A legal icon, Chief Wole Olanipekun, has called on prominent Nigerians to view the Universities Academic Staff Union strike as a major national emergency that must be addressed immediately.
Urging alumni associations to defend their alma maters, Olanipekun said it would amount to self-delusion if they still expected much from the government.
According to a statement made available to reporters on Sunday, he noted that “governments at all levels in this country today seem unable to help themselves, how much more do we remember or think about educational institutions” .
The legal icon spoke at the presentation of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association 2022 National Public Service Conference titled ‘Building Blocks for Unbundling the Critical Issues Plaguing the education in Nigeria: a clear call to alumni associations to rebuild the collapsing portal through which they passed”. ‘
“If we focus on education, how much is ASUU asking for that we can’t give? These lecturers are not just fighting for themselves, they are fighting for the future of public education in the country,” he said, adding, “This is a time for all eminent Nigerians, including alumni associations, to fight for the education of our young people”.
He continued, “I foresee a future, and near at that, where the federal and state governments will privatize all state-owned universities and colleges.
“It’s a prediction that should come as no surprise to any of us, otherwise, we might echo that there was a university.”
He lamented: “Our children are not happy with us, and we are not happy with ourselves as parents either. Our education system is collapsing, our universities and colleges are failing and failing, but the government will not believe we have sunk this low.
Decrying the government’s attitude towards education, he asked, “Do we want to keep joking, partying, drinking, eating, dancing and celebrating while the portals that lifted us up burn?”
“Now is the time for action rather than rhetoric; a season of awakening rather than drowsiness, a time to build rather than watch the walls crumble.
Calling on alumni associations to work together to save the universities that made them, the legal icon argued that “we have no alternative but to give back to these institutions and in doing so we will regenerate generations better and bigger than us”.
He pointed out that “anything to the contrary will be tantamount to inadvertently or inadvertently associating with temporary and transitional powers to extinguish our beautiful old schools.”
He continued, “Even in developed countries where their governments appreciate the importance of education, alumni associations still play an important role in maintaining the portals through which they have passed.”
On the importance of alumni, he revealed that it was the alumni who stopped the University of Lagos from being renamed Moshood Abiola University in 2012 by taking the government to court.
Specifically, he challenged all former students of the University of Ibadan to work for the development of the institution saying, “UI must not be allowed to rust because if gold rusts what will happen does it have iron? If UI is trusted, what will happen to other universities in Nigeria? »