In a disagreement between two people, it is the wise one that usually backs out for peace to reign in the land. African proverb.
I made a decision to go on hunger strike in solidarity with the plight of the Nigerian student who in times like this metamophosizes into a homeless orphan, but I’ve decided to call off my hunger strike today the 21st day of september 2013 after 5 days because it wasn’t raising the kind of awareness I expected it would.
The eyes of youth sink deeper in despair. Death bestrides the streets, rage rides the sun and hope is at an all time low, while several gangs of old greedy predators claim to be fighting for the future of Nigeria while they plunder.
As the ASUU strike persists, I’ve heard a few lecturers clamouring for students to wake up and revolt against government for refusing to keep up with the 2009 agreement, some have even blasted the Nigerian youth for being complacent but who is to blame? While I was an undergraduate, Vice Chancellors and Deans openly manipulated student union elections to make sure their boys get into office so that student union activities could be kept in check, thus rendering unionism impotent and we lost our voice. How can you kill something and blame it for being dead?
I believe Nigerians deserve a lot more from Government but to be sincere, I am sick and tired of a union of scholars that cannot do better than blackmail. They have not acted in good faith, do we think incessant strikes would somehow make our universities or students better? Or are we naïve enough to believe that after government pays up, all the problems bedevilling Nigerian universities would be resolved and lecturers would never strike again? These lecturers are scholars they can be more creative in their approach to issues, I know Nigeria is corrupt but our educational problems cannot be solved in one fell swoop, development is a gradual process.
Nigerian lecturers must think up a better way to get what they want, they need to sponsor a robust bid to the National Assembly seeking autonomy for universities with a proviso for government assistance in the form of research grants and well thought out school fees adjustments to reflect modern realities, the school fees in Nigerian Federal Universities is less than $200 a year! Yet we expect miracles, if the right thing is not done, with our current inflationary rate, strikes would persist.
Knowing my country like I do the sad reality is that there are political undertones to all these. That’s why the lecturers have alluded to the monstrous amounts Nigeria spends on its Government, there’s obvious need for change in the way things are done. Infact this country needs a revolution to force the kind of change we want to see, but the thing is, ASUU is not asking for change, their body language says they want their own share of the loot because if they understand the issues like they as academicians should, then their clamour should continuously be for university autonomy, that way Government can easily give out research grants and financial assistance for the payment of salaries and other matters incidental thereto.
Only in a communist society can government be responsible for everything. Government pays the entire Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, Police, PHCN, every civil servant, the military, lecturers, teachers, super eagles, super eaglets, super falcons, falconets, non-academic staff of universities, NSCDC, NNPC, NPA, Youth corpers…the list is unending only the students get nothing.
The British government does not own universities’ assests, and university staff are not civil servants, It has never been determined whether the U.S Constitution would allow the Federal Government to establish a federal university. In the US, the bulk of a college budget within a public university comes from student tuition, and the state government provides a substantially lower share, so that there would be cash in the hands of Government for infrastructural development projects in the state.
Fights may last for brief periods of time but wars go on forever.
I’m not in support of the Federal Government and I do not support ASUU. All I am saying is that these incessant, puerile and blockish strikes are not the only way. Only a madman uses the same method over and over again and expects a different result, ASUU should please try something new.
Lecturers argue that they’re tired of graduating halfbaked students, I’m wondering if they are not products of Nigerian universities as it where and should give the students a chance if they cannot storm up an ingenious solution to the problem and sell it to the Government.