By Adamu Muhd Usman
“It often happens, that he who endeavours to ridicule other people, especially in things of a serious nature, becomes himself a jest and frequently to his great cost”.
–Giovanni Boccaccio (1313 – 1375) Italian writer and humanist.
Higher education is a period of advanced study following the completion of secondary school. The duration of the study may be from four to seven years or more, depending upon the nature and complexity of the program pursued, especially with regards to the Nigerian educational system.
It has become disheartening, disturbing and imperative to any well-meaning Nigerian, within and abroad, to show concern and say one or two words in view of the insistence of ASUU to go on strike, and also the F.G’s refusal to make another move to negotiate with ASUU in order to end the strike that lasted almost one year, the longest in Nigerian history.
One of the technical difficulties that F.G and ASUU would have to resolve in working out modalities for implementation hinge on the fact that the resolution could not have embraced, in totality, the position of F.G or ASUU? This was due to the lopsided composition of both sides of the negotiation team.
The view of this writer is that, there is urgent need, and indeed, room for improvement of the standard of living of our universities’ lecturers as well as the state of our educational sector.
Many will agree with me that the perennial strike by lecturers during the military interregnum and Obasanjo’s tenure had impacted negatively on our university system, because democratic processes were not followed to resolve the problem. But why in the democratic system of government will things not change, compared with the military regime? Though OBJ too did not help matters then but towards the end of his tenure he tried.
While it may be said or viewed that strike may be the only language that the military junta, in the absence of entrenched separation of powers and checks and balances, understand, the same cannot be said of a democratic system of government with abundant opportunities and avenues that ASUU, and indeed any union group, can explore to achieve their demands.
The problem with we Nigerians, and particularly the government in this instance, is that we do not seem to appreciate changes in circumstances which necessarily must dictate change in approach and tactics, and also distinguish right from wrong. We had the MASOB, IPOB, OPC, Militants, Boko Haram, political/religious/ communal crisis, banditry, kidnappers etc. with their approach to individuals, government and national peace at large, but the ASUU issue seems not to bother them at all, because most of their children and relatives school abroad.
The present ASUU strike, which represents a fire brigade approach to the demands for improvement of the educational sector or system in this blessed country Nigeria, is not only tactically faulty or sick but portends tremendous danger to the nation’s education system.
Every well-meaning Nigerian is anxious to see that F.G and ASUU negotiate and solve the problem of university education and all the other sub-sectors of educational bodies, within the shortest time possible.
At this point in time, we want to appeal to F.G and ASUU to go back to the drawing board to make another deliberation, dialogue, negotiate, to reach the consensus to end the strike, to consider the interest of the students who have suffered so much over the years, the anxiety and the financial burden of another strike action to parents and the concern of the general public, national interest for peaceful coexistence and national development.
We consequently appeal to ASUU to give peace a chance and embrace active dialogue instead of resorting to strike action for every demand. We hope government should try to attend to their demands for National interest.
In the final note, the government did not learn under the culture of protracted strikes, the general public implores and appeal to government to show sympathy to the students who may end up being half baked a situation which will not make our society worse for it. It is well known to any one that Nigerian Students spend an extra year or two or more in their academic pursuit due to incessant strike actions, which I was a victim of. Allah ya kiyaye! (May God protect). Amen.
Please do not delay act now. Nigerians had enough of troubles. It is indeed frightening and very worrisome. Think of the looming danger because this situation is devouring Nigerian potential, existence and progress.
Adamu writes from Kafin-Hausa, Jigawa state