ASUU: who’s winning, who’s losing?

It’s always lurking close by in the shadows and this week presents us with another episode in the ‘FG/ASUU face-off’ saga. This time, it is going to be ‘comprehensive, total and indefinite’; you can always trust the stakeholders in this drama to never disappoint. I remember not so long ago, I was just tired of lectures,assignments, tests and all. I desperately yearned for a break and when the Academic Staff Union of Universities declared an indefinite strike back then in 2009, I sang ‘goodbye brothers, goodbye sisters I am
going on my jolly holiday
‘. I know there would be some like me now, but then, I’m not so young anymore and when I think about what these ‘brakes’ are doing to education in this country, it’s sad songs that come to mind. It’s been the same old story since 2009. Actually, the story began sometime in the early ’80s. ASUU’s case has consistently been that the welfare of its workers and the tertiary education of our nation has been far from satisfactory. Sometimes, there’s the temptation of seeing the union as just being ‘troublesome’. Wikipedia even describes them as having a history of ‘militant’ action but if we’re to be honest, their submissions aren’t so difficult to understand. In 2009 FG said they had reached a compromise with ASUU, in 2011, a memorandum of understanding was signed. This is 2013 and the government is yet to do what has been promised, I guess you are thinking what I’m thinking:
what exactly is wrong with these guys?
Well, the answer to that question is not so far-fetched, the simple problem is that ‘there is no money’-or at least that is what the ‘ogas at the top’ are always saying.
*clears throat* “There are so many other sectors to think about in this economy, so many things to fix and so little money. We can’t really pay huge sums to the ‘brains’ when our senators and ministers aren’t earning ‘enough’ you know.”
In 2011, minister of Education, Professor Ruquyyatu Rufai mentioned that it would take roughly N106billion to meet ASUU’s demands and I quite sympathized with her when she said the funds were just not available. This is 2013 and it’s still the same old story, is this a lost battle or is there light at the end of the tunnel? –OluXammie

So we are back where we never really left. That spot where educational institutions are made to halt all activities
until “goferment do something consigning awa plight“.
The typical state of the nation. Students back at home for God knows how long, idle minds will be given something sinister to ponder on, while idle hands will be given tools of destruction. Cult clashes will now occur in town and not within the school enviroment. Business temporarily closed for ‘aristos’. Parents, pissed off yet again while lecturers are probably happy for the break. Well, of course, a lot of students are glad for the time off. Football fields, game centres, beer parlours and clubs will witness high patronage this season.
But the big question is, Who is at fault? Is it ASUU who is being inconsiderate in starting these strikes or the government that refuses to comply with agreements that have been reached after series of closed-door meetings? ASUU had stated that it would go on indefinite and comprehensive strike in order to prevail on government to sincerely and judiciously implement the 2009 agreement it freely entered into with the union. It is also on record that Prof Ukachukwu Awuzie, the former national president of the union, had said after the last strike was called off that government will immediately stimulate the process with the sum of N1 billion and will build up the said amount to a yearly sum of N400 billion in the next three years even though the interventions will be based on identified prioritised needs. We have money for Centinery City and other white elephant
projects but money for the backbone of every nation, education, is not available. Na wa o. We have senate president going for Golf tournaments, president fighting with a governor, governors polarising themselves and taking sides all for selfish gains. Nigerian youths are watching, helplessly as it were, waiting for one huge thunder to strike all of them down so we can make headway. –DiWanna

I remember how the last time there was ASUU strike, I was, in one word, confused. I wanted to get a job as a radio presenter, pass away the time. But what if I did that, and then school resumed the next day? The evils of an INDEFINITE strike. No matter how tired of school one is, I think that word should scare any student to the bone marrow. You could be home for a year, maybe two. Then again, it could be just a week. Only thing you can be sure of is, ASUU won’t back down until they get what they want. It is awful. The bulk of the educational system screeches to a halt, and you graduate years after you are actually supposed to. Think of the impact on your parents. Then there’s the part where your younger siblings catch up with you. Ugh. That said, I’ll shift to the social implications. Let’s see, more people will have time to compose incredibly annoying BCs, even on whatsapp, more RT4RT people, more stupid lists, another influx of news/entertainment copy and paste blogging, more twitfights, more facebook notifications (in 2013, Gross!), more people sitting around, doing absolutely NOTHING! It’s a disaster, I tell you. When the gears of the educational system are running as they should, the idleness among students baffles. Now that it’s hitched, omo ehn… 2009 was not as technologically advanced as 2013. The distractions are endless. I fear for this country. I fear for the students. I fear for this generation. There is never money, yet the most stupid projects are underway. Let me get this straight, a set of people earn millions to sit in an air-conditioned room, and argue pointlessly. Pontificate on why the air should move left, as opposed to right, while students stand in overcrowded classrooms, laboratory science students do not have laboratories, and lecturers are not paid as befits their status. Nigeria, where are you headed? As far as I can see, there is not an advantage to this strike, not even a disguised one. The whole situation, honestly, is a MESS! –Jadesola Pearl

Now who’s losing and who’s winning here?

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About Olumide Lawrence

OLUMIDE LAWRENCE is a writer, an artiste and a publicist. Started out as a PLAYER, now I am a Relationship COACH. Follow me on twitter @ilummynation and instagram @glowville Facebook: Olumide ilummynation Lawrence. BBM: 2A3B059E, 7E15126B.

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