The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has taken a swipe at the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, for what they called his mere rhetoric and political statements without action.
The university teachers said they doubted the ability of the Minister to transform the education sector and scored him low in his first tenure in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
ASUU spoke against the backdrop of a statement credited to the President Buhari, that he would use education to end poverty.
Describing it as a political statement, the union said the president lacked the commitment to use education to solve the challenges of poverty in the country.
“The minister is not different from his employer (the president). Nigerians do not need the president to tell them what has been proven by serious countries as a way to edge out poverty.
“Beyond uttering such statement, President Buhari and his team through their education policies have shown hatred to fund and offer Nigerians qualitative education,’’ ASUU Chairman, University of Ibadan chapter, Prof. Deji Omole, said in a statement.
Omole noted that Adamu had made several political statements in his first term which he never acted on, recalling that the minister had promised to declare a state of emergency in the sector without action.
He insisted that the country will and cannot develop beyond the quality of education offered by the government to its citizens.
Omole said:“He (Adamu) is back to a familiar terrain. We are also in that same terrain. He spent more than three years in his first term and made so many political statements which were never implemented.
“One of such statements was the fact that they were going to declare state of emergency in the education sector and till he left office in his first term that was not done.
“In fact, there was no attempt towards that direction. Rather than moving towards declaring state of emergency, what we saw was further reduction in the budgetary allocation to education.
“I don’t think anyone should expect any radical change from what happened to education in his first term and from what is going to happen.
“The administration has demonstrated its hatred for education by constantly reducing the budgetary allocation to education. Most of their policies are anti-university.
“For example, in UI today, it is almost impossible to recruit new staff, meanwhile people are dying as a result of excess work and people are retiring and you are not employing new people.’’
The statement added:“So I don’t expect sharp departure from what it used to be. He does not need to tell us. We all know. All the developed world have been able to solve their problems through education and that is why we have always been engaging different governments that the only antidote to poverty is putting adequate attention to educating the masses.
“No nation can ever grow beyond the quality of education given to its citizens. Nobody will come from America to develop Nigeria.
“Nigeria can only be developed by Nigerians themselves and they can only develop if they have quality education to grow the economy. So it is not enough to make a political statement, you must follow it up with action.”