Ishowo Malik Ayomide
Recall that on the 14th of February 2022, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, declared a month strike in government-owned universities in Nigeria. However, since the declaration of the strike, the University teaching staff and students have sat in their various homes pending the time ASUU discontinue the strike. It is quite unfortunate that despite the gap in decades, I am still witnessing and going through the same struggle my parents experienced in their efforts for education.
While the agitations of the Academic Staff Union of Universities are legitimate, the subsequent extension of the strike by additional eight weeks is a siege on the most important social institution of our dear nation. Of course, these are in no way the creation of ASUU, but the Nigerian government, the blame is theirs to bear on the status quo.
The strike is expected to facilitate dynamic difference and prosperity to the education system in Nigeria, specifically in government-owned tertiary institutions. This dream is good for our country, most intervention agencies regarding education are product of ASUU’s dream and efforts. Moreover, most tertiary institutions in the country needs what’s called a “rescue mission” as said by an intellectual historian a couple of days ago, in which the tertiary institutions union had been trying tirelessly and tremendously to make that come into fruition.
On the part of Nigerian students, the ASUU Strike is a setback to our academic journey. Quite frankly, we ought to be in the school currently learning, studying and exploring. In this case, we are the greatest victims of a nation that is not working. Beyond that, the years that are being robbed from our youthfulness can’t be recovered, especially in a post-pandemic year which is supposed to be a recovery period for us. For Ukraine, the global community can understand if their students are not in school, Nigeria doesn’t have any explanation. Unfortunately, resumption is not in sight, as the body language of our government is indicating otherwise; prompting the Senior Staff Association Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and Non Academic Staff Union, NASU, to also commence another round of warning strike. What a threat to the future of the Nigerian youth often derisively regarded as leaders of tomorrow? What is uppermost in the mind of our career politicians in the country is 2023, not the social institution that serves as the bedrock of any democracy. Don’t they know the ASUU strike is giving us a bad experience and negative definition of democracy as young people?
For a school like the “Better by far” the University of Ilorin, all efforts towards stability after the last prolonged disruption in the academic system have been thrown out of the window. Perhaps, the university’s resolve to (re)join the mainstream was to share in the general aspirations of the body, however, it turned out disastrous as we have a government that has consistently dared to see what the citizens of this country are capable of. Shockingly, the DSS was quoted to have said the planned strike by NANS is to, once again, plunge the nation into chaos like #EndSARS.
What a difficult time in our history! A turbulent time indeed for Nigeria, where students and ASUU are victims; and the Nigerian government as riders – with exiled emotions. Governance was pended for politics. Oh dear Lord! What a country!
As the ASUU strike rages on, If it’s not suspended soon, its disastrous outcome can be projected. Some students will dive into atrocious, obnoxious and repulsive acts, such as theft, fraud, rituals, and armed robbery, orchestrated by an already stressed and tensed economy.
The youth are forced to engage in far more heinous crime, a major setback to our nation-building efforts as a people. We can’t afford such people, who are supposed to be assets in our transformational agenda to become wasted talents. Brilliant minds are capable of becoming evil genius if the environment offers them the opportunity to go astray, a mind that is not learning is in serious danger.
May Almighty God help us touch the heart of the federal government to settle the grievances of ASUU. For the students of this country do not deserve to become “evils” created by their own country. The implications of ASUU strike is unambiguous, especially in a new world order. Where will our stratified and educationally disadvantaged youth be when their counterparts have moved ahead in global competition? Between power and the future of this country, the government has made a clear choice, only the blind can agree less.
ISHOWO, Malik Ayomide