The Attack Dog and the Habitual Greed of ASUU (Strike): A short response to an Ignoramus…
When I got to Lauretta Onochie’s wall, courtesy of the guy that “unfortunately” tagged me in a comment, I could not help but pity her just the way I did her boss. It’s a tough job to be employed as an “Attack Dog”. An attack dog sees everyone as an enemy except the master that is feeding it with bone. I couldn’t believe she studied and lectured in a College in the UK. That is a disappointing outing for a graduate from a UK university. I am particularly pained. How did she survive teaching in the UK college for nearly 6 years?
I wanted to ignore the joke on the wall because I felt it was pointless wrestling with a pig calling for a wrestling challenge. If you take up the challenge and engage the pig, it is you that will get dirty as the pig is already dirty. But on second thought, I ended up reading through the comments and realized that the problem is deeper than I thought and beyond just the attack dog. So, I felt that as academics, posterity will not forgive us if we allow her and her gullible followers to die in that state of ignorance without educating them. It’s just our job to keep educating them.
The strike has been on for 3 months and they were quiet. Lecturers’ salaries were stopped and they were quiet thinking it would do the magic and send them back to class. They didn’t know that hunger is not a threat to what the academics stand for. The extension of the strike period for another 3 months despite salary stoppage angered them. The threat from the students to disrupt political activities, if nothing is done about the strike, brought all the attack dogs out.
Sorry, madam Attack Dog! ASUU doesn’t operate a dictatorial system. Decision-taking is from bottom to top. That beautiful nonsense that you have deleted from your wall can’t set the members against the principal officers. As a matter of fact, the strike decision was taken by the members in congress meetings at the various branches. The ASUU national leaders only implement the decisions taken by the members at the branches. Congress wanted the strike to have started in December 2021. The leaders diplomatically found a way to delay it to provide the government a saving window to act responsibly. But they failed to utilize it. If the strike is to be called off and or suspended, members will have to take that decision at the congresses of all Nigerian universities.
Contrary to your imagination, the members told ASUU leaders to “boast” that they can live without their salaries till they get what they want. The salary stoppage is not new. In 2013, Jonathan’s government stopped salaries for 6 months, an action that your party condemned as an opposition, and used it to campaign against the then PDP government in 2015. In 2020, this government withheld salary for over 6 months. It was an unfortunate decision from the government we thought was responsible and care about the education of the people but the lecturers survived.
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Churning out half-baked graduates? In every class, you will always have the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have heard this half-baked graduate from Nigerian universities talk countless times but no one is able to show me a job that was advertised and after the interview, they could not get a graduate from any of our universities that are qualified for the job. We rather have very good graduates without jobs. I have a long list of them. Our graduates have gotten merit international scholarships. Graduates from my department in ABU are doing great at home and abroad. One recently got a funded PhD in the US. One of my MSc students resumed in Canada in January 2022 for a funded PhD. He had his BSc from Unilorin and MSc from ABU. I have a long list of them. Also, I got my BSc and MSc in ABU and my PhD supervisors in the UK openly declared that I was one of the best among their PhD students. That is the record of the half-baked graduates from Nigerian universities.
Some of us had a chance to pick up a job in the UK like you but decided to return to our universities to add value to the system. With the horrible condition of service, we are still bringing out the best from those that came to the university to learn. I would have expected you to join us in academia to have a taste of our condition of service as compared with the UK, and to contribute your beautiful idea, but no! It’s a political appointment that is worth your return. That is the land of honey and juice.
She should have just kept quiet about IPPIS. IPPIS is a centralized corruption system as being operated at the moment. As good as the intention is, it is being manipulated and every system is subject to manipulation if there is no strong institution. Our thinking when we started supporting General Buhari’s aspiration in 2003 was that as President Buhari, he will be able to use his strong personality to establish strong institutions to make things work. But they just mopped up corruption from the various units and put them at a central station. The ordinary president of Berekete family radio has exposed how names are being fixed into IPPIS using BVN. The beneficiaries just sit at home and get paid without working. How can you glorify a system that pays the salary of the staff of an agency without the agency authenticating the personnel? Sit down and evaluate the impact of your education on you, your job, and your role as an aide to the president.
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She possibly did not read the 2021 Audit Report from OAUGF on IPPIS. 2,605 personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, who had spent 35 years in service and were due for retirement, still existed in the payroll data sets. 178 employees’ records at the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) were also repeated, and 1,097 employees have “null’ first names in the Nominal Rolls of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). Thirteen (13) staff of the Federal Ministry of Defence who have spent 35 years in service, still exist in the payroll data sets. 13 staff of the Federal Ministry of Defence and 2,605 officers of the NPF who have spent 35 years in service, still exist in the payroll data sets. 7,016 staff in six (6) MDAs (i.e. Federal Ministry of Agric – 31; Federal Ministry of Education – 22; Federal Ministry of Works – 21; Federal Ministry of Defence – 30; NPF – 6,619 and Nigerian Correctional Services – 293) that have attained 60 years of age still exist in the payroll data sets. 996 names of workers at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, were repeated in the nominal rolls and 71 staff in ABU, Zaria that have attained 70 years of age are still being payrolled. The report exposed how GIFMIS and IPPIS are robbing FG of billions of naira.
You are just an attack dog for the government and not an IT expert. You are not in the NITDA team doing the integrity tests. How did you get your fictitious knowledge about UTAS? The so-called rickety platform scored 99.3% on the integrity test from the report generated by NITDA, your government agency. I can understand if you don’t cherish the homegrown solution since your mind is in the UK and you don’t know the importance of homegrown solutions. When you are done making money from using your mouth to destroy Nigeria, you will run back to the UK. Nigeria can crumble after all you have a home in the UK.
One lecturer in four full-time university jobs? Haba! Attack Dog! why are you disgracing the person that hired you? You mean you are not aware that it is a punishable offense to have two full-time jobs? Publish the names of lecturers with four full-time jobs and they can still be punished for the offense. Meanwhile, visiting lecturers get 50% percent of their salary and it is not a crime in the university system. It’s a worldwide practice. Surprisingly, someone that lectured in a college in the UK for nearly 6 years is ignorant of visiting lecturership. She is not aware of the importance of visiting professorship appointments and their role in the growth and development of the university system.
We can excuse her ignorance on that since she was in a college where they do A levels and not in a university.
Meanwhile, University does not operate like the presidency. While IPPIS is configured for just tenure appointments, there are different categories of academic staff in the university. It is a flexible system with tenure and temporary academic appointments. The appointment is done when needed and that is why the University Autonomy Act put the responsibility of the payroll of the University on the Council and not the Accountant General of the federation. But IPPIS is configured to identify just tenure appointments.
The whole idea of visiting Lecturers and having some retired Professors on a contract is a temporary measure to fill the gap of the non-availability of Academics at the Senior cadre as you train the younger academics to get to that level. And that is only possible with the payroll autonomy of the university where the management can use their discretion to effectively utilize the available resources to keep the system working with temporary staff pending the availability of enough tenure Lecturers at the senior cadre. The stripping of the payroll autonomy will kill that flexibility. It is either tenure staff or nothing. That means you can’t start a new program and employ the services of temporary academics while you train the younger academics to take over unless you can snatch senior academics from other universities which could be very difficult. And the existing programs that lack that required tenure for senior academics are at risk of the next accreditation exercise. So, who is at loss?
In her imagination, Lecturers in Nigeria are forced by their “corrupt leaders” to participate in the strike. Poor her. The lecturers actually make the ASUU leaders declare strike actions. In 2013, there was a threat from Mr. Wike that lecturers would be sacked if they didn’t return to teach. Rather than run back to class, the lecturers were expecting their sack letters. ASUU seems to be the only body that is trying to force the government to be responsible. Ask your colleagues that have attended a meeting with ASUU delegates and they will educate you about their ways.
Some of us actually think that ASUU leaders could not negotiate the sort of welfare that academics deserve because they live an average life and are too considerate. The game will change when the younger academics take over that leadership. Meanwhile, ASUU national executives are the most conservative spenders. They render accounts to the appropriate quarters.
You are not aware of the reason ASUU is on strike because you are too lazy to read. The information is everywhere. My book titled: “Nigeria’s university industrial unrest and poverty of sincerity” will educate you. Come and get a copy for free. It is not surprising that you have no connection with the reality on the ground in our universities.
Dear gullible followers, Lauretta Onochie is based in the UK with her kids, and in her head as an aide to the president, the state of our universities is similar to her college in the UK or she is just doing her job as an attack dog. Let her leave the Villa and go to UniAbuja and check the female hostels and the supposed massive renovation and re-equipment of the Universities’ structures by the government she is serving. I hope they won’t stone her if they realize she is one of the president’s Attack Dogs. She can then write a book on the Buhari administration and infrastructures in Nigerian public universities. The fiction she sat in the villa to create does not exist in our universities.
As an aide to the president, I would have expected her to know that University teaching hospitals are not managed by the universities. They are under the ministry of health and have got their management structure. Meanwhile, the claimed diversion of resources by the management of the teaching hospitals and universities is possible because the government gives room for that.
The affairs of the university are run by a Council that is chaired by an appointee of the federal government. The Council can sack a VC. If a VC is corrupt and the Council is mute, your guess is as good as mine. Then, there is what they call a Visitation Panel. The president who is the Visitor to all the federal universities sends a Visitation Panel to all the federal universities every 5 years to vet the activities of the management and the council. The VC or the Council Chair that is found wanting is supposed to be under the hammer. If that is done regularly as prescribed by the law establishing the university, corruption can be minimized. But ASUU had to go on strike to force FG to send a Visitation Panel to federal universities in 2021. You should thank ASUU for making Buhari add visitation panels to the universities as part of their achievement. Meanwhile, the white papers are submitted and the government has refused to implement them. So, who is encouraging corruption in the university? ASUU or your government?
Dear gullible followers of Lauretta, she just came from the UK to pick up a political appointment and can’t understand the situation of public schools. Her kids ain’t in Nigerian public schools. She is not aware of the state of public primary and secondary schools. The collapse of public primary and secondary schools in Nigeria was due to the starvation of funds and the dehumanization of the teachers. I remember when primary school teachers began to farm to be able to feed their families. We are yet to be able to revive public primary and secondary schools till date. She can’t understand that it is the same ASUU struggle that still gave our universities a semblance of a university. Reading her write-up tells you that in her mind, she thinks an average lecturer is as comfortable as she was while teaching in a college in the UK and she wants to create a space for that in your head. She is not in your league. She is here to make money to go spend in the UK. When the chips are down, she will run back to the UK and leave you behind. When she is done misleading you, she will run back to the UK. You will be doing yourself a favour if you do not follow her to destroy the remnant of our education system.
The attack dog is not aware that an agreement was signed by her government that was not implemented. Before writing, she should have found out about the agreement reached in 2020 and the level of implementation. That would have guided her mouth and her brain. But she seems not that smart. Making reference to the junior education minister that doesn’t know what is happening in his ministry further destroyed her story. I am still trying to figure out the criteria that were used to appoint these aides.
Nearly all public institutions have collapsed because no one cares. And ASUU that cares about the survival of the public university system, is under the hammer. Like Mall. Adamu Adamu, the current Education Minister said in 2013, that instead of hectoring ASUU to call off its strike, the nation should be praying for more of its kind in other sectors of the economy. But unfortunately, the government that the same Adamu Adamu is part of is now hectoring ASUU to call off the strike by withholding their salaries. If a political appointee should display one-tenth of the sacrifices made by ASUU members for the survival of public university education in Nigeria, he will be celebrated as a hero of democracy.
Meanwhile, travelling around the world and living in other countries is supposed to improve our exposure and conduct. Is it only me that observed that she didn’t write like someone that studied in the UK? The attack dog needs to learn how to attack. She seems to still be a learner despite one year to the end of their government.
Past governments have paraded different characters as political appointees. But this government broke the record. She would have been serving as INEC commissioner if not for the Senate that rejected her. It is very unfortunate that these are the kind of people that President Buhari was able to assemble around himself to work with. How do you succeed with these sorts of characters? May this sort of government team never happen to Nigeria again.