– AS STUDENTS TAKE TO ARTISANSHIP AND TRADING
THE ongoing strike embarked upon by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is twelve weeks old, and as it is, the lecturers and their employers, the Federal Government of Nigeria, who is yet to meet their demands may not shift grounds soon.
The nationwide strike followed Federal Government’s failure to honour what is termed as The Academic Earned Allowance (AEA) which formed a component of the 2009 agreement government signed with the union. The lecturers said they won’t return to the classrooms until the agreement with the Federal Government is implemented in full. The implementation, however, according to Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance will cost the government about N90 billion.
When two elephants fight, the grass suffers. The grass here are the students who stay at home – and because of the realities on ground some of them have taken up activities to engage their time while the strike lasts. ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke to some students who narrated what they do now to buy time till the strike ends.
ADEBOWALE OLUFEMI, University of Lagos
I am a 200 level student studying Economics. Ever since the strike started, I’ve been working with my dad at his office. That has kept me busy.
GBEMI MARVELOUS, Olabisi Onabanjo University
I am an accounting student. As for me, I have learnt painting before I got admission to school back then. So right now, I do painting jobs for my clients and that is what is keeping me busy for now.
SEGUN BAJOMO, University of Lagos
I am a 200 level student studying Accounting. I just believe it’s the fact that government does not have our interest at heart. If not, why would they be toying with the education system? I don’t blame them, their children are studying overseas. They can’t feel our pain. Nothing serious. But helping my mom. She owns a small supermarket.
GRACE OLADAPO, Olabisi Onabanjo University
I am a 200 level student of Business Administration, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State. I am tired of staying at home, doing nothing. That’s why I started learning hair dressing to avoid wasting the whole time. So far no one knows exactly when they will call off the strike.
Still, I am not all that comfortable with the situation I found myself. I want to finish my first degree before clocking 25 so that I can get a meaningful job. They should please arrive at a workable conclusion.
NURUDEEN DEBOLA, University of Lagos
I am a 200 level student of Business Administration. The government has been insensitive to the plight of the Nigerian youths because of procrastination. I have started learning make-up since the strike started and I have learnt a lot. ASUU should please, call off the strike. I can’t wait to get back to school.
OMOLOLU DAWUDO, Olabisi Onabanjo University
Actually, it is demoralizing. I did not expect it was going to go this far. But as it is now, it is a disgrace to the nation’s education standard. If priorities are not rightly placed, this is what we get. For me, I wake up every day, hoping and praying for the federal government to do something about this ongoing strike action because I need to go back to school.
JERRY KABIRI, University of Lagos
I am a final year student of the University of Lagos. It is a pity that we are going through something like this in this country. For the past three months that ASUU strike commenced, I secured a job at Golden Tulip Hotels, where I work directly with the general manager and also assist in bringing customers.
UNORJI JOYCE NKIRUKA, Olabisi Onabanjo University
I’m in 400 level and I’ve tried as much as I could not to let the ASUU strike get to me or affect me so much. I have decided to take up learning hair making. I have decided to do this so as not to spend my time doing nothing.
BENITA IWEALA, University of Port Harcourt
I am a 2nd-year Creative Arts student of University of Port Harcourt. I don’t think this industrial action by ASUU is in our best interest. Painfully, the children of the rich and mighty are either in private schools in Nigeria or elite universities outside our shores. It is unfair.
I’m doing nothing. Once in a week I go for free tutorials in a community secondary school. The federal government should do something about this.
STEPHEN EBENEZER, University of Ilorin
I’m a student of University of ILorin. The strike has become a nuisance and to make ends meet, I help out with my mom’s catering outfit. I am learning on the job.
ASABE IBRAHIM, University of Lagos
I have been at home since the beginning of the strike, doing practically nothing, except home work. I am assisting my parents. It has not really affected me because I have time to do some personal things, such as reading my Qur’an, literature books, etc. Whether the strike is call-off or not, I am starting my TP (teaching Practice) on October 3, at St. Lukes Secondary School, Bariga. It’s third months for just year 3 student.