- Photo: Kperogi *
I just watched the trending video of Education Minister Mallam Adamu Adamu’s interaction with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and was disappointed both by the unproductive and embarrassingly infantile jabbering of the NANS president and by Adamu Adamu’s inability to rise superior to the provocative infantilism of the NANS guys.
NANS misused an opportunity to plead with the minister to meet ASUU’s demands so students can return to classes. They also missed an opportunity to ask why he supported ASUU when he was out of government but has now become university teachers’ worst nightmare in government. What does he know now that he didn’t know before?
NANS went into the meeting unprepared, and their president attempted to compensate for his unpreparedness by engaging in unprovoked yelling and poorly executed, grammatically challenged melodramatic declamations.
He said Adamu celebrated the graduation of his child from a UK university. I’m prepared to be contradicted and corrected, but this appears to be false. I only read on social media that one of Adamu’s daughters recently graduated from a private university in Abuja at the top of her class; I’ve never heard of any of his children graduating from a foreign university.
I think the NANS president was confusing the education minister with the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, who was criticized in 2017 for celebrating the graduation of his son from a UK university.
But even that criticism stemmed from misinformation. Rasheed’s son was (perhaps still is) a university lecturer who benefited from a TETFUND scholarship (which, by the way, is a legacy of ASUU strikes) to study for a PhD in engineering from UK’s University of Aberdeen.
He won the scholarship BEFORE his father was appointed as NUC’s Executive Secretary. I know it can be exasperating for a man young enough to be your grandchild to yell at you and lie against you while the cameras are rolling, but Malam Adamu should have shown maturity and restraint by not walking out on the NANS delegation.
The French say noblesse oblige, i.e., people who are privileged to be in a high rank have an obligation to be honorable, restrained, and generous. Well, Mallam Adamu is also obligated to tell us why he is allowing this ASUU strike to linger on when he, in the past, consistently and vigorously defended the broad principles that undergird the grievances of Nigerian university teachers. What is needed now isn’t more futile and pointless negotiations but action. Where is the action from him? Students and parents are hurting.
This can’t continue.