Jonathan: When A Teacher Forgets His Roots

Posted by Itoro Akpan on January 31, 2012.

Some of the credentials that President Jonathan displayed before Nigerians as a proof of his experience and by extension competence to handle the job of a president, was his possession of a PhD and a claim to be a lecturer. Nigerians saw his coming on board as a golden era for the education sector in the country after many years of motion without movement under past administrations.

Disappointingly, from when he assumed office, first as an Acting President, then as a substantial President, till now, many months after he was re-elected as President, the lecturer-turned President has not brought the desired revival to the education sector. The President appears to have become submerged in the bliss of the office of a president and has forgotten the pitiable situation of the sector from where he used to make a living.

Tertiary institutions are supposed to be ivory towers, and the products of such institutions are supposed to be intellectual giants; but quite sadly, Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions have been churning out half-baked graduates because those on the saddle have refused to find appropriate and lasting cure to ailments threatening the existence of these ivory towers. Countless reports have classified Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions among the worst in the world.

Since December 2011, the Academic Staff Union of Universities has been on strike over the refusal of the federal government to implement the contents of the agreement the government reached with them. As a former lecturer, it is expected that the President should understand ASUU and the cause they are fighting much better. It is expected that as someone that has passed through that route, the President should be more aware of the dearth of requisite facilities in the universities, that he should be more aware of the disadvantages of having a break in the academic session due to strike, and it is expected that the President would have done all within his power to prevent the strike in the first place. But as it is, all he has done is turn his back on his colleagues and allow them to battle it out with the Ministers.

It is against the backdrop of the foregoing that many found it very vexing, to say the least, that President Jonathan recently decried the poor African and international ranking of Nigerian universities. He is reported to have said that the recent ratings which indicated that “no Nigerian university is among the top 10 providers of tertiary education in Africa, not to mention globally”; was unacceptable. The question is; how can Nigerian universities be rated among the best when there has not been any visible or sustainable effort to provide the needed facilities in these universities? How can Nigerian universities be among the best when students are made to stay more at home than in the school, how can the universities be among the best when those in charge of the resources that would have been used for the development of these universities and their cronies are diverting such funds into their private accounts and for their personal usage?

Many have argued that the non-implementation of the agreement reached with ASUU, the poor handling of the resultant strike and the absence of any tangible formula by the Jonathan’s administration to better the Nigerian universities, when weighed against his condemnation of the low rating of Nigerian universities; is worse than the case of a hypocritical father who, though well and able to, does nothing to help his ailing child, but constantly reminds him that he has failed to meet up with his peers.

Choosing the elite occasion of the 41st convocation ceremony of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, to speak about the poor rating of Nigerian universities may have been very convenient, but to discerning minds, it amounted to nothing, more than an attempt to score a cheap political point – that of displaying deep concern for the wellbeing of the universities. Whether this was achieved is still very debatable. More so when one considers that the community that he was addressing had presented some demands geared towards achieving what he was talking about, but which he, till that moment had refused to meet, which had resulted in the disruption of their academic activities. What a contradiction. It is better imagined what was going on in the minds of the staff and students of that institution when the Minister of Education Minister, Prof Ruqqayatu Rufai, was reading the President’s address.

Now that President Jonathan has openly accepted that Nigeria “cannot be a great nation on the back of poorly trained youths… for this reason…the transformation of our nation must start in the classrooms”; it should be very clear to him that he has just tied himself with a very strong rope and has also taken a vow, which will turn round to hunt him if after his tenure, the rating of Nigerian universities still does not improve.

He is reported to have said that, “Transformation is not just another slogan; we cannot tolerate the attitude of ‘business as usual’; let me assure you that our decision to support the education sector is resolute; we will continue to work until our universities become centres of excellence.” Such expression of commitment had been heard many times before from past Presidents, but Nigerians greatly want the President to “practice what he preached”. What is expected is immediate, physical and aggressive plan of action to turn things round for the better in the universities.

As a man that has read up to a PhD level, there is no doubt that President Jonathan is fully aware that a sound education system is the key to the transformation of Nigeria’s economy to make it competitive. It is therefore incumbent on him to empathize with his colleagues, sympathize with the suffering Nigerian students and show in concrete terms the commitment of the Federal Government under his leadership to bring about the desired transformation in the country’s education sector. Nigerian universities will definitely be among the best in the world if the President shows the same dogged commitment to the development of these institutions like he did to the removal of the subsidy on petrol.

Kudos to the National Assembly for extending the retirement age of Professors to seventy years; the Federal Executive should take a cue from this and work to meet the demands of ASUU which, to a large extent, are geared towards making the Nigerian universities better. There is great need to get the students off the streets, up from their beds and out of their homes; back to the class.

The President is said to have canvassed increased private sector collaboration and participation in funding education in Nigeria and also urged university administrators not to rely only on funding and allocations from the government but to increase their internal revenue generation efforts. This advised is in no way condemnable and is worth being given a serious thought by those concerned.

President Jonathan had promised to transform Nigeria and the mandate given him to rule was basically so that he could actualize this promise. As it is, since its inception, his administration has mostly brought headache to the head and bitterness to the minds of Nigerians. Undoubtedly, it is only by attaining an acceptable level of performance that he will receive the praise of Nigerians. Now that he has identified an area that Nigerians have been seriously longing to see made more efficient, the expectation is that he will, with all his might, work to ensure that Nigerian universities meet international standards.

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42 Responses to Jonathan: When A Teacher Forgets His Roots

  1. Nansok Joseph Emmanuel

    January 31, 2012 at 14:14

    Nigerian universities can never be among the best in Africa & the Globe in general, unless transformation policy of the present administration is extended to educational sector. Equip universities with ICT, Digital Libraries, employ more qualified manpower n other facilities capable of making Nigerian universities up to the international standard. That would go along way to make our varsities one of the competitive n the best in africa n globe in general. Mr president, please don’t forget ur root. Please, do all within ur jurisdiction to, get us (Nigerian Students) off the street, off our beds, out of homes before we join the campaign against education with the BOKO HARM (education is sin) sect. For an idle mind is devil’s workshop. GREATEST NIGERIAN STUDENTS….ALUTA CONTINUA VICTORIA ACERTA. Thank u all & God Bless Nigerian.

  2. Ekiye Obari

    January 31, 2012 at 14:20

    All you did all along was to tel us that Mr. President has failed in his promises n comitment to d education sector. This is what nigerians are already aware of. So please instead of restating the problem, suggest solutions to it. The way foward is what i want to read.

  3. ayodele samuel

    January 31, 2012 at 14:26

    it is a shame that none of nigerians universities is ranked among the best in african talkless globally. What are the current administration doing about this? I can’t beleive that nigeria institute will be in this great dilema. This scenario is too bitter to hear about nigeria as a whole, the administration of president jonathan must and will do something about this if not, the country educational section is at risk of crumbling and crumbling and crumbling. President jonathan should provides needs and wants equipment and infrasturcture that the institutes required from them. For God sake president jogoodluck jonathan, make nigerians happy and glad for once.

  4. Benison

    January 31, 2012 at 14:35

    Please mr president, make hast towards meeting the needs of nigerian students. We are tired of staying home, beside no work to do.

  5. john

    January 31, 2012 at 14:37

    let him start with constant power supply to the universities. In university of maiduguri we spend weeks running of generators for three hours alternate days. I have never seen a thing like that and you hope to see developement.

  6. Adebayo wasiu a

    January 31, 2012 at 14:51

    Mr president *voice of man is d voice of GOD* pls comply wt d vox populi at least for d sake of posterity.

  7. okolie kenneth

    January 31, 2012 at 14:53

    It is very absurd for a country like Nigeria blessed with so many natural resources not to understand the important of education in her country.
    Mr president who was a lecturer before becoming the first citizen of these country,knows that to maintain universities needs a lot of resources in other for proper learning to take many student’s are in the house with idle mind in the house.they should remember the saying that an idle mind is the devils workshop.
    With we be my greatest pleasure to hear that federal government has granted asuu they requests and students are going back to their various institute for learning.
    Okolie Kenneth.
    university of benin,uniben

  8. ibenwa onyeka

    January 31, 2012 at 14:58

    u only high lighted d presidences failure and not ways of improvement…second asuu are fighting for their pockets and not ways of improving d educational system…but my question is, what is d difference btw universities and polytechnics…what is d president doing to close dis differences…do asuu have its students in heart or is it just fighting for pay rise… Asuu should explain why an hnd graduate is on low level payment in salary structure…a university and polytechnic student certificate should b equal…cos dat is why d country cant produce qualified graduate.

  9. Abdul-saheed, Tawose.

    January 31, 2012 at 15:05

    The Fed Govt should do what is expected of them so, that the institutions can also be in good condition, how can Nig. versity be among the best when the leaders that are suppose to uphold it glory are busy looting the Nation resouces for thier personal use.they should stop telling us of the desploreable situations of the versity but, put action in gear to transformed our Nation versity to envyable standard in Africa and in the Globe. Nig. versity shoild be funded as they funds the Senate and the house of Reps, the welfare of the lecturers, and the versity infrastructures should be attended to as at when due to better the lots of nigerian students.

  10. Mendy otoyo

    January 31, 2012 at 15:13

    Mr president: Sir said something, we don’t want to stay at home again comply with ASUU,please ASUU listen to federal government offer.

  11. Anthony .S. Izuagwu

    January 31, 2012 at 15:32

    I appreciate various reactions and responses of people in line with the educational predicaments in Nigeria especially in our Universities. But I want to make it clear that a tree cant make a forest. GEJ and his administration cant do it alone even if they want to. So the question I would want any good citizen of this country to ponder through is ” what am I going to do on my own part to help Nigeria achieve this goal” It is not all about Jonathan, it is all about you. God bless you as give it a nice thought and react positively!

  12. vincent amos

    January 31, 2012 at 15:35

    wel mr president u cry ova rating of nig universty low wot efort hav u 2 curb d menace,any1 dat get top 4got dose at d ground .

  13. nwachinaemere

    January 31, 2012 at 15:35

    mr president shuld plz as a mata of urgent settle asuu so dat we can go bk 2 skul cuz an idol man is a devils workshop

  14. Nebeolisa

    January 31, 2012 at 15:36

    Education is the bedrock of every nation. Education is a center where societal problem are brought to and a dependable, everlasting solution are got. The word EDUCATION is sacred. Any society that ignore education is bound to an impending doom and caterstrophy. I remember when obama was campaining,the press ask him what will do for the usa he said that he will do three things they are education,education,education.they where espect to hear infrastruture development. This are the people who are far above us yet they are still talking about education. There are two type development, infrastructure and human development.we based on infrastructure forgetin human development. If you build the road without building the mind, the mind wil destroy the road. I rest my coment. From Comr Nebeolisa studing education,esut

  15. Emma Chuks

    January 31, 2012 at 15:52

    The problem we are having in this country is oil crisis. Since oil is our major source of income. The president should focus on how to improve on oil & gas sector in Nigeria whereby Nigeria will be exporting oil in bulk quantity. I think with this, I foresee a bright future in educational sector….. Lol

  16. solacey

    January 31, 2012 at 16:06

    jonathan wi r nt hpi at home,u wz lecturer b4 now bt u dnt rspect lecturers n d future of nigeria studnts r nt in ur mind.if i shud ask wia is ur children bcos dey r nt in ds conutry.

  17. nelson

    January 31, 2012 at 16:19

    its only God dat can solve our problem, corruption has eatin allmost everyone in Nigeria even our unborn children, everyone seems to need a tip/egunje befor carring out his duity. Nigerian Police salary was increased to stop them 4rm collectin the N20 naira tip, but instead tip was increase to N40 to N50 naira. I gues that will also apley to our Nigerian University bcos i see lectural increasing their tips also. My solution to the Fedral first work n improve on our pry and secondry level which at this point should be free. 2. Grant schlarship award to best student in SSCE level to any of our University. 3. Increase our University school fee to bost the certificate value, becos our certificate value is too cheap in the labour market since they knw its cheaply bought.

  18. femi

    January 31, 2012 at 16:24

    Nigerian University management is a perfect replica of Nigeria as a nation. The universities’ senates, lecturers and non teaching staffs have all lost the essence of the profession, which is taking pride in imbibing their students with quality education. Rather, what do we have? we have a bunch of people that profess to be the apex of scholarship who are only after wealth, and who have no inclination towards improving the welfare of student and the standard of education… That is why, many university would rather build large hall for rents to private bodies to host occation, instead of building and maintaining hostels for students. President Jonathan is a product of such system that is why more and more it seems he has nothing to offer Nigerians, rather he is driven by greed to expand is personal wealth and those of his political clients…. Business as usual is the only constant in Nigerian University, and that is the only philosophy that our President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan associates with

  19. shattima mustapha

    January 31, 2012 at 16:29

    we nigs all we need to do about our leaders is prayers.may Allah guide them to the right part.

  20. ugwu Bettina

    January 31, 2012 at 16:46

    why is everybody blaming d president only.if i may ask,what is the miniter,commissioner of education doing 2 help d nigeria education,what about the Asuu,d lecturers who are after their pockects,also d student who are nt ready 2 learn?they prefer bribing d lecturers 2 c everybody is 2 be blame nt only d is high time we put blames aside,put head 2geda and work 2 wards the upliftment of d educational standard in Nigeria.

  21. mary uya

    January 31, 2012 at 16:58

    Mr president, u were in lecturals’s shoe. U should kw their problem dan ur senators. A sitch in tym saves nine. Save us cuz we’re tire sitting at home. Mary Uya 4rm Uniuyo

  22. Ajah Reuben

    January 31, 2012 at 17:11

    Much is expected from F.G and GEJ.yes but it is not going to be magic.Most importantly ASUU should stop being greed and go back to class…Striking is not the only option.

  23. Agahiu Abubakar Adejo Aka ABUDHABBY

    January 31, 2012 at 17:38

    Really don’t have much to say,but if I am to speak from my own point of view without adding anything that has to do with superstition,this is not the promises of mr president during his campaign.

  24. Ajayi Bukola

    January 31, 2012 at 18:28

    I believe the only ting dat can save dis sector is dat al political office holder should be barn 4rom sending deir children school oversees.

  25. ita

    January 31, 2012 at 18:30

    Mr. President, the hope of Nigeria education is in ur hand, to rate it number one in africa n to remain poorly stand is in ur hand. Pls do something about education in our dear country. To the ASUU. it is not fair to get all ur need at a stand everything is step by step. Government alone cannot make universities the best without ur effort. Going back in memories of ur time as a student, those that transfer the knowledge to u did not go on strike this way, if incase they even went. Try and come back to class room n wait 4 nagotiation with the FG pls. We are tired of stayin at home espercially unical student. Is getting to seven month now. What is the gain n happiness of u seeing ur children sitting at home 4 a longer period. Pls just to let peace rein ASUU called-up the strike b4 youth turn to something else. I want to use this medium to tell unical student to still remain faith that one day its will be over. Greatest Nigerian student….. GREAT…greatest po o……GREAT!!! ALUTA CONTINUA VICTORIA ACESTA.

  26. True Naija

    January 31, 2012 at 18:53

    I am impressed about the matured ways(no abusive language) you students have expressed your eagerness to go back to school. I pray God will intervene between FG and ASUU in your favour in Jesus name, amen.

  27. obianuju

    January 31, 2012 at 19:08

    my fellow students i feel your grief the president has got its roles to play as well as asuu mr president we beseech u save our educational sector lest everything will boomerang on ur govt we are pleading wot is asuu’s demand compared to the allowances of the so called ministers God save us from this whole mess…

  28. Julian

    January 31, 2012 at 19:42

    I don’t want to believe that mr. president does not know what to do, i think he is too confortable in his present seat so he can’t think

  29. Temiloluwa

    January 31, 2012 at 19:43

    Two boss cant be in a ship, pls both left nd right be considerate. Put urself in our shoe cos 2 wrong cannot make a right. Pls do smtin cos tym waits for no man,mind u we are d leaders of 2moro. I urge both party 2 do smtin plssssssssssssssssssss. GEN. MR PRESIDENT MAKE HAST WHILE D SUNSHINE COS 2MORO MAY BE 2 LATE.

  30. achorblinkz 4rm uniben

    January 31, 2012 at 21:21

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha… Itz nt gej’s fault, i blame nigs, cux wen gej was promising u ppl heaven and earth ,u ppl belived him as if he’s was diff 4rm odas bt nw cee wer we r. Itz easier said dan done, i belive next tym nigs wil b more carefull bt b4 dn may god help us.

  31. MARO

    January 31, 2012 at 21:25

    Yes its true ‘we students are also to be blamed’ so says the govt and all of their allies.I’ve bin to places,i’ve seen people/foreigners/,i’ve seen handworks/diverse/ but after this i still have every reason to say the talent this country has is an exclusive to her alone.govt! those foreigners were privileged and made 100 percent use of it, GOVT GIVE US THAT SAME PRIVILEGE AND SEE IF WE WON’T USE 550 PERCENT OF IT AND MORE.

  32. Andrea Osose Ojeabulu

    January 31, 2012 at 21:35

    You will agree with me that this is not the Goodluck Jonathan we know during April pools. He is still the best. What possibly could be the problem? The atmosphere around him is chaotic. The President is a little island in a dead sea. Until Mr. President realise that he is alone in this anti-corruption aluta, I’m afraid he will remain a confused man.

  33. truth

    January 31, 2012 at 21:48

    …pls FG do sometin quick to assure nd re assure us dat education is nt a sin

  34. bauchibauchi

    January 31, 2012 at 22:45

    its al water off the dock’s back.politics is always imbued wif flattery talks without substance and empty promises.both present and past government in nigerian have being making a number of promises on their resolved to elevate our educational sector to an international benchmark and recognition,yet the sector still suffers and is still suffering frm ages of mismanagement.our educational facilities are mostly in a state of disrepair due to poor funding and arrant neglect by our clueless policy drivers.most of our lecturers are noting to write home about interms of imparting the knowledge of 21st century.gone are the days when old papas in their seventies wil be coming to lecture halls wif walking stick looking gaga and apparently bemused.

  35. amusa

    January 31, 2012 at 22:46

    2 me assu ‘re also fightn 4 their self alon. Not 4 even 4 d sake of d student. Let look at d 70yr of retirement age. D Dey WNT 2 Died there or wat. Wat abt we d upcoming one hw can we stay, 4 those in teching line. Bt in a nutshel God wel lead us thrug in dis country. Mr President Jonathan as fookup

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  37. Fefa Desmond

    February 1, 2012 at 01:33

    I wish de president gets to hear d cry and pleads of we de Nigerian students. It’s quit a shame dat at this stage and time our leaders can’t reason to bring a change in this country. Education is de key to a successful tomorrow. President Obamas campaign was based on education b’cos u can’t make a diff. without equiping de minds and brains of de pple. May God deliver us from this cruel generation, Amen. Of the gr8tes Nigerian students…

  38. James

    February 1, 2012 at 02:54

    Just another example of corruption and incompetence. Our so called stupid and elitist leaders are sitting on a keg of gun powder that will eventually consume all of them when it explodes.

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  40. Ez

    February 1, 2012 at 08:53

    I am sick and tired of hearing the list of problems we have in this country…!!!!!!! Can we hear solutions pls…!??????? I want to go back to sch..!!!!!!! I am a medical student and have six years to spend…! That’s long enough. If they don’t have plans for their future i do…! They don’t care cos their children are not in these schools….so….hellllo..!!!! Reality check..!!!! Lets move forward and stop helping them list their wicked deeds, they are well aware of it…!!!

  41. Justin

    February 1, 2012 at 09:09

    The president cannot kill himself for Education to excel. Today Asuu strike, tomorrow Boko haram, next NLC, corruption, attack from CPC, etc. What about the corruption in the education sector, from ministers to the VC, HOD’S, unqualified lecturers, poor curriculum, corruption in hostel allocation, sex for exam marks, 10% if you buy handouts, arranged admission called post jamb. It goes on and on… Leave Mr president alone to fix the economy. The decadance in education is as a result of age long corruption in the system. Solution: 1. Change of attitude. 2. Lecturers should upgrade themselves. 3. Proper use of available resources to run schools with the fear of God. 4. Allow students to graduate without hitch/strike. 5. Elect the right people in positions. 6. Shun corruption. 7. Give admission on merit. 8. Expose lecturers who exchange sex for marks. 9. Sell text books not handouts. 10. Reward hardworking students with 1st class. Thanks.

  42. Donchizo uniport

    February 1, 2012 at 10:22

    Both fg and asuu r fucking us all up. Edu sys is degrading dey should sort tins out fast b4 its late.shame 2 asuu 4 5tin only 4 dia porket n not de welbin of de students n de fg who r playing deaf.shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!