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ASUU in the undemocratic republic of polifoolicians

By Tony Afejuku
11 November 2022   |   3:44 am
My mind is empty. Yes, my mind is empty. My mind is blank. Yes, my mind is blank. Everything is not everything in my empty and blank mind – even though the land is full to the brim and beyond the brim with events. The land is full to the brim and beyond the brim…

[FILES] ASUU and FG on negotiation table

My mind is empty. Yes, my mind is empty. My mind is blank. Yes, my mind is blank. Everything is not everything in my empty and blank mind – even though the land is full to the brim and beyond the brim with events. The land is full to the brim and beyond the brim with events that birth and breed tears. But wise must be the mind whose emptiness and or blankness that controls and concentrates everything into a rhetoric that is proper to its state tries to create a meaning in consonance with its emotion.

The columnist who did not want to appear today has to appear. He has to recreate a meaning in line with the blankness of his mind that is imposing a kind meaning upon an agonizingly meaningless landscape of polifoolicians that our land has become.

Actually, our landscape of polifoolicians is this undemocratic republic that is really an undemocratic republic of liars, un-keepers of agreements, hypocrites, betrayers and traitors.

ASUU, beautiful ASUU, transparent ASUU, courageous ASUU, of lions and lionesses, is still very much in combat with the betrayers of the people and all of us who voted and did not vote them into political power and relevance that they have employed and are still employing to decimate the land which has bled and is still bleeding on their knives and numerous weapons of death – physical, psychological, emotional, moral, judicial, academic, intellectual – it is a long list. And bit by bit everything finally sticks together in the consciousness of sagacious ASUU.

Of course, we all are aware of the conscious effort that the Speaker of the House of Representatives made to seek a truce between the FGN and ASUU after the latter obeyed the decision of the courts to suspend its strike of above seven months without pay. ASUU’s lawyer who endorsed his client’s posture and the Speaker’s effort said that a political solution (from the Speaker’s angle/role) would go side-by-side the case in court. Several persons said that what the Speaker was doing was obviously good. But, I personally, was sceptically sceptical. I said so by way of an open hint in my “ASUU wins” which appeared here on October 31, 2022. No Nigerian politician of the current bunch should be trusted, I said.

Now in the meeting the Speaker hosted between ASUU and the central government’s team, we saw what was relayed to us on television. The labour minister walked out on the Speaker claiming that he had another meeting to attend. Before then, he accused the President of ASUU of bad-mouthing the ruling APC central government which is the minister’s Party. His accusation was shot from the blues. Everybody denied the accusation in favour of Professor of Osodeke. Three things I found shocking though.

First, after his outlandish submission(s), the labour minister left the meeting on the excuse that he had the Speaker’s permission. But there was no evidence, from my observation, that he was decorous in his overall bearing. Secondly, the Speaker pretended as if the labour minister acted well and decorously. If the labour minister had the courage to say what he said to ASUU’s President, he should have had the courage as well to hear the ASUU’s President reply before leaving the meeting. And the Speaker should have decorously insisted on this. In any case, the meeting was a highly significant one and the labour minister should have stayed till the end of it. Clearly, the small big man had no respect for the Speaker who obviously failed to establish his authority over him especially when the indecorous minister ominously pointed a finger at the ASUU President and also menacingly patted him on the back as he was exiting the meeting. The grounds of the Speaker’s failure were not obviously discernible then, but I knew that an interesting game was on.

After the meeting, the Speaker visited the President of the land. He assured those who believed him that the President of Taciturnity would speak on the matter before the end or so of the week that he was in Aso Rock to have an audience with the President. The assurance he gave that the President would settle the imbroglio amicably was firmly firm. Those who lauded him did so in vain.

Up to my moment (this past Tuesday morning) of writing this column we waited for the President’s intervention in vain. Meanwhile, the full eight months salaries the dons are entitled to and which the Speaker affirmed would be paid them are turning out seemingly to be an intractable commitment. Indeed, of the intractability there can be no doubt. The labour minister’s recent utterance relating to the half-payment of the October salaries of the dons or what he mockingly called their October pro-rata payment is an evidence of this (a cleverly clever way of shutting ASUU out of the meat of its imbroglio with the central government).

What, however, I find puzzling, and disquieting, in several ways, is the Speaker’s recent press release in which he stated, among other things, that the dons would likely be paid “partial salaries.” What does he precisely mean by “partial payments” to the dons? Is his pronouncement in this wise consistent with his earlier statement to ASUU? In the same press release he is telling those who care or are under compulsion to hearken to him that the executive is “not obligated to pay salaries to lecturers for the time spent on strike” because the executive’s position is “premised on the law.”

Furthermore, Mr. Gbajabiamila was reported to have said that the “decision was also premised on the government’s legitimate interest in preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.” Did the Speaker tell ASUU’s representatives this all the times he interacted with them? I doubt it. In any case, ASUU would have given him a fitting reply that was more than a fitting reply.

A central government that does not obey orders of court, a central government that does not continually surrender itself to court rulings and valid agreements as well as to the recommendations of its own valuable committees on the ASUU issue, at least, cannot be talking of morality as the Speaker has done.

Everything about his press release is illusory, superfluous and is skewed against the dons, whose earned academic allowances (well-earned before the strike) are yet to be fully paid. Yet this man, our Mr. Speaker, was the greatly great political transvaluer committed to imposing a meaning upon a meaningless undemocratic republic of his fellow polifoolicians who defy justice that is justice, rule of law that is rule of law, morality that is morality and truth that is truth.

Clearly, tyrannical pressure has descended upon him, and being a being of less defiant temperament, his longing for a basic truth with a healthy, moral universal validity for ASUU is presently no longer what he intended or must have intended. Now he detours and comes to grips with what it means to veer off course. This explains why he and his lieutenants in the House of Representatives now “call for papers” for a summit on education for stakeholders.

He is apparently too, too weak to stand up to the executive and do for ASUU what is due ASUU emotionally, psychologically, academically, intellectually and materially. His instinct for survival and to be on ASUU’s favourable radar as well as the executive now compels him to “call for papers” to engage, divert and deflect ASUU from his original undertaking. Will ASUU accept this? In any case, at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker will only prove to us that he is a typical Nigerian polifoolician who is truly alive in the world of serious and tragic mischief of the undemocratic republic of your country my country our country’s polifoolicians: Foolish politicians whose heritage will birth a spontaneous revolution sooner or not much later. Let them be doing their meanderings. Head or tail ASUU’s conduct will keep on exposing their failings.

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Spontaneity! Thoth! Thunder!

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.