ASUU Strike, A Conspiracy Against The Ordinary Nigerians

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Once again ASUU and the Federal Government have continued to deadlock in their usual style of hide and seek game, shifting and trading blames between themselves as usual, again for about seven months running. Following the usual imbroglio between the two strange bedfellows that never agree, the unfortunate children of the of the ordinary Nigerians have continue to waste at their various homes, roaming the streets and getting involved in various kinds of social vices and crimes. As we all know, idle minds are the devils tools and workshops. These children have been subjected to this helpless situation for no other reason other than that they happen to belong to the social strata of the less privileged Nigerians ascribed as the poor and the down trodden. This group of Nigerians are in the numerical majority, yet highly vulnerable and defenseless. They are often the unfortunate victims of these FG – ASUU yearly rituals. Yet it is the children of the two heavyweights that afford costs of school outside the shores of Nigeria as well as expensive private universities in Nigeria not affected by the strikes. At the end of the fruitless strikes, the poor students are hastily recalled to their campuses to resume impromptu lectures under most hostile, isolated and desolate teaching and learning environments. This is accompanied with an overcrowded lecture Time tables, filled with suffocating piles of hastily prepared lecture notes and volumes of printed lecture handouts. Same are administered on the students who are expected to regurgitate same during emergency Semester examinations.

Meanwhile thousands of these graduates are churned out yearly from universities to make way for another set of fresh intakes. Above are shoved into the frustrating Nigerian labour markets for an indefinite search for unavailable job vacancies. Meanwhile the normal 4 year academic programs now take about 6 years to complete, courtesy of ASUU’s off and on power failures. At this stage, the employers of labour, quite conscious of the massive yearly turnouts of these graduates, take their own time to add salt to the injuries inflicted on the graduates. The applicants are asked to show an evidence of five years working experience and birth certificates indicating they are not above 25 years of age. No one ever takes account of the years taken to secure admission into the ever congested Nigerian universities, the years wasted due to regular ASUU’s strikes actions, the one year NYSC national mandatory service, and the years taken to secure the said job. Such are the ordeals of the less privileged Nigerian children who patronise the public universities where the FG and the ASUU often size themselves up for test of power.

On the other hand, it seems that the Federal Government has not much to lose in these ASUU strikes judging from the manner adopted in addressing the issue. Rather than fix the existing conventional universities in the country, the FG has shown interest in approving new private universities and in creating new tuition free tertiaries for the Navy, Army, Maritime, Police. and the Air force. Similarly, if the National Assembly had the interest of the masses at heart, as they made us to believe, why not go ahead to pass a bill to stop the privileged Nigerians from going abroad to read the courses readily offered by the universities in Nigeria? Rather than appreciate the plights of the lecturers who have been without their salaries for about seven months now, the FG insists on the “No Work No Pay” policy, a stand the ASUU perceives as confrontational and antagonistic. Reportedly, a Professor earns about 500,000 naira as monthly salaries, whereas a Senator earns some millions as running costs plus about 750,000 monthly as the consolidated salary and allowances; in addition to 200 million naira annual ConstituencyUs Projects Allowance. Is it not said that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander?

Without doubt the frequent wasteful industrial actions of ASUU have almost succeeded in killing the public universities in Nigeria, which are largely patronized by the children of the poor, hence many regard ASUU strikes as deliberate conspiracy against the common man. ASUU strike actions may be likened to the ill winds that blow no one good, and are mostly driven by inordinate selfish desires of the leadership, rather than the interests of the students. While the students will pay for the lectures not properly attended, the lecturers haggle for the salaries not earned; and whereas the students pay for their house rents that expired during the prolonged strikes, the ASUU members engage themselves in the private universities not affected by the strikes to earn extra income while our children continue to languish in idleness. The annual strikes are usually ill prepared and ill timed, only for the leaders to weep up public sympathy when they woefully failed to achieve their ambition, thereby making themselves laughing stock all the time. One expects that these highly professed academics that constitute the leadership of the Union would be the best when it comes to strategic plannings and implementations, unfortunately, the reverse has turned out to be case, thus portraying the Union as most unserious group led by some planless individuals. These professors have been playing prominent roles as electoral umpires, Supervisors, Presiding or Returning Officers, selecting such politicians that often hold them in contempt, thereby shooting themselves at the legs. Rather than embarking on these fruitless strikes, ASUU should better focus on actions aimed at achieving full autonomous status, using legal battles to make the universities autonomously independent revenue generating and controlling entities. Similarly, Nigerians had since been expecting ASUU to challenge the jumbo earnings of NASS members that have remained a heavy drain on our fragile and frail national economy.

COLLINS ONUZULIKE OKOLOCHUKWU OBODO

Media Team Member of ENUGU DI N’AKACHUKWU MOVEMENT

www.bibiananekwe.com

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