The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), yesterday, lambasted the Federal Government, saying there is nothing for Nigerians to celebrate, as the country marks its 62nd Independence anniversary tomorrow, October 1.
University lecturers have for more than seven months embarked on strike action, which has paralysed academic activities in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
In an interview with The Guardian, ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said from politics and economy to security, education, healthcare and religion, the country has failed to live up to the dreams of its founding fathers at the dawn of Independence in 1960.
He said it was regrettable that 62 years after the nation’s independence, it was still grappling with leadership challenges.
He said: “When you take a look at all the sectors, you ask yourself, what are we celebrating? In Nigeria today, a flight from Abuja to Lagos is about N100,000 and anybody going by road is not sure of his safe arrival. Civil servants are earning N30,000 a month, which is less than a bag of rice.
“There is nothing to celebrate, our children are at home; those in secondary schools have been taken over by private schools where little or nothing is happening. I think we should just use this period to reflect on all the things that have gone wrong in the country and how to address them. Our young men and women are at home and the government is not bothered. It is a very sad development.”
He called on the Federal Government to increase the annual budgetary allocation to education as recommended by UNESCO.
“It is very easy to address some of the challenges we are facing. Go to the countries around us, they have made education a priority. Ghana dedicates over 20 per cent of its national budget to education and we give just 5.3 per cent, which means we don’t have any value for education.
“Any government that is serious about education will allocate a huge part of its budget to education and train the youth,” he said.