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ASUU should go back to classroom now

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What is this ASUU strike all about?  It is but a grave hydra-headed national malaise.  Since June 30th, lecturers in the nation’s public universities had under the aegis of ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) embarked upon what I described as comprehensive, total and indefinite strike across the country.  This very strike is one in the series and has protracted till date.

Happily enough, Dr. Nasie, President of ASUU in his address to journalists on the strike sounded apologetic, indicating awareness of the harsh difficulty and hardship the strike has brought upon not only the youths but also the economy and stability of this nation.

True it is that the ASUU bases this strike on a number of legitimate demands and requirements which it calls on the Federal Government to address, failure of which there will be no going back to classroom.  Nevertheless, ASUU must take note of the following facts: In education system, especially the universities, academic strike, just as hunger strike or starvation, is not the most legitimate instrument to redress wrongs.  Unfortunately ASUU has been brought to the point of making strike a regular practice in the discharge of its academic functions in our tertiary institutions.  The intellectual status and the social image of ASUU are such that it ought not to allow itself be dragged into ridicule and disrepute by frequent strikes.  These strikes expose the ASUU to suspicion of selfish motives.

Inadequate or partial attention of the Federal Government to tertiary, if not to all aspects of education in this country is never in doubt.  Disparity of remuneration between our technocrats and the political class is most glaring.

On the other hand, ASUU must think of an approach that is better than frequent strikes – which are not only unprogressive and negative but also lead to break down of the education system.

Nigeria’s tertiary institutions began the downward trend as soon as the university dons conceived and began to embark on frequent protracted strikes.  Ten years after independence, 1970-1980, Nigeria’s system of education continued to follow the British pattern very closely in structure, organization, administration and content.  This was the case not only at the primary but also at the secondary and higher education.  But unfortunately, later on from the eighties, there was loss of trends and most of the progress attained in the British/American education system disappeared from our education system.  Instead of progress, we began to have education malpractices and corruption; university lecturers began associations of academic staff unions of universities.  The achievements of these associations till date has not gone beyond the concept and practice of frequent strikes, in demand of improved salaries and fat financial allocations to the universities – all these in the guise to restore standards in the universities.  It is time university dons in this country avoided the perpetual disrepute incurred by the military who goaded by the looting spree of the greedy politicians abdicated their principal functions and in series of coup d’état grabbed power under the guise to correcting wrongs in a nation which they systematically, greedily and wickedly vandalized.

The challenges in the nation’s tertiary institutions rest squarely on the shoulders of the politicians and the university dons who are the technical operators of the system.  In case of breakdown, both share the blames equally.  Frequent strikes would rather expose the selfish motives of ASUU than exonerate it.  A stitch in time saves nine.

Nasie’s address to journalists on the protracted strike may sound eloquent but by all standards it is empty, lacks merit and fails in persuasiveness.  Long duration of the strike will accomplish little or nothing.  ASUU must not exploit  on the gullibility of Nigerians.  People can be fooled sometimes but not all the time.  Once beaten, twice shy.  Nigerians are gullible to sweet talks of sacrifice for good things to come.  But ASUU will do well to sooner call off this strike, make it the end of all academic strikes, go back to the classroom and save its face.

The damaging effect of these strikes on the life and future of the less privileged cannot be imagined.  What answer has the ASUU to the fact that most children of its members and those of the political class have continued their studies in universities abroad?  To convince us of their sacrificial motives, but ASUU declare forfeiture of the salaries of lecturers for the duration of the strike.  If the ASUU and the Federal Government are sincere let there be Sovereign National Education Conference for a system which has collapsed.

ASUU is advised to approach the issue politically and not by confrontation to the Federal Government.  Education should be made a strong electoral issue to count for electoral success in the nation.

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Sir Dr. Lambert Onumaegbu

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USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

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USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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