So finally I decided to write my first blog post since I signed up, not that I have not had the time but I have just being lazy and indecisive about what to write about. Hence, after reading various articles, news, views about the big topic on the mind of youths of this nation “ASUU STRIKE” I decided to write about it…Let me get started with the topic; ASUU STRIKE; THE IMPASSE.
The University was at the apex of its academic activities for the semester. The session was finally coming to an end, which would be wrapped up with an end of the session examination. The whole school was generally busy, both during the day and at night. Lecturers, students even the non-academic staffs; laboratory attendants attending to practicals that are meant to be done within the session, the library became a market place due to the daily influx of students , the library staffs got busy too. Infact if you don’t get to enter the library early there is a high probability of you not getting a sit there ( that’s how much students love to read in my school, though results seem to say less of that).
At night, the lecture theaters became night classes also well populated with some students reading on hall ways, lawns and so on. Students were burning the midnight candles ( success being a byproduct of hardwork), having sleepless nights in “bookland” and applying effort to amount to something in life.
Indeed, examination period it was , a time where hope soars high again, a time to correct the ills of the previous semester or session and surpass it.
Then about 2 weeks to the “ultimate” entering the exam. hall proper. The academic staff union of universities ( ASUU) embarked on a total indefinite strike to compel the federal government to implement an agreement reached with the body in 2009. Citing negligence on the part of the govt. to faithfully implement the agreement it freely entered with the body.
When the rumours of this strike was first going round, a part of me protested against it , and was like they should allow us to write this exam and go home first, knowing the antecedent of ASUU and the meaning of the word, “indefinite”. But another part of me became joyous and happy because I wanted the break very much ‘cos I was already in a state of exhaustion due to excessive reading, and schools general stress taking nine courses for the semester ( no carryover).
Let me add that, this agreement was first entered in 2001 by the FG and ASUU aimed at resuscitating the university system in the country and saving the system from total collapse. The agreement provides for re-negotiation every three years for impact assessment and it’s implementation. The agreement was due for renegotiation in 2004 but the government reneged and didn’t take place until 2007 and lasted more than 2 years to produce the 2009 agreement, which was freely entered by the FG and ASUU.
According to the president of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge, ASUU had a memoranda of understanding with the FG for it to spend over N3 trillion to turn around the fortune of all federal and state universities and also to better the lot of the education sector in the country. The agreement is for the federal government to spend N800 billion yearly for the next four years, but what we have is the government talking about N130 billion which is very insignificant, he said.
At first, I thought the strike the strike would not last for more than two weeks, knowing that our president promised to turn around the education sector in the country during his campaign period coupled with the fact that he also was a former lecturer and understands the system. So I stayed back in school for the first two weeks of the strike hoping that everything would soon be restored to normalcy again. Hence, I followed the news vigourously, read various articles about ASUU, kept on googling “ASUU STRIKE” every morning and night, migrating from my normal daily traditional newspaper to various ones hoping to find an encouraging news that the strike would be called off.
With meetings been announced and rescheduled I was literally looking forward to each one, to find out when the IMPASSE would be resolved. I watched the stars at night, followed the stars the way the wise men followed it, interpreted news and reactions from the two teams after each meeting. but each time the conclusion is ” a deadlock meeting”
And I kept asking myself when will this country be free from all these dramas, when will the elected be responsible after assuming office. If the government can neglect her greatest asset for close to four months now. When we hear that our counterparts abroad are breaking grounds in research and developing new technologies to make the world a better place e.g Is the trio of dons at Harvard university that just won the 2013 Nobel prize in chemistry to name a few. And universities in my country are closed, killing dreams and potentials. Students minds are now rendered idle to give occupancy to the devils workshop.
Thoroughly thought, what ASUU is fighting for is fair; improved funding for universities and her members earned allowances. As education can be said to be the vehicle that can move any nation forward. As Mr Patrick Obahiagbon put it in his interview with channels tv, “these flash points has been of no serious concern to the FG ‘cos I believe that none of their children are in federal and state universities. With N150 billion statutory allocation released so far to 469 legislators of our National Assembly this year and the government is gloating over N130 billion which is no where near the 2009 agreement. Also it is true that funding with no proper planning and implementation will lead to corruption, waste and yield no result at the end. It is in this regard I challenge ASUU to seek a better way to address her dispute with the FG other than embarking on strikes. So as to allow we the students to return back to our classes.
Also, I can’t shy away from the truth, and to remove bias from this issue, I have to say this, ASUU are making demands hiding under the cover of wanting a better university system for the nation. But we all know that these demands are selfish. I am one of the few students that believe that these demands are excessive and the strike might have been politised.
Come to think of it, the money they are demanding for infrastructural development, they want to collect all at once, can ASUU destroy all our lecture theaters, labs., hall of residence at the same time to build another one? Where would the students be during this period!
Another point is the money universities make from students from school fees, hostel maintenance and other miscellaneous fees students pay from time to time, though some can be opined to say it is meager compared to what our counterparts pay in private universities, but the question is, what are they being used for? No new books in the school library, maintenance of hostels are done on paper, laboratories lack the necessary equipments, these little things ASUU itself can’t account for. According to Frederic Bastiat, ” Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state, they forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone”. Some can call me a Pro-Jonathan now, anybody that knows me personally know that I am not. I took time out to study the situation of education in this country, we must tell ourselves the truth, how many lecturers observe their lecture periods as they should? How many of them are serious and dedicated to their jobs? How many of them are truly not corrupt?
Now you see! These questions would be dealt with one day I believe but that day I don’t know. I once saw a tweet on my timeline on tweeter, that says, ” Dear ASUU we no longer want quality education, we just want to graduate”. Which I reposted on my facebook wall, got different views. It is with these few points of mine, as we do say in my primary school’s debate team, that I urge the FG and ASUU to reach a compromise for the sake of we the students.
The Nation Newpaper