For over 8weeks, Nigerian Students in Federal and some state Universities have stayed at home without hope of reopening their schools in sight. This is happening at a time when we are just recovering from the nightmare of COVID-19 cum ASUU strike break of 2020/2021.
The serial closure of the academic environments, which is now a norm, is not just a stunt to the growth of the education sector, but destructive to the lives of Nigerian Students in particular. Over time, a lot of destinies have been truncated as many students have derailed.
Apparently, the ASUU and other Unions in the University System reserve every right to defend the interests of their members. At this time, they have been resolute and keen to press home the following demands from the Federal Government; implementation of the 2009 MoA, adequate funding of the University system, payment of earned allowances and the adoption of UTAS over IPPIS.
Due to the laxity of the Government in addressing their demands, going on strike has always been the last resort to propel their voice. Unfortunately, this incessant strike is destructive to the development of the nation.
The Federal Government and other stakeholders involved need to see the effect of these actions as compelling the whole nation to sit on a ticking time bomb, hence, the need to find a long-lasting solution and prevent future occurrences. But this is Nigeria! Even doctors who are supposed to save lives embark on strike actions due to Government inactions.
As an immediate point of reference, the ASUU strike (and COVID-19 break) of 2020/2021 wallowed the future of many students as many were unable to survive the crisis. The idleness also made others result in fraudulent, criminal and other despicable activities, which in turn has had a hazardous effect on the nation’s security and economic development.
It is, however, important that a democratic and people-focused government avoid such occurrences again in order not to put the future of the nation at stake.
But with the lingering ASUU, NASU and SSANU strikes, it’s obvious that many innocent students are about to lose it again.
One very sure thing is, sooner or later, the Government and the Unions will resolve their feud but at the atonement of Sacrificial Lambs – Nigerian Students!
Yes, we are the Sacrificial Lambs. At last, both parties will have a win-win situation. But what happened to the time we have lost? What will happen to the souls that will not survive the crisis?
To save the future of our country, there is a need to mount pressure on the concerned parties to have our schools reopened at all costs – a struggle that will require consistent and concerted efforts. Like we all did in 2020, it is time we storm the street again as it seems that is the only language the Federal Government understands. And this can be achieved with the unity of all; students, celebrities, clerics, NGOs and every well-meaning Nigerian.
Education is a right, not a privilege!
Support us to #EndASUUStrikePermanentlyNow.
Olabode, Stephen Opeyemi,
Public Relations Officer, University of Ilorin Students’ Union