During my pupilage in primary school, we often sang a song during assembly. Even though, I could not sing the song, I was able to grasp the core message that ‘children are the leaders of tomorrow’. My thought was the future was for all, but unknown to me the future is not for the child of the common man. Unfortunately, with this current democratic dispensation, the saying is incongruent with reality.
If at all the child of the common man has future to lead tomorrow, today, the future is seized by the federal government and ASUU. Considering the lackadaisical approach of our leaders when it comes to tertiary institution, it is obvious they care little; this is because their children don’t attend public schools and tertiary institutions. They send their children abroad where those schools dare not to go on strike. They acquire quality knowledge from renowned teachers and professors so that when back home, they would be deemed fit for big political appointments.
The incessant ASUU strike has prompted those from the middle class who cannot cope with the strike seek an alternative by sending their children to Cotonou, Benin Republic, Uganda, among others, where within two years one would graduate. Those who cannot afford it are at the mercy of ASUU and the federal government. Not to talk of the painstaking process one has to go through and connections one has to establish to secure admission in the Nigerian public universities. If your child is able to secure admission the whole community would see you as someone lucky, instead of deserving.
This strike is about eight months and students have been left to watch their future being suffocated at the hands of these two elephants. I thought the federal government would be proactive when approaching problems, looking at how the nation found itself in pandemonium as a result of the #EndSARS protests. I am sure government wouldn’t want to see #EndASUU strike. The students are fed up staying at home. They can’t have their counterparts progressing in neighbouring countries while they are caused to stagnate in their own. I am sure if our politicians’ children are in public universities, the issue of ASUU strike would have since been resolved.
Although one should not apportion blame only to the federal government but, it will take the lion’s share. This is because, had government honoured the agreements reached, the strike wouldn’t have been as long as it is now. ASUU is also no saint due to its notoriety in strike. ASUU and government should make a compromise and stop playing football with students’ future.
Some are of the opinion President Buhari never attended university, hence his nonchalance towards it. However, some of these agreements were entered by ASUU and the past administrations. Be it as it may, I don’t want to believe it as a reason, if political will exists. Students are tired of staying at home being the devil’s workshop. Government needs to end the strike now.
ASUU should not know that its notoriety when it comes to strike is giving it a bad name in the eye of the world. Perhaps, ASUU should restrategise and adopt other means of airing their grievances if truly their struggle is for the improvement of public universities in Nigeria, because, more often students are at the receiving end of their recurrent strikes.
End ASUU strike now! Give us back our future, so that the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain.
Faculty of Law,
Bauchi State University, Gadau