It is well known that the flashpoint of the confrontation between the Academic Personnel Association of Universities and the Federal Government is the 2009 agreement, which has undergone a series of renegotiations with great controversy. What seems to be obscured, however, is the impact of the stalemate on the land, especially with the ongoing circumnavigation of the wilderness of war on insecurity and economic swamp.
On August 30, 2022, the ASUU announced an indefinite strike after several rollovers that began on February 14. Some of its demands include the release of university revitalization funds, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, and deployment of the UTAS payment platform for, among other things, payment of university lecturers’ salaries and allowances.
Before the present confrontation, there have been several industrial actions with results synonymous with a movement without movement. This has affected the careers of most students as their school years have become longer.
The accumulation of successive governments’ failures to create a favorable environment for business has worsened the saturated labor market with a scenario akin to that of scarcity amid abundance. This has paralyzed the search for self-reliance in production and services by opening floodgates for the import of all kinds of products.
Those who run the country’s affairs seem to have lost the compass with an ending political somersault that exacerbated the exodus of companies from the country. This is compounded by the poor performance in the energy sector, despite the change and next-level choirs that characterized the 2015 and 2019 general elections.
In fact, what seems to have changed since 2015 is the method of corruption, the democratization of insecurity in all geopolitical zones, chronic poverty and educational disadvantage, leaving more than 20 million out-of-school children roaming the streets. . The proliferation of kidnappers and the success in collecting ransom from most of their victims seems to have reached a peak where no one can predict the direction of the terror of these non-state actors.
Some of those abducted while traveling by train from Abuja to Kaduna state in March are still in the kidnappers’ lair, while those who have been given their freedom are paying through a team of negotiators. However, it is publicly claimed that no ransom was paid.
The exponential growth of the murder and kidnapping industry across the country has shown that there is an imbalance between the amount reportedly released in the war against insecurity and the security situation in the country.
A report titled Nigeria Security Situation, by Beacon Consulting, shows that Nigeria has spent more than N10.82 trillion on defense since 2016, but insecurity continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. For example, 2,357 cases of violent attacks were reported in the country from January to June 2022, an increase of 47.5 percent from 1,235 attacks in the same period in 2021.
While the number of fatalities increased by 35.9 percent in the first half of 2022 compared to the 4,927 fatalities in the first half of 2021. Similarly, no fewer than 3,357 persons were abducted compared to 2,540 persons abducted in 2021, which is increase at 24.3 per cent. Yet the government continues to claim technical victory over insecurity.
The reason for this imbalance seems ambiguous, but cannot be separated from the mammoth corruption that has gnawed deep into the fabric of Nigeria and reduced the country to a nation gasping for oxygen from the injuries caused by the impact of this threat.
Its manifestation across the entire stratum of the nation’s life shows that it has eroded the zeal for patriotism. No wonder some have argued that a nation that fails to eradicate corruption will surely be buried by it. This can be gleaned from the news of the alleged misuse of N109 billion by the Federation’s accountant general, Ahmed Idris, days after the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, announced that the country is bankrupt.
This is not the only revelation about corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission under the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.). In fact, the funds claimed to have been recovered from corrupt individuals since 2015 are not enough to meet ASUU’s demands if properly managed. In 2018, the nation was thrown into a comedic mood when an officer of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board claimed that a snake swallowed N36 million held in her custody.
The snake’s entry and exit routes were never disclosed during the interrogation period. It will come as no surprise if an officer of the National Petroleum Company Limited claims that the subsidy paid on premium motor spirit is being swallowed up by sharks due to the controversy surrounding the gallons of PMS reportedly consumed in the country every day.
Recently, Nigeria’s Inspector General of Customs has questioned the NNPC Ltd’s claim that the country consumes 60 million liters of petrol every day. His question was: if the company sets the daily consumption of petrol at 60 million liters, why does it allow 98 million liters to be filled up every day? Because not all people who have filled their tanks today will fill them with the same amount the next day.
In response to the question, the NNPC formed an internal committee to do a reassessment of the liters consumed daily. However, it won’t be a surprise if at the end of the investigation the liters are increased to 70 million liters due to the structure of corruption that diverts some of the funds earmarked for subsidy into private pockets. The same corruption has paralyzed the education sector and most public primary and secondary schools banned fruit for parents who want better education for their children.
The quest for a better future caused by the government’s treatment of the retirees has extinguished the passion for sacrificial education in schools and contributed to the growing brain drain in the country.
To leave the state of immobility, the government must match its words with deeds by demonstrating political will in all matters of national importance, so that the country can regain its position in the competition of the world’s prosperous nations.