Following the myriads of challenges bedevilling the country, a former National Financial Secretary of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Poju Akinyanju, has declared that the current situation the country has found itself, “is more insidious than military rule”.
He equally said the current leaders in the nation cannot solve the problems, saying “the national crisis is beyond this ruling class”.
He went back memory lane to decry the various challenges the Nigerian University System is facing, which has hindered development in the system, adding that critical agencies like the National Universities Commission who are created to facilitate its development are instead undermining it.
Akinyanju disclosed while delivering a paper entitled: Omotoye Olorode at 80: The Quintessential Intellectual and the Future of the Nigerian University System, organised by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) University of Jos branch, held at it Secretariat in Jos, the Plateau State Capital.
He said, “But a nation must exist for us to have space for the universities to exist and operate.
“At this moment, the nation, Nigeria, is in a precarious state. Some qualify it as a failed state given the spate and spread of violence and seeming absence of governments.
“This is on top of severe economic pressure that the citizens are subjected to. Life has become brutish and unpredictable”, he decried.
“It is to the rescue of the nation that I believe the Nigerian intelligentsia and progressive organisations should direct their energies.
According to him, “The calls by the legislature and the executive arms of our government to seek foreign help to fight the pervasive insecurity in the nation is tragic.
“Some have even advised our government to hire mercenaries to fight the insurgency! The government has responded by inviting the United States to help.
“This is an unfortunate call by our leaders for our country to be recolonized! Equally unfortunate is that arising from loss of faith in the ruling class, a number of our citizens also labour under the illusion that external forces will come and liberate them”, he explained.
He further explained that, “All this confusion implies that we cannot think through our problems, discuss, debate, negotiate and resolve the issues involved; that we need external help to pull our chestnut out of the fire.
“The major concern of the ruling class is the grave insecurity that now affects them. But the issue is beyond insecurity.
Akinyanju who was among the famous ‘Ilorin 49’ maintained that, “Decades of reckless and irresponsible governance produced the troops for insurgency and generated the bandits that waylay, rob and kidnap citizens; and has generated serious antipathies among various groups in the nation.
He said, “Physical annihilation of the outlaws alone will not resolve the problem. The factors that led to where we are have to be addressed.
“Immediate ameliorative steps have to be taken, but more importantly long term systemic measures have to be instituted”, he admonished.
He however said, “It is clear that the resolution of the national crisis is beyond this ruling class.
Adding that, “This is the time for a Pan Nigerian coalition of intellectuals and progressive organisations to address the state of the nation and proffer ways out.
According to him, “This coalition fought the military out of government. Although the state of the nation today is more insidious than military rule, the same coalition can rescue the nation.
Akinyanju further stated that Prof. Olorode (the celebrant) had in 2012, opined that, ” The Nigerian crisis had risen and deepened because of the demobilization or failure of intellectual “.
He appreciated the ASUU University of Jos branch for honouring Prof. Olorode in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the development of the Nigerian University System and the Nigerian nation; adding that, “It does not seem to be in the culture of Nigeria to honour people who are not material donors.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairperson of University of Jos branch of ASUU, Assoc. Prof. Lazarus Maigoro said, “This is a quarterly lecture organised by ASUU University of Jos branch to address issues of national importance; we invite people of life to come and talk to us.
“We had held a similar lecture like this to address the farmer/herder issues, and we invited the herders, farmers and people from all walks of life, and it was Prof. Omotoye Olorode that came here and talked to us, and came up with a communiqué that has continuously remained a document of reference.
Maigoro maintained that, “His choice today is because he is 80 years old; for this quarter when clocked 80, we said let’s call him a veteran of the Union, let’s bring him here and celebrate him.
“People who have been fighting the course of human liberation and that of University education in this country; and because they are not politicians, nobody celebrates them, but we know their value and recognise it; for our Union, for education and development of Nigeria”, he stressed.