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Buhari, Onyema Ogbuagu and the ASUU strike suspension

President Muhammadu Buhari

Just as Nigerians were trying to claim Onyema Ogbuagu as their own, ASUU, it appears has ended a 21-month strike. Dr Ogbuagu is reported to be one of the brains behind the touted COVID-19 vaccine. Born a twin to the Ogbuagus pursuing doctorate degrees in Yale, Onyema returned with his parents to Nigeria. He attended the University of Calabar and returned home to his parent’s Alma matter for further studies.

Ogbuagu’s rising star is a unique irony with a double entendre. He is American. That is how America works. If he was born in Katsina or Kogi, he would have been named a Nyamiri or Ibo, not a Katsinawa or Kogite – something there to ponder for those rushing to claim him.

His parents returned to Nigeria with their twins, possibly hoping to create a Yale out of their own corner of the woods. They sent their son to Unical apparently because ABU or BUK would have rejected him on the grounds that Abia is not within their ‘catchment area’.

As every parent of foreign children knows, return them to their country of birth where potentials are appreciated and excellence is appropriated.

If Dr Ogbuagu had enrolled in JAMB in 2015 when Muhammadu Buhari hoodwinked citizens with his ‘Change’ mantra, he would have had a short chance at graduating let alone making it back home to Yale for further studies. If perchance he had graduated, he wouldn’t have made it to the top of the list for inventions. The only thing we invent in Nigeria is the depth of depravity.

Nigerian elite in government run the system like the town folks of Harry Mosco’s classic, Country Boy – any good things they have, ‘they just share for themselves.’

Thank God for the senior Ogbuagus for sending their brilliant son back home – to America. It is now the law of survival that wherever possible, two generations should not make the same dumb mistakes occasioned by the accidents of their birth. The senior Dr Ogbuagu broke records of his own, becoming vice-chancellor of the Abia State University and later Secretary to the State government. But I bet that was not the dream when they left Yale! Nigeria is a dream killer!

So, each time Nigerians rush to anchor their hopelessness on the achievement of a worthy ‘son’ making waves abroad, one laughs! There’s something outside our shores that turns our brightest and best into blazing meteors in full bloom even on a bright firmament. Nigeria epitomises Bob Marley’s classic – kill them before they grow! We should stop stamping Dr Ogbuagu’s success with our stamp of serial hopelessness.

Nigeria has grown the evil of nepotism to knock stars out of reckoning. If they jump over it, we have the albatross of quota system blocking their views. And if they scale that, they’ll have the blindfold of visionlessness. There is a launching pad propelling the worst among us above the best among us.

Imagine, 30 years after being swept aside by his own comrades in arms, we have recycled Muhammadu Buhari back to the pedestal to run the ship of state for two terms.

We should just let Ogbuagu savour his hard-earned success; it has nothing to do with us. We contributed nothing to his success – mechionu! Poor chap was possibly pushed away by the prospect of being a Nigerian and ending up like the rest of the Joneses, saying ‘yes sir’ to jejune.

Besides, had Dr Ogbuagu been named in a scam like the infamous Nigerian prince, we wouldn’t have rushed to put the national flag on his ‘success’. If he had been caught with a laptop, Nigerian policemen would have accused him of 419 and wasted him.

Congratulations to Dr Ogbuagu for his feat. He owes it to being raised well, but being born to Nigerian parents is a pure accident of birth. If his parents had been natural Americans on secondment to Nigeria and he was born in Isikwuato, he’ll never have been proud to call himself a Nigerian. What is the essence of claiming a country that adds nothing to your educational, mental or psychological value? Nigerian leadership, one that serially rapes the citizen’s conscience and degrades its humanity should lay claim to nothing good.

Onyeama graduated from a Nigerian university that worked, just like thousands of Nigerian doctors helping Americans live quality lives. The educational system handed over to Buhari in 2015 was in a coma, and he was expected to breathe life into it. Instead, he wasted months in a London hideout trying to preserve his own life. His captive citizens were left like a rudderless ship listing; tertiary institutions were in a lockdown.

Within the five years that Buhari and the APC have been in the saddle, federal universities have been on 21 months of lockdown. During the period, Buhari’s children have graduated from universities in London. At least one of his daughters frequently returns on state-sponsored trips in which she flies the presidential jet to functions that advance her education.

This truce between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the regime, (if a truce it is), is not built to last. It was achieved through serial blackmail and subterfuge. Exasperated Nigerian students took to social media to relate their experiences with the men and women who have turned our ivory towers into a predatory mammy market. They trade research, lectures, marks and supervisions for cash, goods and, well, where they can, for sex. Days before the inks were applied to the federal government/ASUU agreement, a section of Nigerian students went to court, asking them to compel ASUU to return to the lecture halls and to fleece the teachers for pain and suffering.

The last time I saw anything close to that was when Francis Arthur Nzeribe approached a court of law to scuttle the June 12 elections. It is, however, not shocking, pro-Buhari groups have revised the military era script. Critics are disappearing; organisers of peaceful protests are being clamped into indefinite detention, regime apology judges are minting fresh and controversial judgments against those opposed to the system.

The reasons ASUU shut down the schools have been with us since soldiers, like exuberant spectators, felt they would be better governors than sharp shooters. Bereft of any educational foregrounding, these incompetent soldiers place no value on learning. General Buhari has moved on from his lost certificates, he has sent his children to the best schools abroad, he doesn’t appear fazed by what happens to the children of the hoi polloi.

His criminal silence over how to redeem public education is conspiratorial. Schools are rusty and rusted, the faculties are dilapidated and the government is either clueless about how to redeem the falling standards and help raise more Dr. Ogbuagus, if not for Nigeria, at least for America. America has benefitted from more Nigerian doctors than the average Nigerian has had a chance of getting anything close to cottage healthcare delivery.

The saddest part is, those in government would rather close down schools because illiteracy is a machine that mint votes; it is the organic fertilizer that grows nepotism, a breeding ground for a thriving quota system.