President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday called on ASUU members to reconsider their position on the on-going strike, saying “enough is enough.’’
The union began the strike on Feb. 14.
The president expressed worry that the strike would have generational consequences on families, the educational system and future development of the country.
Malam Garba Shehu, his media aide, stated that Buhari made the call when he received some governors, legislators and political leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at his residence in Daura, Katsina State.
The visitors were in Daura to pay Sallah homage to the president.
Buhari noted that the strike had already taken a toll on the psychology of parents, students and other stakeholders, throwing up many moral issues begging for attention.
He noted also that Nigeria’s future rested on the quality of education.
He assured also that government understood the union’s position, but that negotiations should continue with students in lecture halls.
“We hope that ASUU will sympathise with the people on the prolonged strike. Truly, enough is enough for keeping students at home. Don’t hurt the next generation for goodness sake,’’ he said.
The president called on all well-meaning Nigerians, particularly those close to ASUU leaders and members to persuade the lecturers to reconsider their position and its effect on an entire generation and the nation.
According to Buhari, Nigerian students will be faced with the challenge of competing with others in technology-driven workspaces.
Keeping them at home, he argued, only deprived them of time, skill and opportunities to be relevant on the global stage.
“Colonial type education was geared towards producing workers in government. Those jobs are no longer there.
“Our young people should get education to prepare them for self-employment. Now education is for the sake of education.
“Through technology we are much more efficient. We should encourage our children to get education not only to look for government jobs,’’ he stressed.
Buhari said resources should be channeled more into building infrastructure and operations of the health and educational sectors, not to expand the bureaucracy to create job opportunities.
“By this time next year, I would have made the most out of the two terms, and in the remaining months I will do my best,’’ the President assured.
He urged those in political positions and places of privilege to be mindful in helping the many Nigerians that were looking for opportunities.
“If you are greedy, you won’t look around to see what is happening with those who are less-endowed,’’ Buhari noted.
The president told his guests that he had not been to his house in Daura for close to a year because of the demands of office.
“The observation that I abandoned my base was made by the Emir of Daura, Dr Faruk Umar Faruk, at the Eid prayer ground.
“He held the microphone and told everyone that the last time I was in Daura was during the Eid-el-Kabir of 2021,’’ he mused.
President Buhari said he would retire to Daura and not to Kaduna, where he has a better house.
“In 10 to 11 months; time, I will come here (Daura). I have a better house in Kaduna, but it is too close to Abuja,’’ he said.
The president explained that his schedule of work was so heavy that he sympathised with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, who had to be away from his family most of the times.
He urged the APC stalwarts to keep working for the good of the people and that of the country.
“We are a lucky people. We need to reflect more on where we are coming from,’’ h said.
The president said relative to the resources available, and compared to the preceding administration, government had done well in many areas, particularly in infrastructure.
“I wish the person who is coming after me the very best,” he said.
On security, the president said the Northwest had posed more challenges, while some success had been recorded in other regions; the Northeast and South-South.
Buhari also admonished agitators in the South-South to stop vandalising national assets, an action which, he said, also affected their livelihoods.
“I am eager to go. I can tell you it has been tough. I am grateful to God that people appreciate the personal sacrifices we have been making,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Kebbi’s Gov. Abubakar Bagudu, thanked the president for his leadership role in improving the nation’s economy and the many successes recorded by the APC.
According to him, such successes include two conventions to produce the party leadership and the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“We will work hard to ensure the success of our party. We have reasons to work very hard,’’ he stressed.
He noted that favourable weather conditions supported the vision of ensuring food production and making agriculture a priority with clear results in rice pyramids in various states.
“In spite of attacks by renegades, our country remains self-sufficient in food production. We have seen investments that were not there before you (Buhari) came into power.
“Not less than 20 states now have agriculture processing zones. We have rice pyramids in Ekiti, Gombe and Niger states, while maize pyramids were revived in Katsina and Kano states,’’ he said.
He added that more than 54 rice meals were inaugurated in various states, and 57 fertiliser plants were revived, or built afresh.
“All these were achieved because of your commitment and patriotism,’’ the governor told Buhari.
Bagudu also appreciated the president for providing ease of access to governors and political leaders, noting that the opening of the National Economic Council for more fluid exchange of ideas greatly helped in improving the economy.
APC governors at the lunch were Aminu Masari of Katsina State; Malam Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, Hope Uzodinma of Imo, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa and Abubakar Bello of Niger.
Others were Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Simon Lalong of Plateau and Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi.