For the past few weeks, I have had the privilege to receive calls, WhatsApp messages, and emails from well-meaning Nigerian students beckoning on me to comment on the seemingly unending state of the ASUU’s strikes, especially this current strike that started March this year.
These clarion calls may have been premised on my ever blunt but frank and patriotic critiques on important issues of the Nigerian state.
Hitherto, I had resisted these clarion calls because this government doesn’t listen and act on dissenting views, it only pays attention to the voices of its legion of bootlickers and propagandists.
On the contrary, I am now compelled to do this intervention as the calls and messages seem to stop streaming in and more especially, having received a call just yesterday, from a very senior Nigerian student pressing home the same request. Hence, this writes up.
In this intervention, I resist the temptation to talk about the federal government’s penchant for reneging on its agreement with ASUU because of her act of sheer callousness towards important issues of governance. That’s by the way.
Now, let’s face the crux of this write-up. Over the years, ASUU has unabatedly argued that its quest towards revitalizing the dwindled state of the Nigerian university system is the very reason while it incessantly embarks on nationwide strikes.
Arguing that Earned Academic Allowances is not even its core grievances for always embarking on strike. Beautiful argument!
Impliedly, ASUU is fighting for a university systems where there shall be conducive learning environments comparable to what is obtainable in ivy towers in developed countries of the World which will benefit both students and all stakeholders in the university system.
But, for how long will ASUU stick to its gun in a bid to make sure its demands are meant to lock, stock, and barrel when the students it claims to be fighting for are now clamouring that the strike be called off to enable them to return back to school.
For how long will ASUU continue to deploy strike action as the only modus operandi for pressing home its demands to the federal government when it has all failed in the past? Can’t ASUU hearken to the words of Professor Sunny Edeko when he said strike action has become obsolete?
That ASUU members contain professors of international repute is stating the obvious. I challenge the apex academic body of the universities to think outside the box and come up with inbuilt solutions that can revitalise the university system as it desires it. No doubt, Students and parents will commend them for such a plausible feat on its realization.
It’s understandable that the government owes duties to provide all it takes to have a functional educational system but, ASUU will be honoured if it can set a new precedent by revitalizing the system itself. At least that will be a good way of contributing its quota to nation-building.
DELSU and UNILORIN are both state and federal universities respectively and yet, these two universities had been having smooth academic activities devoid of strikes. What stops ASUU from borrowing a leaf from them? Kudos to the Administrations of both schools.
It is high time all well-meaning members of ASUU called for the adoption of the DELSU and UNILORIN’s model. For the sake of national regeneration, I urge ASUU to take a clue from these two universities if indeed its ever resort to strike is not for personal aggrandizement.
For the sake of the teeming Nigerian students, ASUU should do well to call off the strike while the 14 days ultimatum issued by the National Association of Nigerian students last. That’s the best way to go. After all, the vast majority of ASUU members’ children are in public universities.
No doubt, it will amount to an act of malingering, hypocrisy, and un- patriotism if ASUU failed to call off the strike especially now that the Federal government has offered to release 50 billion for its use.
This is not to say the Federal government has been leaving up to expectations. But, for the sake of giving hope to the teeming Nigerian students who have always been the proverbial grass in the battle of the proverbial elephants which ASUU and federal government denote.
By so doing, the professor Ogunyemi led ASUU will have written their names in gold, and posterity will forever be grateful to them.
ASUU can you please call off the strike, and leave the stage now that the ovation is High?
Written by Musa Isa Nesta, a 300 level law student at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma Edo State.