Protest: I’m Sad, Lecturer Who Taught Me 27yrs Ago Still Begging On The Streets — Ondo NLC Chairman

The Ondo State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Sunday Adeleye Oluwole has lamented that one of the lecturers who taught him in the school was on the street begging for the payment of his salary.

Adeleye told newsmen in Akure after the labour protest in support of the striking lecturers of tertiary Institutions.

According to the NLC Chairman, “at this protest ground, I saw the lecturer, now a Professor (Olayinka Awopetu), who taught me far back in the School in 1995, still struggling to get his salaries paid by the Nigerian government. I am sad. Is it not a shame on the leaders of this country.

Adeleye, who described education as the bedrock of development in any nation, condemned the attitude of President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime to the plight of the striking lecturers in the Nigerian public universities.

According to him, the government has failed to review the salaries of the university lecturers for more than 10 years in spite of the economic crunch in the country.

He wondered why the government continued to pay lip service to the growth of university education in the country, noting that the students in the public schools have been at home for five months sitting down idle while those in leadership positions put on a care-free attitude.

“The reasons why they shut down the universities in the country was because the federal government failed to negotiate with them (lecturers) and their only offence was because they are asking for improvement in the university system”, the Ondo NLC chairman added.

Adeleye said that all the affiliated unions of the NLC decided to join the protest in solidarity to compel the Buhari regime to listen to the demands of the university lecturers.

He added that the labour movement was only fighting for a better future for the students, who had been at home, at the mercy of the ongoing ASUU strike stressing that the nationwide protest was not politically motivated.

“Today, Nigeria is not part of the best 1000 universities in the world. Our children and graduates cannot even compete favourably with other graduates from African countries not to talk of the advanced nations.

“Now for the past five months, our children have been at home and this has economic and social implications. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Many of our children have turned to crime and this is not good enough for us.

“Do you know for example; in the Nigeria universities instead of using Bunsen burner for chemistry students they are using kerosene stone? It is on heard off. Equipment that has been in university since the time of Obafemi Awolowo’s days is still in our universities. The world is dynamic, and things have changed.

“NLC has taken over this protest because it affected everybody and unfortunately, those ruling us have no children here in Nigeria except abroad. So, we are ready to shut down the whole system until they listen to the demands of the striking lecturers”, Adeleye said.

The chairman, ASUU in the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA),  Prof Olayinka Awopetu, said the federal government should open re-negotiation with the striking universities lecturers.

Awopetu, who decried the lingering ASUU strike, added that the Buhari regime had been insensitive to their plight for the past five months.

“What we want from the federal government is to come back to the negotiations table and sign the agreement that they have. If they have a problem with the agreement, they should return and let us renegotiate it.

The leadership of other unions like SSANU, NASU, NAAT at FUTA, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko as well as lecturers and other staff from the Adeyemi University of Education, Ondo, expressed regret that the Federal and State governments had abandoned education to continue nosediving.

The Chairman of the College of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, Dr Adetokunboh Adepoju spoke against the government’s lackadaisical non-committal attitude towards the development of the educational sector which portends grave danger for the nation now and in the future.

Responding, Ondo Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by the Head of Service, John Adeyemo and the Special Adviser on Union matters and Special duties, Mr Dare Aragbaiye, applauded the protesting NLC members for their peaceful coordination, noting that everybody was affected by the shut down of the public universities nationwide.

Mr Adeyemo said the state government would continue to relate with the Buhari regime to resolve the lingering ASUU strike.

“We are together in this struggle. This lingering issue (strike) would be resolved in due time. The demonstration is part of democracy but I thank you for your peaceful conduct.

“We are also in pain that our children are at home. It affected all of us because we have relations, children in Nigerian public universities”, he added.

Members of the affiliated union; the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, (SSANU) also joined ASUU in the protest.

Vanguard

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