NIGERIANS MUST HOLD THESE LECTURERS ACCOUNTABLE
Many Nigerians have shared online the cartoon of university lecturers laughing hilariously to the banks to collect salaries for work not done.
For doing nothing in the classrooms over the last six months, lecturers of public universities laughed home with public funds from our commonwealth.
This is the height of hypocrisy in our beloved nation.
I watched with dismay during the twilight of the ill-advised ASUU prolonged strike how the ASUU President, Dr Nasir Fagge battled unsuccessfully to defend the ugly fact that lecturers in our public universities would be paid for job not done.
When asked if it was morally right for lecturers to collect salaries for work not done, all Fagge could murmur during the AIT News-Hour was that the International Labour Law provided for the non-victimization clause during industrial dispute.
He bluntly shunned the question of the morals of the action.
The truth of the matter is that there is no justification anywhere in world for a person to receive pay for work not done.
Today in Nigeria, the no work, no pay law exists, but it has never been implemented, hence the negative actions of public servants across the board.
They are always willing to blackmail the government, but invest nothing to improve the system that they reap from on a daily basis.
The lecturers have had their way by arm-twisting the people focused administration of President Jonathan committed wholly to the development of the education sector, especially the university system.
Now that they have enjoyed the money that they are not entitled to, it is high time Nigerians held them to account for the investments of public funds in their welfare.
Arm-chair critics are quick to point accusing fingers at the Federal Government for anything that goes wrong in the universities.
They conveniently forget to mention the obligations of the lecturers and the administrators of the university system.
Or is that the lecturer is there in the university simply to collect salaries and earned allowances.
From the last strike, it is obvious that the Federal Government appears to be pouring water in a basket.
The so-called earned allowances are meant for lecturers to supervise theses and projects of under-graduate and post-graduate students.
I wonder what the actual functions of lecturers are in the academic system if they cannot supervise students on the basis of the monthly remuneration.
Should the Federal Government employ other people to perform this function? The lecturers have laughed hysterically to the banks, but they must realise that this is the time for them to ensure that examinations are marked on time and results released at least two weeks after the semester examination.
It is disheartening that we run a university system where a 200 Level Student gets to see his first semester 100 level examination results when he is about to start his 200 level examination.
Even at that, these lecturers hand over the examination papers to their students in higher levels to mark, while the professors hand over their examination papers to graduate assistants.
This rot is responsible for the decadence in the system.
The Federal Government since former President Olusegun Obasanjo through to President Goodluck Jonathan has completely changed the fortunes of Nigerians University teachers.
With the payment of N92billion Earned or is it unearned allowances to these lecturers, no lecturer has any reason to continue with the sale of hand-outs or extremely misplaced monographs.
They should be willing to impact whatever knowledge they have to the students and help the nation grow.
This extends to the issue of gross sexual harassment of female students on the altar of academic performance.
They force these girls to hire hotel rooms with their own money and thereafter sexually molest them.
The case of Prof.
Festus David Kolo of Ahmadu Bello University who repeatedly harassed a married woman, Mrs Bushira Ishyaku for sex comes to mind.
He was jailed two months by a magistrate court for this offence.
Kolo is one criminal in a widespread crime on our campuses.
Many are still left un-convicted.
These lecturers in view of the President's goodwill must turn a new leaf.
Our university lecturers on the account of the huge government investments must begin to take research seriously.
The issue of plagiarising works of foreign authors and older generation lecturers can no longer be tolerated.
The Jonathan administration has earmarked N3billion as Research Fund to be accessed by lecturers.
Unfortunately, TETFund were these Research Fund is ware-housed complained bitterly that university lecturers lacked the capacity to write proposals to access these funds.
At the last award, only 13 lecturers could access these funds.
With enough resources at their disposal, the universities should work on the capacity of their lecturers to write proposals to access these funds.
Nigerian University lecturers must as a matter of urgency stop playing to the antics of the opposition politicians.
They must see themselves as members of the Nigerian society, who are privileged as employees of government to assist in the development of the nation through education.
There is no wisdom destroying the foundations of the nation.
Public University lecturers earn far more than majority of their counterparts in private universities, yet these lecturers in the private universities are more committed and productive than these over-pampered public universities teachers.
This is the time for the government to weed the public universities of bad eggs.
A new evaluation system should be established to weigh the productivity of lecturers.
Those who fail to meet up the standard should be sacked.
This new evaluation should take into cognizance the student rating of their lecturers in terms of punctuality to the classroom, number of contact hours with students vis-à-vis the university time-table, female students rating of lecturers in terms of sexual harassment and the quality of lecture delivery by individual lecturers.
Beyond the students' evaluation of lecturers, the National University Commission should approve Community Based Lecturers Evaluation Committees for all Federal Universities.
These committees should draw membership from Parents, religious leaders, host communities, alumni association and retired academics.
The responsibility of this committee should be to independently assess lecturers and university administrators on a semester basis.
The reports of this committee should be submitted twice every year to the National Universities Commission and copied to the Federal Ministry of Education.
On the premise of these reports, individual lecturers can be queried for negligence of duty and appropriate punishment meted out to them.
Nigeria can no longer afford to give lecturers of public universities blanket cheques for non-performance.
The lecturers basking in the euphoria of blanket cheques refuse to take responsibility for the failures that they have created in the nation's university system.
Like other Nigerians, they send their children abroad or to private universities to study.
Unfortunately, they indulge in this life of luxury because of the money they squeeze out of our public funds.
Nigerians must resist any future attempt by lecturers to embark on such lengthy unjustifiable strike.
As intellectuals that they claim to be, they must find alternative way of industrial dispute resolution.
Strike is no longer worthwhile.
On the part of the Federal Government, it must begin to consider ways of stopping this strike-mania by lecturers.
They enjoy staying away from work, only to return to 'earn' salaries and allowances.
From my investigations, the Federal Government under President Jonathan has investigated tremendously in the welfare and academic development of Nigerian lecturers.
There is the Presidential programme to train a new crop of lecturers under a programme to train first class degree holders in the 25 best universities in the world.
I am told that the first batch of 100 new lecturers have commenced their training.
The same President Jonathan has trained over 7000 lecturers locally and internationally through TETFund and the NUC.
The same President Jonathan has introduced the Journals Development Programme, which I am told is aimed at encouraging lecturers and universities to publish in reputable journals.
There is also the programme of High Impact revival of infrastructure of public universities infrastructures at N1.
3trillion spread of six years.
No Nigerian should accept any untenable excuse from any lecturer for non-performance.
I am happy that the politically vocal chairman of ASUU University of Ibadan was the first to commend the Federal Government for keeping to its word of paying them the unearned salaries.
Painfully in that press statement, he failed to outline what ASUU would do to improve on the lack-lustre performance of her members.
The time of teaming up with opposition elements is over, this is the time to work and work they must.
The lecturers should learn from the matured approach of the doctors.
Even though they have their grievances, they have continued to engage with the Federal Government every step of the way.
The doctors understand their role in the community and will not allow ill-intentioned politicians break their ranks.
No Nigerian worth his salt should allow this unpatriotic strike to destroy our university system.
This is because whenever the lecturers strike, they get paid and we and our children lose out.
Nigerians must hold these lecturers accountable, henceforth.
Written By Ayuba Mohammed [email protected]