Anybody Watching the jamboree atmosphere at the All Progressives Congress (APC) national convention venue in Abuja last weekend would have been appalled at the atmosphere. The chaotic and tumultuous environment symbolized the hypocrisies, contradictions and all that is wrong with Nigeria. Too many people crammed into the room and moved like ocean waves from corner to corner of the convention. There was no spark of order or direction among the people in the crowd, as accredited delegates, thugs, profiteers and people seeking to further their personal interests moved aimlessly through the convention center.
The atmosphere at the APC convention venue in Abuja gave no indication that public universities in Nigeria are currently on strike. There is no indication that ordinary citizens have been overwhelmed by insecurity, lawlessness, indiscipline, armed robberies, kidnappings and ritual killings. In a country where civil society is rocked by economic hardship, high levels of poverty, suffering, deprivation and violent crime, the carnival atmosphere in Abuja was not an accurate reflection of the real situation on the field in various local communities and metropolitan centers across the country.
Nigerian political parties and their leaders have never failed to present a false and distorted image of the country. But for the disorder that marked the national convention of the APC, one would have thought that Nigeria was celebrating a historical event or that a new president was being inaugurated. The glitzy posters, colorful dresses and other decorations that were lavishly displayed at the event were carefully choreographed to give the impression that all was well in Nigeria.
Political dishonesty is a disease. Never has Nigeria been misled, misguided and misinformed by politicians of low morals and integrity. They are politicians who are more determined to advance their own self-interest than the welfare of ordinary people. One of the most absurd aspects of life in Nigeria is that despite decades of broken promises made by the political class, citizens have remained gullible, trusting politicians, hoping that their socio-economic conditions will improve. magically into the future, and believing that, by the forces of nature, all their suffering would one day disappear.
Unfortunately, that unknown future refused to happen because it was blunted by political shenanigans. What citizens do not know cannot exist. If there is no today, there can never be tomorrow. Politicians promise citizens a better future, a strategy designed to control people’s mindset, thoughts, emotional state, and ability to think, reason, and draw conclusions. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was right to describe Nigeria as a country where many people are suffering and smiling at the same time. What a tragedy. What a paradox.
Nigerians are their own worst enemies. They rally with members of the same political class that keeps them perpetually impoverished. When members of this privileged class say they are determined to empower ordinary citizens, they mean that they are dedicated to keeping ordinary people down, abandoned, vulnerable and dependent on the beneficent acts of the upper class.
As the APC’s ambitious presidential candidates plot to outdo and outbid each other in an effort to secure delegate votes, none of them remember that public universities are currently closed. These same people do not bother to discuss how to end the frequent strikes by academic and non-academic staff that have disrupted teaching and research work, as well as student learning at public universities in Nigeria. .
The APC convention in Abuja focused on political power and how to resolve the uncompromising clashes of aspirations of some candidates seeking to represent the party as the presidential flag bearer in the 2023 national elections. party leaders will also seek to assuage existing anger over which region or ethnic group should field the party’s candidate for the 2023 presidential election. keys that would be used to elect the party’s presidential candidate will, undeniably, unify or break the APC as a political party, going forward, before and beyond 2023.
To be clear, it is not just the APC that will have to deal with the question of how to resolve the delicate subject of determining the criteria to be applied to elect each party’s presidential candidate. Other political parties will have to face this issue sooner or later.
There are factors that will determine how each party settles certain vaulting ambitions among its leading candidates. At the center of this tug of war would be the region each presidential candidate is from, how many times each region has produced a president, each candidate’s religious faith, and the candidate’s ethnic background. In Nigerian politics, these issues are considered very sensitive. Resolving them would require clear compromises, cooperation, reciprocity, as well as clarification and delineation of the type of carrots to be offered to appease an aggrieved region/ethnic group and its candidate in future elections.
Beyond the noise emanating from the APC national convention, political leaders continue to behave like the three wise monkeys who chose to see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing. It will be a self-defeating or counter-productive strategy that will undermine the higher national interest.
Pretending that a tangible problem does not exist does not mean that it has disappeared. Even as students in public universities are currently quarantined in their lecture halls and research labs, the Association of Senior Staff of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) have reported that they would start their own strike from midnight last Sunday. , March 27, 2022. This would complicate the already bad situation of public universities. The ongoing strike by the University Academic Staff Union (ASUU) and the latest strike by SSANU and NASU will destabilize academic staff and students and undermine administrative work in the public university system.
Although SSANU and NASU called their action a “warning strike” scheduled to last two weeks, it is not that different from the ongoing ASUU strike. More importantly, the SSANU and NASU strike will not allay the concerns of undergraduate and postgraduate students at public universities. Clearly, the action of SSANU and NASU is intended to compel federal education authorities to grant academic and non-academic academic staff their continued demands.
The stage is now set for a confrontation between academic and non-academic staff at public universities and the federal government. Based on past government behavior, we can easily predict that an apathetic government would not be bothered by ongoing strikes of any kind. The government will not act quickly to address poor standards of teaching and learning. Similarly, the government will have no incentive to modernize the dilapidated infrastructure of universities.
It is clear that the federal government is more interested in the politics of the 2023 national election than in taking strong action to address the enormous problems that impede quality education in public universities. If given a choice between advancing the political interests of APC and improving the quality of university education, everyone knows the choice the government would make. This choice, precisely, reinforces the long-held view that a country run by anti-intellectuals will always act and always exhibit the key characteristics of illiterate politicians and national leaders.