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ASUU strike: Nigerians chide Adamu for walking out on students

ASUU strike: Nigerians chide Adamu for walking out on students

Mallam Adamu Adamu, the minister of education on Monday, February 28 walked out from a meeting with the representatives of Nigerian students in Abuja.

Adamu was angered by a statement from Sunday Asefon, the national president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), who had reminded him that his children were enjoying unfettered education in universities abroad, adding that their own parents could not afford to send them abroad, reports said.

Asefon had also warned that if the government failed to meet the demands of ASUU within the period of their warning strike, NANS would take actions that would make the historic #EndSARS protests of October 2020 a child’s play.

The minister who could not stomach the words from Asefon, zoomed off his office in anger. But Adamu still had to meet later with the NANS leaders at the National Universities Commission (NUC’s) secretariat making his angry walkout look futile.

Olayinka Bolarinwa, a public affairs analyst, informed BusinessDay that the issue is that many Nigerian public office holders do not know how to balance the demands of public office and personal egos.

“The minister ordinarily is under compulsion to give answers to questions from the students, no matter how it comes. If as a public office holder Adamu is not ready to give answers to questions that concern his office, then he is not really fit to handle such an office,” Bolarinwa said.

Bolarinwa reiterated that there was nothing wrong with the approach of the students’ leaders. He noted that the minister lacked the emotional maturity to handle the situation, hence, adopting a walk-away as a solution.

“The main problem of governance in Nigeria is putting square pegs in round holes. The minister does not have the know-how to manage those students, leaders are proven in the face of crisis, and Adamu has proven he is not one,” he said.

For Friday Erhabor there is no excuse or reason for the minister to behave in that manner.

According to Erhabor, “It is gross irresponsibility, executive rascality, and the peak of arrogance and insensitivity for the minister to behave in such a manner. It shows a total disconnect between those that claim to be leaders and the people they are leading.”

Furthermore, Erhabor noted that in a country where the government respects public views, Adamu would have been sacked for such an act should he be reluctant to resign.

“This also shows that students and students’ unionism have been weakened and decimated. In our time, the country would have been on fire until Adamu leaves. It is a very sad development,” Erhabor stated.

Some of the students who spoke with BusinessDay regretted the incident but blamed the students’ leaders’ approach.

Christabel Amadi, a student of the University of Lagos frowned at the manner the students’ union leaders approached the minister but blamed Adamu for walking out on the students.

“The students’ approach was wrong but the minister’s reaction was even a gross act of immaturity. The minister should have used his office and position as a father to calm the students down. In fact, to say the least, it was a disappointing act,” she said.

Read also: Why ASUU strike will soon end – Chris Ngige

Another student of the University of Lagos who simply identified herself as Oyinlola described the incident as being unprofessional both from the sides of the students and that of the minister.

“The students should have known that things like that do not require aggression but dialogue. There was no need for being volatile, the students ought to have adopted an appeal to emotion approach to lobby the minister on their side.

“While for the minister, it was a test of his maturity, and without mixing words, he failed the test. He ought not to have reacted but to respond to whatever the students’ demands might be. Public officer holders do not react when confronted with burning public issues, rather they respond. I do not think the minister ever apologised,” she said.

Adams Evi, a Mass Communication student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka floored the minister for his egotism.

“The minister did not act with the supposed restraint and dignity that befits his person and office. Public office holders like Adamu must know that the luxuriousness of the office and the concomitant benefits belong to the people, hence, the people have the constitutional right to ask questions and demand answers,” Evi said.

With just 14 months for Adamu to leave the office many still believe that the minister achieved little or nothing during the two terms tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.