhere should call these hawks to order. Fortunately, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila is disposed of and available to mend the pieces and end the imbroglio for posterity. Other concerned and influential personalities should team up with the Speaker to end it.


Written by M. K. Othman, MNIAE, MNSE, MASABE

Professor of Soil and Water Engineering, 
NAERLS, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.



Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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