Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi has faulted the Federal Government’s decision to borrow N1 trillion to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), maintaining that university education is not for everybody.
Umahi, who is also the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, said this when he received a representative of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund by Dr Ben Akabueze, in Abakaliki, on Wednesday.
According to the Governor, education and security are the most difficult problems facing the country.
Umahi said the country’s education system was not well conveyed, noting, however, that the basic education any nation aspires to attain is secondary or vocational education.
“Our basic problems in this country remain security, health and education.
"Let me say a little in education which is in our public domain and which is the ASUU.
"I think that our education system is not being properly articulated.
“University education is not for everybody and that is the truth.
"The basic education every country strives to attain is secondary and vocational schools.
These are the basic schools and when you have these qualifications, you will be able to use it either to start up something or to be able to use it to be employed.
“There is a need to review our educational system. It mustn’t be for everybody.
"I am not ashamed that I have a first degree and my deputy is a PhD holder; it doesn’t matter. It is what you bring on board.
"So, I cannot see how we cannot sit down with our ASUU leaders and iron out this problem about the ongoing strike.
“I have read on social media and newspapers how students got into trouble just by sitting at home or engaging in means of keeping themselves busy instead of being in schools.
“There is no way Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1tn to meet ASUU’s demand, it’s quite unreasonable.
"Are their demands genuine? Yes. But we can start little by little.
“There must be commitment on the side of both parties that look, 'ASUU is not asking for this to take to their houses', so to say.
"It’s asking for it for our children, to better the infrastructure, to better the lecturers and the students.
"Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the lots.
“But let me also say that most of the time, our people have a low appetite for maintenance of public works.
"No matter how much you deploy to these universities, unless the users, and the industry regulators begin to treat public infrastructure as their own in the various universities, it will continue to go bad.
“So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of government to also show some understanding.
"Let’s meet ourselves halfway and then open the schools to save the fate of our children.”
ASUU commenced the ongoing industrial action on February 14, 2022, after the failure of the government to meet its demands.