Saturday, 19 September 2009
BY KAYODE BELLO
A JOINT protest was held during the week by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), over the lingering national strike around the Ibadan metropolis. Barely two weeks ago, the Students’ Union Transition Committee, SUTC of the University of Ibadan, Nigerian Youths in Motion (NYM) and the NANS had protested over the lingering impasse between ASUU and the Federal Government on salary increase and adequate funding of university education, pleading with the government to resolve the issue. In a bulletin issued and distributed by ASUU, the union accused the Yar’Adua administration of provoking the ongoing strike by refusing to sign an agreement it had earlier reached with the union through the Gamaliel Onosode–led Government negotiating team. The bulletin states: “our schools from the primary to the university levels lack adequate facilities for quality education. Nigerian universities lack adequate academic staff because of the poor condition of service that discourages several thousands of qualified persons from taking up teaching jobs. Deficiency in facilities and human resources is a major factor that seriously limits the access of qualified students to university education. For, instance just about 153,000 out of 1,050,000 qualified candidates representing about 15 per cent gained admission into universities in 2008/09 session. The ASUU Chairman, UI Chapter, Dr Ademola Aremu, also said it was the Federal Government that is on strike, not ASUU, and the onus rests on the Federal Government to resolve the lingering crisis. However, the Federal Government had approved 40 per cent salary increase for the striking teachers and stated that it had addressed other educational demands by ASUU.
Students’ leader urges state of emergency on education
BY BOLAIGE ALABI
THE President of the National Association of Edo State Students (NAESS), Comrade Theophilus Adolphus Ibodeme, has said that government should declare a state of emergency in the education sector.
Speaking in Benin during a solidarity rally organised to press forward the demand of Nigerian student from the Federal Government/ASUU face-off, Ibodeme berated the government’s ‘I don’t care’ attitude towards the future of Nigerian youths.
He argued that if it was possible for President Umaru Yar’Adua to set up an immediate Presidential Task Force (PTF) to find lasting solution to the wounded football sector in Nigeria, why can’t he do such to the education sector that is already on its way to the morgue?
He called on the president to set up, as a matter of urgency, a standard Educational Task Force (ETF), which will oversee the failed action of the queried FG/ASUU Negotiation Committee led by Deacon Gamaliel Onosode and find a lasting solution to all the imbroglio caused by the acclaimed ASUU/FG signed agreement.
“Our educational system needs proper maintenance and caring. Take a visit to any of the first generation universities spread across the country, hardly would you observe one with a place worthy to be referred to as a functional laboratory. All these are what ASUU is putting forward to the Federal Government to address, but our government will rather prefer raising billions of naira to celebrate political parties ten years anniversary, 10 years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria, Presidential Task Force on Football, among other unworthy events to celebrate,” querried the union leader.
While saying that Nigerian students are fed up with the slow action of President Yar’ Adua’s administration, which allows its youth to roam about the streets for over three months due to ASUU/FG misunderstanding, Ibodeme called for the resignation of Education Minister, Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu.
The rally, which took off from the King square, through Oba’s market, later climaxed at the popular Samuel Ogbemudia stadium.
‘Gani was always there with students in their struggle’
BY GBENGA SALAU
FORMER Students’ Union President of the Lagos State University (LASU) and Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Ayodele Adewale, has described the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi as a lover of the downtrodden, and always defended their rights at no cost.
While recounting his encounter with the late Senior Advocate of the Masses, Adewale, who is the Chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Council, said the image that came to his mind was when students were tear-gassed, harassed and shot at by Nigerian military officers. “It was at the Campos Square in Lagos Island, we were there alongside Prof. Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana and other prominent activists, to fight against the oppressive tendencies of Nigerian leaders, but the goodwill of the people whose cause we were championing prevailed and shielded us.”
Describing Gani as a lover of the downtrodden, Adewale said Gani was always on the defense of Nigerian students and always defended their rights at no cost, even at the expense of his life. “Working with him was very cheerful, but he was somebody you will like if truly you are sincere about the struggle. As the president of the student union in LASU, he was our life patron. During various increments in pump price of petroleum products, we were together carrying placards. He really used the law to help people.”
UI looses two doctoral students
By Abraham Oladipupo
15th of September will remain a day the University of Ibadan staff and students will want to forget. Life’s greatest tragedy is not death, but dying without achieving one’s goal. No thanks to the on-going strike, which had elongated the learning time of students that finally ended the dream of two doctoral students.
For David Akwakwa and Theresa Aigue, they would both have defended their PhD project last month but for the ASUU strike that has paralyzed activities in the university. Painfully, the dream is now dead. It is not only a pain to their families but a great lost to the university community.
Both David Akwakwa (42) and Theresa Aigue (32), student of the Department of Botany and Microbiology, had left UI to see off their friends according to a source, when a speeding trailer at the NNPC mega station hit the car, with five passengers.
The students, in a Toyota Carina car driven by Akwakwa, were trying to avoid another commercial bus when the trailer, whose whereabouts as at press time, is yet to be ascertained, hit them. Akwakwa, though a PhD student at Ibadan, is a lecturer at the Niger Delta University.
The security operatives of the university, popularly known as ‘Abefele’, evacuated the bodies of the two students, before they were moved to the Anatomy department, while the three other passengers in critical condition were rushed immediately to the University College Hospital (UCH). Investigations during the week revealed that one of hospitalized have been discharged.
Tafawa Balewa Hall was silent as a graveyard when Life Campus visited. The warden of the hall, Dr. Ayelari, who confirmed the incident, narrated how the accident occurred. “An eyewitness reported that the students had bought fuel from the NNPC Mega Station and where trying to cross to the other lane when the over-speeding trailer ran into them. Theresa was trying to come out of the car with her head out of the window when the car landed on her, leading to her death.
Members of IITA, Ibadan, where David was said to have been carrying out a research in collaboration with the institution, visited the hall to condole with the students and collect photographs of the deceased. One of the women revealed that the news had not been reported to Theresa’s father, even though it has been reported in the media had published it. She said, they had convinced her father that it was an error by the paper and that Tessy (Theresa) is still alive.
Majority of those who mourned the painful death of the students condemned the on-going strike, which had hindered the students from defending their project. Arriving at the department of Microbiology and Botany, everyone wore a straight face and they were in a sober mood over the loss of the students whom one of them described as brilliant. In fact, there was an emergency meeting of staff when the reporter visited. Mr. Bamidele Aliu, an IT student from the Polytechnic of Ibadan, who is serving as the receptionist, said the incident had put the whole department into mourning.