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Pragmatic, reserved and a deep thinker who loves family, sports especially football where am married to two wives: the first, AC Milan who has my loyalty and the second wife, Manchester United who has all my undying love and pampering, lifestyle and society parties. Need I say the law is more than a profession but a lifestyle for me.

Adekanye Adeyinka Olajide.

I do it for me

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That the Federal Government and Association Staff Union of Universities have both been at a loggerhead for close to two months now is no news anymore. Many Nigerians: students, parents, lecturers, and even government officials have had accusations of all sorts at each other’s quarters. At times, there have been marginal differences in motives and intents of those pointing accusing fingers to the other party. In fact, the general populace is wracked by the incessant downing of tools, which is far becoming a perpetual habit, by lecturers in other to have their demands met and the blatant, nonchalance disregard by government of the shrinking standard of education in Nigeria in the light of how the lives of the youth fritters away.

Regardless of the recurrence of strikes, the sight of seeing university citadels that are supposed to harbour the future of the nation under lock and key, the resultant effect on the productivity of youths and consequently downturn on the economy is not palatable. One thing is obtrusive and common, though not openly admitted to; our educational system is indeed diseased. Our administrators, together with our habitual shameless leaders, are out of sorts like a man who finds himself marooned in abyss. Indeed, what we have been encountering in our educational system is akin only to the sort of turbulence experienced in air or analogous to a titanic ship gracing the waters only suddenly, to be in a tsunami.

Inexplicably until date, year in, year out, like a natural disaster, I have seen my country experience the same problems. It is as if we deliberately recycle these issues and take pride in them. I remember as an undergraduate in Olabisi Onabanjo University in 2001 that I suffered the same fate when Academic Staff Union of Universities embarked on a strike that spanned a year divided in two halves of six months each. Before then, my uncle had told me of how he had been a victim of a two-year strike in his school days. Obviously, strikes in our universities are a cancerous plague, an infection that has so deeply eaten into every part of the system. So much so now, that it seems without an elongated strike, value of education cannot be appreciably valued.

I still gape at how we as a nation have consistently abandoned the beaming light, upon which the foundation of any country is built almost like it were a curse – the youth! It has become a practice to sleep comfortably while the roof is on fire. I have heard various countries of the world dedicate an appreciable portion of budgetary allocation to education alone, countless countries that have reached their peak in terms of development and advancement conscientiously continue to reinvest and pump money into education and research. Despondently on the other hand, I see my country allocate paltry sums to educational development and advancement, my nation regularly dedicates meagre sum to education and make it compete in terms of budgetary provisions, compete with finances put aside to finance the government house alternative generating sources. Sincerely, there is no promise of our tomorrow today. We sure need a miracle and I take relief in the fact that JESUS saves.

It is gloomier however, when; I turn on my television set and see our “supposed” representatives dubbed “honourable” throw punches and chairs at each other over disputes on furniture allowances and attempts to cut their much-coveted fringe benefits. Whereas they seat with the ease of a kingmaker when debates of how to improve on educational systems and betterment of the lives lecturers. Whenever there is a demand for a monetary raise by other professional bodies, all hell is loose and then they dig into the vocabulary bag to exhibit their lexicon dexterity. In all honesty, I do not blame them. Only he who wears the shoes knows where it hurts and how to lubricate it.

What are we to expect when all of their kids are through taxpayers money, sponsored to the queens land to go better their educational prowess in record time only to come be our masters as if we are some fugitives waiting for crumbs at our masters table. Ostensibly, it becomes clear now like the eagles vision that it is all a set up shop. We are being re-colonised by our own people: who have carefully schemed us out of our own rights. If not, how else can we explain the disaster that so often cling to us and drag us down into the mud? Most, if not all companies will not employ anyone older than 24 years for graduate jobs which is inclusive of post service year. Definitely, it is almost an impossible feat to have a graduate at 22 in Nigeria, who has passed through the educational rigours of this society coupled with ceaseless strikes. Only a few can afford to go study abroad or in the few private universities around here. Thus, they have streamlined job opportunities for their children, and when we are battling with completing a semester in a year; they are already through with a year in the university calendar.

It is because of this discrepancy that ASUU has tried to lock horns with the government countless times. The longest haven started in July 2008. I for one cannot fault the motives of ASUU who asides from seeking that resolutions of 2009 be fulfilled and implemented, are above all more interested in funding and restructuring of the university system. They seek to up the persistent slide in the standard of education, which have nosedived amazingly in the last decades. In fact, no Nigerian university is among the top 1000 universities in the world. A position last attained in the 19th century. One of the demands of ASUU is the provision of better facilities so that both students and lecturers will enjoy them. A random visit to most of the Nigerian universities will bring tears to the eyes, as what used to be the cynosure of all eyes, is now nothing but dilapidated structures, empty laboratories with absolutely no lab materials even if laboratories still exist. Hostels where students are to rest and have a semblance of a home in, are stuffy and overcrowded with nothing less than 12 in a room built to accommodate four. There are no kitchens nor proper toiletries and its facilities. Hence, you see students defecating all around campuses like educated mammals. Hardly can you find a Nigerian university with standard modern sports facilities or relaxation centres.

Government in their usual obdurate style of administration and total disconnect with its people have become more uncanny through their poker-faced agents who show despicable effrontery in discountenancing so publicly the efforts of lecturers to save a rather irredeemable declining educational system. I am amazed at how a minister who is about our unofficial prime minister Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo Iweala will say “At present, ASUU wants the Federal Government to pay N92bn in extra allowances, when the resources are not there, and when we are working to integrate past increases in pensions. We need to make choices in this country as we are getting to the stage where recurrent expenditures take the bulk of our resources and people get paid, but can do no work.” While right under her nose the government cannot cut cost by downsizing from those unnecessary ministerial offices created and limit foreign trips of other co-ministers who embark on trips earning allowances in dollars and flying round in rented private jets on hard-earned taxpayers’ money. Yet she can so boldly say government lack the resources to meet ASUU’s demand of N92b owed over the years? Therefore, I wonder where the same government gets all the billions expended in servicing our upper and lower chamber of the House of Representatives in remunerations, benefits, and alarming allowances. I guess the minister has forgotten that this was a resolution signed by government and hence, becoming an agreement. How much longer will our leaders continue to disregard scandalously the rule of law?

The only reasonable thing that a nation with visionary leadership and focussed administrators will do is stop paying lip services to matters that affect the life and future of the nation and realise as John Dewey said, "education is not a preparation for life, education is life itself." Rather than setting up committees to look into pressing issues needing earnest attention and embarking on frolics to #China or fabricating facts on success achieved, divert some of these money to turning educational system around in this country. All we ask is that if the cost of maintaining a high standard of education is such an encumbrance then cut down the cost of servicing and maintaining the honourables drastically. The cost of moving in convoys by government officials be eradicated, ministries should be shrunk and merged into each other or absorbed by similar ones rather the continuing duplication of roles in offices in order to satisfy the yearnings of their godfathers.