THE ongoing strike embarked upon by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is sixteen 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.
IKEDINACHI EZE, University of Port Harcourt – I am a second year student of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. I’m studying Microbiology. The strike is quite unfortunate. I now run a business centre with my brother.
KEMI AFOLABI, University of Nigeria, Nsukka – I am a final year undergraduate of English, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. ASUU strike is not helping us at all. I’m doing nothing for now, but I go to market occasionally with my dad.
ANNA OJUGU, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma – The strike has become an embarrassment. I never knew it would get to this level. I just pray the federal government heeds the call of well meaning Nigerians, and listen to the lecturers. We are the leaders of tomorrow.
Already, I have enrolled in an ICAN class very close to the campus. I believe by the time the whole issue is resolved, I would have gone far in the tutorials. I am tired of staying idle at home.
AKANO ADEWALE, University of Ibadan – I want our parents to join the struggle, it appears our protest all this while is not moving the government, and I am very sad about it. Since the strike started, I have not been idle. Aside my education, I do modeling which now keeps me busy and I am making some money.
OWOEYE ABIODUN, University of Lagos – The strike has really demoralized and destabilized us. We don’t even understand anything about the school session or semester anymore. The federal government is just being inconsiderate. I have been selling recharge cards since they’ve refused to call off the strike.
NIYI ODUNSI, LAUTECH – The education system is gradually going down the drain. ASUU and the federal government do not have our interest at heart. They don’t even care about us. I have been helping my uncle at the Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos.
MOSUNMOLA SHOBOWALE, University of Lagos – Nigeria is a confused nation with no clue or direction to where it’s headed. I don’t blame the federal government, they don’t want students in school. We need good environment for learning. Hostels and accommodation are not enough.
Since the strike started, I have started learning sketching and designing.
TOSIN CLEGG, Lagos State University – They should continue the strike while I am making my money. Though it will slow me down because I am in my final year in school. I’m into PR and blogging.
ADESHOLA AKANBI, Federal University, Minna – My name is Adeshola Akani, a student of Federal University, Minna, studying Microbiology. I am in 300 level. I now work in a night club for the main time, at least till ASUU calls off the strike. My parents don’t really like it but I had to convince them. It is a means of relieving their burden.
Help us appeal to ASUU and the federal government, the whole year is gone already.
ADEBOLA AKINOLA, Lagos State University – My name is Adebola Akinola, a student of Lagos State University, studying Mass Communication. I am in my final year. Since the strike started, I have been doing petty trading. I sell accessories just to keep body and soul together.
I pray they call the strike off soon, so I can finally graduate.
TOPE OLAYEMI, University of Lagos – I have been selling ladies clothes and accessories, I have friends abroad, so they send them in for me. I keep myself busy, and I am very happy about it. Whenever they wish to call off the strike, I am okay with it.
SEGUN OLAWALE, University of Ibadan – I am a 300 level student of Business Administration, University of Ibadan. The strike is not a palatable experience at all. Apart from extending the number of years one is supposed to spend in the university, it also exposes one to danger of all sorts.
That’s why I had to start doing something. I am into fashion and design stuff now, and it’s gradually taking a very good shape. But I still need to go back to school.
ITUNU ADEWUMI, Lagos State University – I am a 200 level student of Mass Communication, Lagos State University (LASU). I started learning hairdressing and cosmetology at a place owned by my mother’s friend. It has been a very wonderful experience, but going back to school is my priority now. Therefore, I am using this medium to appeal to ASUU and federal government to resolve their differences before it gets very late.
YINKA ADETEMI, LASU – I have accepted my fate because it is glaring for everybody to see that both ASUU and the federal government are not really concerned about the students. I don’t have anything to do basically but I’m learning interior decoration with my aunt for the time being.