The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the country’s quest for accelerated growth and development may not be realised until its leaders stop paying lip service to the development of education.
The union’s National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
Mr Ogunyemi was speaking against the backdrop of the persistent crisis bedevilling the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho.
NAN reports that lecturers of the university are set to embark on an indefinite strike over the non-payment of their salaries, decaying infrastructure among other issues.
The university, jointly owned by the governments of Oyo and Osun, is alleged to be facing total neglect.
According to the ASUU boss, there is no way Nigeria can achieve the much needed transformation if its leaders continue to see education as a ‘foot mat’.
He said: “Our union will have no choice than to permit the LAUTECH branch of ASUU to go ahead with the proposed indefinite strike.
“You cannot force someone with a family and who is hungry to go and teach. There is a limit to which you can suppress them.
“Their families are suffering and citizens of these two states must jointly rise against what is evil and get the respective governors to do the needful.
“We, on our part as a union, have written several letters to those concerned but it seems the leadership of both states are impervious to wise counsel.
“We have taken up the matter but yet to come up with a final decision because there are specific things we will want Nigerians to know.”
According to him; it is sad to know that both state governments, who are the co-owners of the institution, are shying away from the truth and their responsibilities.
He alleged that such development was the general disposition of governments at various levels across the country, toward education.
The unionist added that the ruling class in the country had taken education to be their foot mat, paying lip service to its importance and development.
Ogunyemi said that most leaders across the country, had become insensitive toward the development of education which should be the bedrock of the nation’s economy.
“It is sad that the governments of Oyo and Osun have abandoned the university they inherited which should serve as a model as no university in Nigeria is at present being funded by two state governments.
“How do you explain the fact that the workers in that university are being owed 10 months’ of unpaid salaries.
“How do you expect such people to give in their best in the training of our future leaders?’’
Mr Ogunyemi said that the governors should show concerns about the plights of the common Nigerians so that they would be able to take care of their families.
He also condemned the establishment of a technical university by the government of Oyo in the face of the existing one begging for attention.
The don described it as the height of insensitivity by the governor to the plights of the citizens of the state.
According to him, it is sad to see such development which often times is designed to score cheap political points.
“How can we be talking about the neglect and lack of funding of LAUTECH which is almost dying and some persons just go ahead to establish another university.
“This does not make any sense at all, in fact, it is grossly insensitive,” he said.