In Nigeria, the most populous country of the black race in the world, and the supposed giant of Africa, history tends to be repeating itself almost often. The prevailing social, economic and political situations in the country have helped to place the likes of the legendary Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in the hall of fame as a true prophet. Many of the yester-years songs of the iconic Fela, the afro-beat monarch, are busy coming to pass.
In one of his now evergreen, titled VIP, the musical maestro sang of Vagabonds In Power. That was during the dark days of military dictatorship. More than three decades after, the egg-heads of Nigeria’s ivory towers, are stirring the citizenry to a sad reminder that vagabonds are still dominating the affairs of the country.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in a seeming scholarly submission said the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari’s party, is a party of vagabonds. They did not end there. ASUU added that the former National Chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande, a prominent Yoruba chief, is the grandfather of half-baked government for daring to accuse members of the striking union of producing vagabonds and unemployable graduates.
Wiktionary, the free dictionary however, defines a vagabond as a person on a trip of indeterminate destination and/or length of time, adding also that a vagabond is one who wanders from place to place, having no fixed dwelling, or not abiding in it, and usually without the means of honest livelihood.
APC is battling for Buhari’s re-election with an electioneering campaign document, Next Level. The Nigerian people are giving divergent interpretations to the document. To be concise, the political sovereigns are not comfortable with the worsening poverty level, growing unemployment, and rampaging hunger as well as the bloodletting. While Buhari may mean well with his ‘re-building policies’, the ordinary citizens are fearing that Next Level might lead them into oblivion. As it is, there is no well articulated ideological direction for the Buhari regime other than seeming Islamic fundamentalism, seeming nepotism, and seeming new forms of corruption and the canonisation of some of the hitherto corrupt political potentates as saints in their new party, the APC.
Anyway, ASUU said it was unfortunate that a supposed leader of Akande’s status could render a statement with warped logic. Akande had condemned the strike embarked upon by the university teachers in Oke Ila Orangun where he went to commission one storey classroom donated to Abolarin College recently.
He was reported to have said the union is destroying the country with demands that are not genuine. But while reacting, ASUU Chairman at the premier University of Ibadan, Deji Omole, PhD, said it was shameful that Akande by age and previous offices held in the country before now is qualified to be called an elder statesman.
The obviously angry Omole said Akande’s recent outburst against their ongoing ‘’patriotic struggle’’ to save public university education in Nigeria clearly exposed him as just an elder only by age but not a statesman. ‘’The same Akande who himself was a teacher during the free education programme of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo sacked hundreds of teachers and left Osun State education in tatters now claims to value quality graduates while shying away from adequate investment in education.
‘’It is on record that during Akande’s time as governor all the higher institutions in Osun were closed down due to the anti-masses policy of his administration on education. It is even self-indicting for the leader of a ruling party who is destroying public education with chronic underfunding of the existing institution but busy itself to mushrooming of new universities without any funding plan to still be talking in public.
‘’The budget for education in the current year was wickedly cut down to seven percent to demonstrate their hatred for public funded education’’, Omole said, pointing out that ASUU is not a government that promised Nigerian youths gainful employment like the ruling party did and so ‘’could not be blamed for the failure of the clueless government to establish industries.’’
As the ASUU boss was busy hitting the APC chieftain, claiming that it is because of the likes of Akande who are interested in killing public education to allow for their children and grandchildren to dominate and oppress the children of the masses that they go on strike, the President Buhari Campaign Organisation was blaming the National Assembly for the row trailing their principal’s veto of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Festus Keyamo, the spokesman for Buhari’s re-election bid, was taking on the Legislative arm of the Federal Governmenton Sunday in response to claims that President Buhari declined to assent to the bill to win his re-election in 2019. ‘’I want to say clearly to Nigerians that we got to this point because of the self-serving nature of the National Assembly’’, he said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics programme.
Before Keyamo came with his clarification, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain Buba Galadima, was alleging that the Buhari administration was desperate and wanted to retain power by all means. He was calling on Nigerians and the international community to pressure the President to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law
But Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, described the allegation as unnecessary and explained the rationale behind the President’s decision, saying the opposition ought to have considered if the reasons given by the President were valid or not.
‘’The same international community they are appealing to will tell them that international conventions all over the world say that in any build-up to any election, it is wrong, it is against the international best practices to make any changes in any electoral law less than six months to any election’’, he said, arguing, ‘’if the President signs the Electoral Act Amendment Bill now, our elections will not be deemed to be credible, our elections will not be deemed to be free and fair. If he does not sign it like he has refused to do, that is when it will be deemed free and fair.’’
Keyamo however, stressed that Buhari’s reason that the signing of the bill was too close to the elections was in tandem with the international protocol. ‘’Elections were cancelled in Kenya because of a similar situation in the country’’.
While condemning the claims that his principal rejected the bill because he was against the use of card readers for the polls, he said, ‘’Nigerians don’t know that the version of the bill that was transmitted to the President in August this year, which was the third time, did not include the provision regarding the card reader. If the President does not want card reader, the President would have quickly signed that version that was sent to him in August. It was the President that pointed it out to them.’’