I remember vividly how I was recruited into Setraco Construction Company at Igobiri-Toru-Ebeni project in Bayelsa State as a young and fresh Geology graduate coming from school. I had this notion that being a graduate, every other person who was not one was to bow and take orders from me. It didn’t take long when I figured out that my school degree was merely an advantage but that the world of experience was an entirely different one that required me to be low-headed to learn.
Consequently, I found myself being humble toward Mr. Samuel who was a secondary school leaver but had put in over 20 years of experience in the firm’s laboratory. The practical analysis and laboratory skills he had on construction materials were enough to humble me into accepting my rightful place as a Laboratory Technician way under him and others who possessed much more experience than I did. I humbled myself and learned enough from these individuals perhaps at a faster rate than someone who’s not a university graduate would require. The rest is history today.
I brought the above narrative to explain why I feel ASUU went overboard by intending to withdraw the academic certificate of Kashifu Inuwa over the performance of his statutory responsibility and one that is systemic at that. ASUU is made up of a cadre of lecturers ranging from Professors to Graduate Assistants but in all honesty that is not enough to guarantee that they possess enough practical experience to insist on the efficacy of their own developed ICT Application which aimed to aid the payment of their remunerations.
NITDA as an agency is statutorily established to aid the government in the area of developing the ICT sector. One would also understand the popular notion that everything goes in Nigeria and where it goes wrong along the line, tongues go wagging, blames are shared, monies are lost and a repeat of the mistake is made again. We are a people that have been used to producing half-baked solutions to issues just to pass over situations. Unfortunately, the current NITDA DG feels otherwise, he feels the mentality to work has to change in such a way that the organization has been rejuvenated into a result-driven one. Little wonder why he has worked to earn the confidence of the Federal Government into believing the judgment of the Agency in the UTAS matter was going to be an objective one that would guarantee long-term operability.
However, while the young man is genuinely patriotic in trying to ensure the workability of the Agency he has been saddled to superintend over, he equally has to deal with the nature of the country’s people that hardly appreciate genuine efforts. This is a country that prefers hypocrisy and mediocrity and I do not envy anyone who attempts to put those kinds of critical patriotic efforts. Even President Muhammadu Buhari who has given as much had to relax at some point and agreed that Nigerians were hilarious people.
The issue around UTAS was purely a technical one that may not necessarily be understood when looked at from strictly the book’s point of view. NITDA boasts of staff that has years and tonnes of experience in practical matters that relate to UTAS and many others alike or bigger. They understand practical challenges that could result from the handling of big data, they understand the resources constraint that could result from a long-term point of view. Was ASUU expecting NITDA to simply approve a solution that has truly not ticked all the boxes it was supposed just so ASUU would clap and probably sheath their arm-twisting like press releases?
We do appreciate our lecturers who have worked hard to ensure we obtain the appropriate essays needed to understand the rudiments of the various courses we read. However, we equally appreciate the tons of informal experiences we obtained from everyday life at the various universities. Overall, we mostly appreciate the practical experiences we have obtained as well as the advanced additional qualifications we have obtained.
ASUU, could leverage the various experiences at NITDA and forge a partnership that could afford them the needed expertise that could develop a workable application that could solve the remuneration debacle of ASUU among others.
Hashim Suleiman can be reached via email@example.com