President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities to reconsider their position on the prolonged strike in the interest of the students.
President Buhari stated this when he received some governors of the All Progressives Congress, lawmakers and party chieftains at his residence in Daura, Katsina State.
He stressed that the government understood the lecturers’ position, adding that negotiations should continue with students allowed to return to the classroom.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said in a statement that Buhari expressed worry that the prolonged strike would have generational consequences on families, the educational system and future development of the country.
According to the statement, Buhari said the strike had already taken a toll on the psychology of parents, students and other stakeholders, throwing up many moral issues that already beg for attention.
The President added that Nigeria’s future rested on the quality of educational institutions and education.
“We hope that ASUU will sympathise with the people on the prolonged strike. Truly, enough is enough for keeping students at home. Don’t hurt the next generation for goodness sake,” he said.
Buhari urged all well-meaning Nigerians, particularly those close to the leaders and members of the association, to persuade the striking lecturers to reconsider their stand, and its effect on an entire generation and the nation.
The President added that students from Nigerian universities would be faced with the challenge of competing with others in a highly connected and technology-driven work space, and keeping them at home only deprives them of time, skill and opportunities to be relevant on the global stage.
He said, “Colonial type education was geared towards producing workers in government. Those jobs are no longer there. Our young people should get education to prepare them for self-employment. Now education is for the sake of education.
“Through technology we are much more efficient. We should encourage our children to get education, note only to look for government jobs.”
Buhari said resources should be channeled more into building infrastructure and operations of the health and educational sector, not to expand the bureaucracy to create job opportunities.
“By this time next year, I would have made the most out of the two terms, and the remaining months I will do my best,” the President noted.
Buhari urged those in political positions and places of privilege to be mindful in helping the many Nigerians that were looking for opportunities.
“If you are greedy, you won’t look around to see what is happening with those who are less endowed,’’ he said.
The President told the governors and political leaders that he had not been to his house in Daura for close to a year due to the demands of office.
President Buhari said he would retire to Daura, not Kaduna, where he had a better house.
The President said relative to the resources available, and compared to the last administration, the government had done well in many areas, particularly in infrastructure.
“I wish the person who is coming after me the very best,” he said.
On security, the President said the North West had posed more challenges, and some success had been recorded in other regions, North East and South South.
Buhari advised some indigenes in the South South to stop hurting national assets, which also affect their livelihood.
“I am eager to go. I can tell you it has been tough. I am grateful to God that people appreciate the personal sacrifices we have been making,” he added.
In his remarks at the meeting, the Chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, thanked the President for his leadership roles in improving the economy of the nation and the many successes recorded at the APC, which include two conventions to produce the party leadership and the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Bagudu, who is the Governor of Kebbi State, said the favorable seasons supported the vision of ensuring food production and making agriculture a priority, with clear results in rice pyramids in various states.