Sultan Abubakar urges university lecturers to consider future of students in taking decisions
November 17, 2022
The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Sa’ad Abubakar III, has urged members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) not to go on another strike over the payment of half salaries to them last month.
Lecturers at Nigerian public universities were paid on pro-rata basis from the date that they called off their eight months industrial strike last month.
This has precipitated another crisis with branches of ASUU in many universities resolving to resist the development.
On Tuesday, lecturers at University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) held protest marches against payment of their October salary on a pro-rata basis.
Speaking with journalists on Wednesday after commissioning a 25-bedroom guest house donated by the family of Babalakin to Fountain University, Osogbo, Osun State, the traditional ruler advised the lecturers to resolve the issue through dialogue with the government.
“It is not today that ASUU started having problems with the government and they will never stop having problems with the government. But anytime there is a problem, you sit down and discuss and find a way out,” he said.
“When you have a problem with anybody, please sit down, dialogue in an honest way and once you have agreed on any other issue, please try to implement what you have agreed. If you feel you cannot, come back to the table again and discuss more and then you have another alternative and solution to such a problem but not embarking on a strike that will affect the children,” he added.
Mr Abubakar urged the lecturers to consider the future of their students in taking their decisions.
“I have been pleading with ASUU, I have been part of the negotiating team with ASUU at the federal government level and I know what we have discussed. But I feel we could do more in being honest to one another in ensuring our children, whom we all care for, get to school and graduate,” he said.
“No matter how bad a university is, it will turn out thousands of graduates and if you can bring out so many graduates who are excellent, who are brilliant, why do we have to continue fighting over little issues?”
The Sultan lamented that the recent eight months strike affected the psychology of Nigerian students.
“Eight months, our children have been at home. Very sad, very frustrating. But these are things that we could have avoided. I know how much psychologically and academically our children have been affected by the eight months sit-at-home. I think it’s not good for us,” Mr Abubakar lamented.
At the event, Wale Babalakin, who spoke on behalf of the Babalakin family, said the donated guest house will increase the revenue of the university.
Mr Babalakin, a senior advocate of Nigeria, called on the leaders of Nigerian educational institutions to have investments that will increase their revenue rather than wholly depending on the government.
“For any discerning person in the education sector, it is very clear that the government at all levels, as structured today, cannot singlehandedly fund education,” he said.
“The resources required to fund a proper education system are simply not there or are not easily available. For this reason, educational institutions, especially tertiary institutions, must continue to find ways of generating revenue,” he said.