Csos Withdraw Suit As Buhari Apologies Over Sacked Vcs, Governing Councils
Five days after his public apology over the dissolution of the Governing Council of Universities, the Coalition of Civil Society Groups CSO, has withdrawn its civil case against President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
According to the organisation, “while Buhari’s decision to reverse an action that was taken in error was highly commendable, the constant embarrassment brought to his government by those who believe that it was still business as usual should be ruthlessly addressed to serve as deterrent to others.”
The case, filed at the National Industrial Court in Abuja, among other reliefs, asked the court to declare as illegal the sacking of 13 vice chancellors of Nigerian universities and reinstatement of the governing councils of universities.
During the National Executive Council meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held on Thursday in Abuja, Buhari in his apology admitted that the sacking of the governing councils was done in error.
“We gave a blanket order which we had to rescind when we said all boards are suspended or dissolved. We had to go back and lick our vomit in terms of universities councils, because we found out that according to their laws, they cannot choose vice chancellors unless the councils sit and interview candidates who want to be VCs,” Buhari said.
“So, there is nothing wrong in saying sorry and going back on your decision. So, we said sorry and allow all the universities to continue with their councils. So, please, try to bear with us as we reflect on where we found ourselves.”
However, the CS0s in a letter to Buhari, signed by its president, Etuk Bassey Williams, and secretary-general, Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim and obtained by THEWILL on Monday in Abuja, described the President’s apology as a noble and timely action, which had put him on the right side of history.
“Nigerians are watching and anxiously waiting to see this open apology made by you come into fruition because much is expected of this government,” Williams said.
“The President’s remorse will forever remain a point of exemplary reference for the present crop of African leaders that offering apologies or reversing mistakes is not a sign of weakness but a show of courage to thread on a path meant only for the brave.
“May we humbly remind you Sir that our coalition was the first to call your attention to this error through the office of the Minister of Education when this decision was first taken, as we observed that your action was predicated upon an ill-conceived advice that emanated from Mr. Adamu Adamu.
“It was after the failure of several appeals that this decision be reversed by the Minister of Education that we embarked on several peaceful protests to call the attention of all relevant stakeholders, including the National Assembly, to this fundamental flaw, which if allowed to stand will set a very bad precedent capable of tainting your administration as one that has no regard for the rule of law.”
“It is in lieu of the above that we appeal to you that the Minister of Education,Adamu Adamu and all those who have been found culpable either remotely, directly or otherwise in misinforming you into taking the action that led to this constitutional breach be made to take full responsibility through immediate resignation or sack so that those who are by any chance still in doubt as to your tenacity to rid Nigeria of bad governance will be totally convinced of your uncompromising stance.”
Story by David Oputah