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Varsity lecturers’ contaminated and adulterated remunerations – Part 3

By Tony Afejuku
11 March 2022   |   2:14 am
When I was getting creatively set to do this part three of my present series, the following quotation took a flight to my phone: “Teachers are not common people and common people are not teachers.

Leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) led by its’ President, Biodun Ogunyemi

When I was getting creatively set to do this part three of my present series, the following quotation took a flight to my phone: “Teachers are not common people and common people are not teachers. Please don’t choose to become a teacher until you are worth it.”  This quotation was followed by a further clarification: “Teachers in Germany have the highest salary in the country, and when judges and engineers asked the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel for the same salary, she told them: ‘How can I compare you to those who taught you?’” When the former Chancellor of Germany uttered these words of unblemished truth, God’s voice visited her and she uttered what I will here call the expression of truth which serves the “will to truth.
The famous Dr. Angela Merkel’s words transported me to India. I recall with fondness that Indians don’t joke at all with their teachers, who they reverentially address as “Babu” with utmost emphasis. Of course, Indians also respect with unadulterated love their medical doctors and priests, but their teachers at whatever level are adored and venerated. They are treated with uncommon dignity. I learnt this much in my travels to India and in my interactions with their professionals. Even though many misguided people here may wrongly call this astounding South Asian country a third world country in a third world geopolitical zone, it is not by accident that it is a nuclear power country as we speak, and it has been so for a pretty long time. Indians give undiluted, uncontaminated, unadulterated credit to their teachers for this very astonishing feat and other fabulous ones. Let me not divert your attention by dwelling further than I have done on this glittering subcontinent of South Asia – that knows what spirit of greatness is despite its peculiar veering winds.

There is no country, developed or underdeveloped or developing, that is as un-genuine a place for teachers as Nigeria your country my country our country is. Our universities’ lecturers epitomize the teaching profession in the country; they epitomize the tertiary educators in this country but, as I tendered previously, they are the least or worst remunerated tertiary educators here. There is no university professor here whose take-home pay, whose take-home remuneration, is above eight hundred dollars or thereabouts in a month. Do the arithmetic and see for yourself what this is in terms of naira and kobo, our local currency. Once upon a time in the famous decades stretching from the nineteen sixties up to the early nineteen eighties our professors were among or belonged to the top of our country’s remuneration-ladder.  Then scholars and students from different parts of the globe populated our universities. This has since ceased to be the case, as everybody knows, because of poor remunerations contaminated and adulterated over the years with the consequential problems of contaminated and adulterated academic and scholastic standards.

Things have come to a head at the present time when people with purblind sight run our affairs politically, economically, morally, educationally and spiritually. Our universities, public (or private as well), cannot compete and are not competing with even the least good elsewhere because of the torment of remunerations and scholastic provisions that has decreased our varsity lecturers’ aptitude, knowledge and happiness.
In Western countries such as Britain and Germany, for example, the average monthly remuneration of a professor is in the range of twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars. In the United States, the remunerations are more handsome and are better than the aforementioned ones. And in these places the universities underscore their essence as universities build or are encouraged or stimulated to build themselves and to underscore their essence as world universities in which their scholastic universe thrives with the spirit and virtue that inspired their creation. Let me let you be clear of my position: Even elsewhere within the African continent our professors have the most outlandish and oozy remunerations that offensively ooze and ooze. Ghana, not far away, has above three thousand five hundred dollars per month for its professors. And the African average thrives in the region of five or so thousand dollars and above. In Eastern Europe of Russia and Ukraine, for example, university professors enjoy monthly remunerations of above eighteen thousand dollars, which exclude bonuses, allowances for research and publications, etc. in the case of Russia. In each case, the exchange rate fluctuates. (I believe that ASUU’s scholarly, scholastic and ardently research-minded creatures of thriving knowledge have updated figures which they can advocate persuasively without qualms at any given time).

Now I would like to argue that ASUU does not make claims or inspire arguments that it cannot substantiate with well researched facts and prescriptions. In the 1990s and early 2020s when ASUU was asked to demonstrate the genuineness of its claims and harness submissions pertaining to the economic wherewithal and positive power of the central government to yield to its patriotically un-selfish demands, the Union went to work. In no time it came up with the subject and modality of Education Tax Fund which it articulated unsentimentally but with the substantiated rhetoric of workable scientific impressiveness. I think this happened in the presidency of Assisi Assobie or of Dipo Fashina. The history of that time of fecund fecundities cannot be regurgitated in-to-to at this point in time. It belongs to the memorable historians of the Union of the then years. Generally, however, members of the Union at that time took conscious delight in their role as problem solvers to do what they did. But the central or federal government was determined thereafter not to yield to the very well articulated prescriptions of ASUU which took cognizance, among other things, of how remunerations to its members (and non-academic workers in our universities) would in no way be compromised and would not in any way be a burden to our people in power.

Simply stated, the Education Tax Fund now re-christened Tertiary Education Tax Fund that the government has run over the years is not the ETF/TETFUND that ASUU created and gave to the government. Our central government cornered the ETF/TETFUND and has been running it against the super-patriotic spirit that inspired its creation. The taradiddles our people in government, with their purblind imaginations and eyes, have been striking ASUU which are responsible for the flames in our universities. And the thunder of the spirit of liberty that will storm the universities soon will free our professors and lecturers from the bonds of jealousy and open revengefulness unleashed on them. ASUU should stick to its just demands without blinking. No blackmail or pleas that are not pleas should sway their steely hearts of un-rivaled patriotism from the path that is the path. Let their enemies in and outside the universities roar. Their roar can’t outdo the roar of the thunder of patriotism and justice. thunder!!! Blunt the blunt-able that is blunt-able! Cow the un-just and the un-patriotic! De-fiend the fiends! Deflate each one’s inflated ego! So speaks Afejuku.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

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