By Wole Balogun


One of the biggest problems with the ruling elite of our great nation, Nigeria, is their little or no regard for learning from history. This negates the sagely saying, which l like to rephrase as: “We must use the lessons of the past to handle the present better, so we don’t jeopardize the future”.

Unfortunately, and pitiably, the Nigerian ruling elite have this unhealthy habit of forgetting our history so soon, especially when they are in the ‘transient’ position of leadership. The comfort, pleasure and god-like authority associated with leadership goad them on and they just misbehave and toy with history and thereby toy with germane issues of national interest.

The aforementioned situation is currently playing out with President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration as Nigeria’s democratic leader. President Buhari’s kid glove’s handling of, and clearly nonchalant attitude towards the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU) strike action, which unfortunately clocked 200 days today, is a clear indication of a leader who has forgotten history, having been carried away by the pleasure and god-like authority he possesses as Nigeria’s incumbent number one citizen.

Alas! the President has suddenly forgotten that he was one of those strong voices against the inhuman and nonchalant attitude of his predecessor, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, against ASUU when he was yet to be elected Nigerian President.

Alas! The same Buhari who was regarded as the incorruptible man of ‘integrity’, has suddenly forgotten that he promised Nigerians “change” which in his own definition, denotes that his administration would swiftly address Nigeria’s challenges in all ramifications and surmount them unlike how the then President Jonathan seemed to be foot-dragging in tackling the problems bedeviling our dear country Nigeria.

Pitiably, President Buhari has forgotten that should he fail to urgently, personally, decisively and sincerely address the ongoing ASUU-FG impasse, his name as leader of the team during this tenure, would be dragged in the mud by history recorders and writers the same way historians have continued to drag in the mud the name of a one-time military Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) for ignobly ignoring and neglecting ASUU for over two years during his reign.

President Buhari doesn’t seem to reason now that historians wouldn’t care to mention his Minister of Education Malam Adamu Adamu, his loquacious Minister of state for Labour, Barr. Festus Keyamo and their third accomplice, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, as they would mention Mohammadu Buhari when they would later tell the history of his administration as civilian ruler of Nigeria.

A Biblical injunction cautions humans that a good name is better than gold or silver. Nigerians have this usual habit of easily forgetting those good deeds of their leaders,
but they always remember the bad deeds and only tell stories of these bad deeds years after the expiration of such tenure. Telling examples are those of IBB and his younger but more brutal officer, Sani Abacha, who broke the records as Nigeria’s worst and most inhuman leader in spite of the fact that there were still good deeds he did during his reign.

Pray! why is President Mohammadu Buhari toeing the ignoble path of IBB? History has it that IBB allowed ASUU’s strike action to linger for close to two years when the then Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega was ASUU’s national President. Military ruler IBB then even proscribed ASUU as a union the same way the current Buhari led government is allegedly planning to do, but that only worsened the situation and resulted in a long legal battle between the IBB led military government and ASUU resulting sadly into Nigerian students remaining at home for so long.

History equally makes us to understand that this long battle which was mainly orchestrated by the then recalcitrant IBB led government made IBB to lose the support and goodwill of Nigerians. It drew the ire of the Nigerian populace, peopled mainly by the masses whose indigent children were bearing the brunt of the prolonged strike action and made the IBB regime to lose acceptance on a very large scale and eventually culminated into Babangida having to step aside from power in order to save his face. It was indeed an undoing for which the then Nigerian students, now grandparents, would never forgive IBB.

That was the history of ASUU’s face-off with government some 30 years ago! Today, history is repeating itself. ASUU is back fully into the trenches against the usual We-Don’t-Care attitude of the Federal Government. President Buhari is at the center of the whole imbroglio.

The ball is entirely in his court. Immediate past President Jonathan has graciously given President Buhari a hint of what he could do to end the strike action in a day by publicly recalling the history of how he saved his own administration from getting bad records regarding Nigerian University education in the history book of the nation. President Jonathan said he had to personally chair the meeting with ASUU and invited all other stakeholders and that made him to end the impasse in just one night!

The decision for President Buhari to come down from his high horse and immediately chair a conflict resolution meeting with ASUU and resolve this impasse once and for all, lies entirely in his hands.

Ex-President Jonathan has told him and the world clearly that the now nearly seven months old strike action which has rendered the poor students of public varsities idle could simply be solved in one night like he did during his own tenure. President Buhari would leave a lasting legacy and cast his name in gold if he promptly heeds this golden advice by urgently convene a meeting with ASUU and chair the session to a meaningful resolution.

Enough of this seeming Hide-and-Seek game with the industrial strike action that has brought Nigerian public varsity education to its knees for nearly seven months now. Our President cannot claim to be having more pressing issues of national interest on his hands than this very germane issue that concerns the future generation of this great country. Majority of these young people had voted massively for him in 2015 hoping that being “a man of integrity”, he would, like a father, attend to their matters urgently and faithfully.

Enough of the propaganda and mudslinging and blame game, enough of pitching all willing and gullible parties and stakeholders like NANS against ASUU to save face, enough is enough Mr. President! Please, kindly be patriotic enough to urgently meet ASUU leaders personally as Ex-President Jonathan did and solve this problem once and for all and let millions of now helpless Nigerian public varsity students currently brooding and roaming about, resume academic activities that would guarantee a bright future for them. Do not listen to enemies of your government goading you to continue to toe the ignoble path of former President Babangida, who has since become a villain to most Nigerians. Choose to write your name in the golden book of history, choose to be a leader who truly loves his people. Be humble enough to meet this ASUU leaders and get to know the true situation of this impasse. A word is enough for the wise. God bless President Mohammadu Buhari, God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Wole Balogun, a young Nigeria can be reached on