It’s always exhilarating when I write about an issue or person and then almost immediately afterwards, the person comes right back to the front burner of public discussion. In my last two articles; one I had written about Ahmed Mu’azu, and his unforgettable legacies as the Governor of Bauchi state, back in 1999-2007; and I mentioned Dr. Tilde whom he had worked with, and the efforts he was presently putting in, to revamp primary education in Bauchi state. The second article was about Mallam Adamu Adamu and the achievements he has brought thus far, in the development of Bauchi as a citadel of learning. I went on and on about Bauchi, and a friend accused me of bias and centering my articles on Bauchi. I quickly reminded him though, that charity begins at home.
Lo and behold, a few days after my piece on Mallam Adamu, the education minister, he hosted the NANS President and his team in his office; and the events of that meeting elicited a lot of ruckus from the courts of public opinion. Dr. Tilde whom I had captured in my earlier piece, came to Mallam Adamu’s defense. He said, ” My brother Mallam Adamu did the right thing. I thought he would even leave before the NANS President finished his speech but he was patient enough to listen to him till he landed”. Dr. Tilde further said, “The language of the NANS President was uncouth and uncivilised”. Dr. Tilde said that NANS doesnt have the moral standing to condemn a government that continues to give free tertiary education, despite the advice by experts to hike tuition fees. He also said that, “The NANS President’s speech lacked courtesy. The NANS President had attacked the Minister for educating his child overseas. I don’t know how true that is. (Not true – emphasis mine). I know that the Minister does send his children to a private varsity in Nigeria”.
Another intellectual that was irritated by NANS and the conduct of their President is the indefatigable Professor of English, Farooq Kperogi. In a short piece he entitled, ‘Adamu Adamu and NANS’ infantile radicalism, he bemoaned the unproductive and embarrassingly infantile jabbering of the NANS President. He said that NANS had misused an opportunity to plead with the Minister to meet ASUU’s demands. In his piece, he said that the NANs President and his group went unprepared and tried to compensate by engaging in unprovoked yelling, and poorly executed, grammatically challenged, melodramatic declamations. You see why I like Prof. Farooq? His diction never ceases to amaze, excite, and dazzle the reader, as it lashes at its prey with decisive and inch perfect abandon. Prof. Farooq also corrected the claims of the NANS President that Mallam Adamu had celebrated the graduation of his children from a UK University. The professor agreed that it can be exasperating for a man, young enough to be your grandchild, to be yelling at you while the cameras rolled.
Aside the uncouth, unruly, and ill-mannered delivery of the NANS President, in his street style tirade, while he blabbed at the table, instead of negotiate and help find a suitable way forward — many have perhaps forgotten the threats he dished out. He threatened that state roads were to be blocked and havoc was to be let loose by the student body, citing endsars as child’s play. Here was a student, threatening the security of a nation with civil unrest, destruction of both private and public property, and a total breakdown of law and order. There he was, in the board room of the ministry of education, of the most civilised black nation, with the most subsidised education, yelling and issuing threats of bringing down the government? We all know what endsars morphed into, and we have learnt a leaf or two from the Canadian trucker movements, and the Capitol Hill adventures — as they turned out to be planned insurrections.
Even in the storm of the comrades’ yelling and threats, Mallam Adamu was calm enough to get a take-home point from the NANS President, and that was to have the student body represented in the discussions/ negotiations with the government. However, with the display of the NANS President, I doubt if his lecturers would want him any where near them aside in class! Maybe the NANS President was too street wise to see that right before him, was an honorable, humble, soft spoken gentleman, who would be glad to accede to all of his reasonable demands, had he not been discountenanced by his aluta disposition. The Labour Ministry is usually saddled with the negotiations with ASUU, but were it to be left to Mallam Adamu as education minister, I’m sure he wouldn’t hesitate one bit, to see that ASUU’s demands are met – within the realm of what is feasible for the government amidst these trying times of so many subsidised sectors of the economy. So far so good, as we hear that ASUU’s payment system, the UTAS, is being considered. I am certain that our worthy political ambassador from Bauchi will hold firm and rock steady.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.