AC Criticises Yar’Adua Over Saudi Varsity Opening Attendance

The Action Congress (AC) has described as a cruel irony President Umaru Yar’Adua acceptance to be the special guest of honour at the opening of the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia during his visit to that country this week.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party wondered how comfortable President Yar’Adua will be at such a ceremony, considering that Nigeria’s public universities have been shut for three months now under his watch.

“The joke is on President Yar’Adua, and whoever advised him to accept the invitation to be a special guest of honour at the opening of the new university in Saudi at this time has done him a great disservice,‘’ it said.

AC said if Saudi leaders had been like their Nigerian counterparts, who have relegated education to the background, President Yar’Adua would not have been invited to attend the opening of a new university in that country.

“Nigerian leaders have been sleeping well and some have even been partying, despite the fact that thousands of hapless university students have been shut out of their institutions for three months now, because the country is unfortunate to have a government that wants to be counted among the top nations in the world without educating its youths; a government that has no qualms in arrogantly cutting off negotiations with striking teachers, whose only offence is that they have dared to demand a better deal for the universities

“To make matters worse, the leader of this nonchalant government does not see anything wrong in sitting side by side with leaders who have invested their own resources wisely – in providing the best education for their own citizens through well-equipped institutions, well-remunerated faculties and well-motivated students,” the party said.

AC said asking President Yar’Adua to be a special guest of honour at the  opening of the King Abdullah university is like asking a man who has just battered his own wife to help make peace between another man and his estranged wife, adding: ”Is it not clear that such a request is aimed at subjecting the pseudo peacemaker to ridicule?”

Quoting US President Barack Obama, who said ”the only reason to hold public office is to get things done”, the party called on President Yar’Adua to do everything in his power to immediately end the strike that has paralysed academic and other activities in the universities, and to set in motion efforts to uplift the country’s education system – without which his administration’s dream of leapfrogging Nigeria to the league of developed economies by 2020 will become a nightmare.