ANY ANSWER APART FROM YES IS UNDOUBTEDLY QUESTIONABLE!
Òrìṣà bó ò le gbèmí, ṣe mí bó ṣe bámi (A god that won’t support one’s effort should not worsen it.)Yoruba Proverbs
The Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, upon its establishment in 1978 was viewed as the Messiah to the problems being faced by tertiary institutions in Nigeria. But over the years, it has only proven the opposite as the only thing that comes to mind now whenever ASUU is mentioned is the problem of incessant industrial action – strike. An action which has become an annual ritual that virtually all tertiary institutions across the country have to be partakers,especially the public universities. The effects of which cannot be overemphasized as it dwindles the academics performance of students—learning is suspended for a long period and the students’ reading abilities fall while some totally forget. Also, it culminates into the erosion of academic quality as it robs off academic time from school administrators and upon resuming from strike, they tend to rush academic work. The end of which reflects in students poor performance. Two, as a result of incessant strike, the rate at which immorality and crime grows in the society demands full attention. Some students use the opportunity to venture into illicit businesses, like prostitution, online robbery “419” and the likes. Additionally, some students lose interest in continuing their program because of new skills or jobs they get exposed to during the strike which makes them feel like not going back to school as they’re now making “cool money”.
I hear people ask umpteen times if the reason ASUU has been going on strike is the same. Arguably, the answer is yes. ASUU has been going on strike for a number of years over the same issue which is, “government not honouring agreements reached with the Union”. My lord,if there is anything that has been very constant in the academic calendar of Nigerian universities since 1999, it is nothing but the repeated problem of ASUU strike. In 1999,the union embarked on a nationwide strike which lasted for five months. Two years after, 2001, a three-month strike was embarked upon by ASUU expressing its displeasure over the sack of 49 lecturers in the University of Ilorin. Also, on December 29, 2002, ASUU embarked on another strike which lasted for two weeks as a result of Federal Government’s failure to implement its agreement with the Union. Moving forward, in 2003, Nigerian university students were left idle as the union embarked on a strike which lasted for six months. As if that was not enough, another strike that lasted for two weeks was embarked upon by the Union in 2005. In 2006, a three-day turned one week strike was embarked upon by the union. Everyone thought it would end then not until March 26, 2007 when Nigerian public universities were shut down for three months. Why? ASUU strike. Then in 2008, Nigerian university students were out of their lecture halls for a week because of strike and in the succeeding year, 2009 a four-month strike was embarked upon by the union, this was the year FG had an agreement with the union and as a result of this, other succeeding strike action built up until now. But the question now is, since ASUU has been going on strike, has there been any improvement? Or still, what has changed? Nothing! Just nothing!
With all these, the union is unconsciously bringing terror upon the lives of students it claims to be fighting for yet it expects a university like TASUED to still be a part of that? A university that has promised her best to her students? No way! Going on strike isn’t the best strategy to make your voices heard. Just as the Yoruba people would say, “ori bíbẹ́ kó ni ògùn orí fífọ́”. The Union could resolve to other strategy like the use of internal mechanism or diplomatic talk. Also, to avoid the issue of frequent strike, tuition fee of federal universities could be increased. Some federal universities in Nigeria are undoubtedly cheap and they rely wholly on the Federal Government for funding. For instance, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria have faculties that pay as low as fourteen thousand naira (N14,000). Even the University of Lagos have faculties that pay not more than N14,500. If ASUU should continue to rely solely on the government for funding then there may really not be an end to the strike action. Just like Albert Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing all over again and expecting a different result”.ASUU should know that ” No weapon of strike fashioned against FG can actually prosper” so it’s better it (ASUU) retraces its step.
Tai Solarin University of Education has every reason to withdraw from the ongoing strike mostly because of the success of her students. It can be pointed out that since the strike started in Nov 2018,a lot of damage has been caused not just affecting the students but the society in general. Let’s take the trending issue of “Pant Theft” for instance, it actually started some weeks after the strike was declared, also, as election is fast approaching the target of most politicians is the youth as they would want to play the politics game and the idle hand, they say, is the devil’s workshop. If TASUED really wants the best for her students, then she should withdraw from the strike as it is only the wise hen that calls in her chicks before dusk
— before the night crawlers trail the night.
My lord,the ongoing strike has done more harm than good to our educational sector and the lives of the students. Shall we now because of today’s benefit endanger the future of the coming generations? Or will TASUED, the citadel of excellence prove her worth by continuing to partake in such a degrading exercise? If TASUED still take great pride in the excellence of her students, then she should, with immediate effect, pull out of the strike. I rest my case!
THERE SHOULD BE NO OTHER ANSWER EXCEPT NO!
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan – press on – has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” –Calvin Coolidge
“All group leaders should see me immediately after this class
— to collect their course materials for their respective group
— because this strike will be total and indefinite.” These are the exact word of my ENG 214 lecturer on the 5th of November, 2018; a day after ASUU declared it’s nationwide strike as total and comprehensive. “TASUED ASUU has sent a reply memo to the national body informing them about the reaccreditation of some courses that is going on in the school. After the reaccreditation, the chapter will join the national body to drive home their points together” He added.
My lord, to cut the long story short, I together with some other group leaders including my opposite counsel left the man’s office at around 08:25pm on that same day waiting for the materials before the publisher eventually delivered it. Amidst the series of calls he made that day, two particularly caught our attention. One to his daughter who is also a student of TASUED and the other to his son who is studying Pharmacy at OOU Sagamu campus, telling them both to meet him at his residential house in Abeokuta later in the day, not knowing that the publisher will delay our materials. My lord! This is a drama out of many thousands of drama similar to this same drama that will be enacted that same day. The untold truth is ninety percent of our lecturers’ wards are in public universities. The children of the political class are either in private universities or overseas studying peacefully and not affected by strike actions. These lecturers want the best for their children, and the children of the masses who can’t afford the cost of private universities as well. The same way the government slaughtered the government owned primary and secondary schools—by their actions and inaction—is the same way they are leading the public universities to it death gallows. It is a matter of time before the death knell is sounded! Should we rather ask TASUED ASUU to pull out or we should support them in this cause of struggle?
My lord, it is true that there have been incessant strike actions over the last few years even though the reason ASUU went on strike in the past years is still the same reason they are on strike today! It is true that strike should be the last resort, but what other language do Nigerian government understand when consultation failed? It is true that part of the reason ASUU are on strike are for their renumeration! Even, the Bible says “the wages of a hired servants shall not remain with you all night until the morning”. Haba! Ki ló wá dé? The opinions of students who felt that the strike won’t benefit TASUED because it is a state university can be faulted here. I posit that their admissions needs to be questioned not only their intentions. According to the reports presented by Prof. Ishaq Olanrewaju Oloyede at the Ogun State Education Summit in 2017, “between the period of 2011 and 2016, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) allocated #1,325,916,938 to TASUED for it annual intervention programme and the sum of #902,298,597 was disbursed to the institution while the sum of #423,618,342 was recorded as TETFUND outstanding debts to the university “ My lord. I am not through yet! Not just yet! Also, in 2015 Prof. O.A Bamiro, of the prestigious premier university of education in Nigeria was allotted the sum of #35,000,000 for his research funding from the same funding. Imagine if all these allocation are increased and the payments are disbursed as at when due, won’t there be enough facilities that will facilitate learning process and improve the quality of graduates the school is producing each year?
Going further? Should TASUED ASUU pull out of the strike? No! My lord. We are on the verge of recording success. The National Labour Council recorded their success when they keep on persisting and not when they quit. In the future, our generation and the unborn generations will benefit from the minimum wage struggle. This is a price we must all pay! Moreover, the fourth reason why ASUU is on strike as published by ASUU Chapter, Nmandi Azikwe University is the “poor funding of state universities, non implementation of the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA)…” My lord, I don’t want to go into the agonizing moments those who sit for the GNS 121 examination went through last session. It’s a period none of us will like to experience again. State universities, including TASUED should be at the forefront of this struggle. We shouldn’t be like the proverbial cowards who die many times before their death. Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, the incumbent ASUU Chairman, said during a news conference in 2017 as reported by Premium Times “Our members in state universities have experienced untold hardship owing to denial of salaries for several months in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ondo State University of Science and Technology, OSUTECH, TAI SOLARIN UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION, TASUED…….among others.” If this is coming from the national ASUU Chairman, tell me who should be at the forefront if not us.
An idle hand is the devils workshop, the Bible says. Even when these supposed idle hands are preoccupied with educational activities, are they engaged or they remain idle? Go to 911 or Hammond on Friday’s night, one will see how our moral has gone into the bin all in the name of exposures, who are there customers? Are they not students? The male are into cyber fee fraud while the females are into advanced prostitution. If students don’t want to remain an idle hand, then they should learn a new skill, sign up as volunteers and go on new job to increase their work experience. TASUED ASUU Chapter is in this struggle to revamp the long-lost nation’s education glory. On this note, I rest my case with the words I have grown up to love; freedom comes by struggle! Dare to struggle, dare to win!