By Jennifer Y Omiloli
Kayode Fayemi, the Ekiti State Governor, has said that professors in Nigerian universities earn as much as he does, and that, in some cases, they earn more than him on a monthly basis.
Fayemi said that as a governor, he earns N500,000 monthly salary, arguing that a professor sometimes earns more than that.
He also chastised Nigerian scholars for allegedly not taking advantage of certain opportunities which, he said, he was privy to.
The governor is of the opinion that it was unnecessary for the Academic Staff Union of Universities to have embarked on its ongoing strike action.
Fayemi spoke with journalists on Monday in Paris at the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s interactive session with Nigerians living in France.
He said that ASUU and Nigerian tertiary institutions had benefited more under Buhari’s administration than at other times.
“If you talk about tertiary education, ASUU is on strike; but you ask yourself, ‘Why is ASUU on strike?’
“ASUU claimed that it is on strike because it wants improvement in the fortunes of education in Nigeria and that government has not lived up to expectations.
“I make bold to say that no government has done as much as this government has done — not just for ASUU, but also for tertiary education in our country.
“Is it enough? Absolutely, it’s not going to be enough. We have to keep doing more.
“But, ask yourself, ‘What was the average wage in the university system before?’
“A university professor earns more than me as a governor. My salary as a governor is N500,000. Most university professors earn about the same amount, if not more.
“Yes, you may argue that there are other opportunities available, there are also other opportunities that are available that are not being taken advantage of by our academics.
“I can say a little bit about this because this is my terrain.
“I do not think that ASUU, on its own strength, can argue that government has not done well.
“There is hardly any institution in Nigeria today, including state universities, that has not had the benefit of the Federal Government intervention.
“It is either the government is building an auditorium or rehabilitating a laboratory or improving on students’ hostels in virtually all the universities as I speak to you.
“That’s what TETFUND does via their intervention funds.
“That, again, is not the complete solution,” he said