SOLIDARITY MESSAGE BY COMR. NDA-UMAR USMAN
(FORMER SECRETARY GENERAL, ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF POLYTECHNICS, ASUP)
I bring you fraternal greetings and solidarity on this all important symposium jointly organized by ERC and ASUU, UniAbuja Chapter. Please accept my unreserved apology for not making it to the occasion due to conflicting engagement of equal importance. Permit me to put on record that the union I belong to, ASUP, has been in the forefront fighting for the betterment of its members and repositioning of Polytechnic education in Nigeria.
The above led to the longest protracted strike that took better part of the year 2014. Though regrettable, we only responded to the language government understood. Today the union is vindicated. When the then government was singing no money to heed to our demands including appropriate funding of education, they were busy helping themselves and allocating the funds for personal and political agenda. The current high profile corruption revelations are really mind boggling yet our institutions remain a laughing stock among comity of nations. Unfortunately, we in the labour movement have come to the realization that the students’ bodies have lost their bearings as they jettisoned the vision and mission of their founding fathers. Almost all the students’ bodies that I know today are factionalized simply because of greed for political leadership and wealth. The umbrella students’ unions are now being funded by political patronage, especially government officials. How can you speak against your master knowing that “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”. So they end up defending government’s obnoxious policies on education. Students’ unions in most campuses are no longer in tune with the welfare and well-being of students. I therefore urge you to have a change of heart and return to the ideals of the founding fathers.
Finally, it is unfortunate that we are yet to see the blue-print or know the direction of Buhari led government’s policies on education. As such, we can neither analyze nor make input. All we know is that he is fighting corruption with vigour so that corruption will not kill us. Let us drum into his ears that functional education is the utmost key to curbing corruption. I wish you fruitful deliberations.