University teachers react to Labour communiqué
Sir: I picked two reactions of university teachers to the communiqué signed by the Organised Labour, including the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and government representatives. One Dr. Olatunji A. Ganiyu reacted: “Without being pessimistic of it, I can’t see sincerity in the tone of the communiqué. Some of the questions bothering my mind are: Why did government wait until the Organised Labour threatened strike before mentioning the palliatives? Why did they not roll out the palliative at least three months before implementing the policies? Why did Labour not query the government team on what happened to previous palliatives promised by government after removal of subsidy from petroleum in the past? Of course deregulation, privatisation, and commercialisation are good but is there sincerity of purpose on the part of the Labour leaders? Many of the leaders have compromised; they think more of their pockets than the betterment of the system. Only God knows what will become of our social system if we continue this way as a nation.”
For Dr. Solomon Oyelekan: “I suspect the communiqué was drafted before the meeting. Such a long communiqué could not have been put together after 2 a.m. this morning.” On my part, I am wondering whether these university teachers know that even the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) is being suspected in some quarters of foul play. Since I could not keep quiet, I responded that what is cloudy to human beings is plain to God, as it is said in Yoruba parlance. All of them, including the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), and even the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) are opposing reopening of schools; all of them hiding behind “COVID-19 protocols” that do not apply in Nigeria’s crowded markets, commercial vehicles, churches and mosques. The Yoruba people are mostly proverbial in the names that they give their dogs. Among such names is Ẹ̀hìnlàárò (think of repercussion).
Prof. Ọlọ́jẹ̀ẹ́dé Oyeniran Abíọ́jẹ̀ wrote from University of Ilorin.