A University of Nigeria Nsukka lecturer identified as Mr. Obitube Kelvinfrancis O. on Sunday 17th February 2019, wrote an open letter to all University lecturers in Nigeria. he wrote;
”AN OPEN LETTER TO MY CO-LECTURERS IN NIGERIA
Good morning fellow colleagues. Greetings to my older and younger lecturers in the University of Nigeria and all ‘Universities’ across the country. I write this open letter to you as part of my effort in our collective strife towards achieving the country of our dreams, which has always led us into frequent researches, conferences, workshops, and when need be, strikes. I thank you all for being steadfast and for finding ways to remain motivated in the task of nurturing Nigerian students to be ready to positively take over the county this year (time to change the phrase as it seems “future” never seems to come in Nigeria), even though we are, constantly, faced with the thoughts and challenges of abandoning the vocation for greener pastures, as a result of poor working environment and several negative factors. Thank you, comrades
Over the couple of weeks, we have taken upon ourselves, the task of educating our students and the Nigerian populace, through the social media as well as several mass media channels, on the need to actively participate in Nigeria’s general elections, against all odds, as a way of continuing the search for a government that will create that desired environment for all country people to thrive. We called off ASUU strike for this purpose so that students will return to pick up their PVCs and be able to vote their candidates. By doing so, we failed to achieve part of our purposes for the strike, which include receiving part of our earned allowances, which are, scandalously, being owed us for nearly a decade and the release of funds for the revitalisation of our universities. These payments ought to have been implemented before calling off the strike but out of patriotism, we discontinued this process. We all hoped that the 16th of February, 2019 will mark the beginning of the practice of our theoretical enlightenment of the people on election participation. We all, also hoped that our students will massively vote in our collective task of nation building. However, the elections were, untimely postponed by a week.
With this ill-timed postponement, we are torn between getting our students back into the classrooms (as the semester has started and there is limited time to cover our respective curriculums) and allowing them another week to vote in their assigned wards, especially where these wards are several miles away and require strenuous travels to cover the distance from their respective schools. Whatever thoughts that reign supreme in our hearts, I wish to remind us that if there is no land on which to stand, we all cannot stand and, so, it is only in a politically favourable environment can we and our students can thrive. Therefore, no matter our level of zeal to get back into the classrooms, we still owe the foremost duty of helping our students exercise their voting rights. May we remember that every incidence of failure provokes a discomfort and the natural instinct to apportion blames from quarters even unimaginable to quarters even unimaginable, too. The roles we play in this election season will, therefore, determine whether our students will blame or applaud us for denying them the opportunity to make their leadership choice or allowing them the opportunity to do so, respectively.
For a balance, I suggest that we keep our students already in our various campuses, who will vote in wards nearby, busy with introductory classes but with a view of seamlessly welcoming back the rest of our students after the elections and helping them adapt quickly to academic demands. Two tasks, therefore, lie before us:
i. To play our part in helping our students exercise their voting rights wherever they ought to do so, without being punished for missing classes. By this, we avoid being blamed if the political environment after the elections become too harsh for concentration in learning (we pray this never becomes the case)
ii. To enable all our students adapt seamlessly to academic activities upon their return to our universities, without struggling fruitlessly to cover enormous void created by their short absence due to the elections.
We are the eyes of Nigeria’s social, artistic, scientific and technological advancement through our researches and nurturing of Nigeria’s youths through education and mentorship. It is, indeed, a pity and very worrisome that these enormous tasks on our shoulders are barely appreciated by many Nigerian politicians who find themselves in positions of leadership. It is due to this negligence that Nigeria remains underdeveloped since it is a known fact that no country ever develops above its educational level. However, may we continue to persevere and not lose faith. May we, in courage and determination, continue to fight for the good of the country, our families and our students but may we never, out of cowardice or misplaced priorities, back down from our collective legal resistance against actions that injure our common good and may we never compromise our roles in nation building.
Thank you very much, fellow comrades and may our relentless efforts create us a better country.
KelvinFrancis Olisaemeka Obitube
University of Nigeria, Nsukka.”
This is a letter all Nigerian lecturers should go through to have a viewpoint of not just academic students but electorates who it is in their power to decide the fate of education in Nigeria; more so, not to give up on doing the right thing.