The Alumni says political leaders lack will to engage ASUU.
The Unity Schools Old Students’ Association, USOSA, on Thursday said it was ready to engage the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, on issues surrounding the Union’s ongoing strike, and the way forward for quality education in the country.
Speaking at its one-day dialogue, USOSA’s past president, Albert Okumagba, said the association, having figured out that Nigeria’s political leaders lacked the will to address the situation, was ready to engage ASUU on the strike issues.
“We are going to confront ASUU because we know politicians at various levels do not have the will to do what needs to be done,” Mr. Okumagba said.
He said issues concerning funding, structures and aggregation would be addressed.
USOSA President, Nuhu Koko, in his welcome address, advocated a strict admission policy into unity schools.
“In our quest for qualitative education, USOSA believes that the unity schools must continue to lead the way by remaining models for quality education. I believe this can be achieved by a healthy, competitive and nationalistic representative admission policy. Only the best students in each state should be admitted into these schools,” Mr. Koko said.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, who was also at the event, said the nation’s education system had, overtime, moved from a good to a terrible situation, when compared to his own time in schools.
“We have not moved forward but backward because like some of you said, this is the fourth month our children are out of school – which is no fault of theirs. Some, or all of us, have benefited from such school systems where there were no strikes. What really happened? Who is at fault? I think this forum should address that,” Mr. Abubakar said.
He said that there was a great need for all to be involved in addressing issues that might have caused the deterioration.
“The children and the parents are suffering and I think this is an issue we should not just leave for the government and ASUU. We should all come in fully and see how we can put an end to this kind of strike,” he said.
A former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, commended USOSA for its efforts in organising its alumni for the dialogue, and for encouraging citizens and corporate bodies to contribute towards the development of education in the country as it remained the key to the nation’s future.
“While government remains and should be the most important organ for the development of education, we as citizens and corporate organisations have to contribute in many ways that we can to help build our education to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Mr. Abubakar said
A lawmaker and co-chairman of the occasion, Nnenna Ujeke, enjoined all participants to make sure that elected leaders do the right things for the people, especially within the education sector, without capitalising on individual differences or ethnicity.
“The things that bind us have been so down played whole the things that divide us have been so exaggerated. And so, we believe that the time has come again for us, as people who this country has invested on by way of education and ideology for the future, to take the destiny of this country into our hands,” Ms. Ukeje said.
Also present at the occasion was former education minister, Oby Ezekwesili, who during the closing prayer, said Nigeria must surely get to a desired state of development.
“It does not matter how long it takes, the stammerer will surely call his father’s name. Nigeria will surely become a great nation,” Ms. Ezekwesili prayed.