By Usman Suleiman Sarki
It has been almost 8 months that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is on strike due to the failure of the Federal Government to fulfil the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreements which are necessary for the sustenance of university system and its affordability to children of the common man and up till this time, government have not shown any commitment to end the ongoing strike by university lecturers.
The question is what is the position of government on the future of Nigerian university students? What kind of future is the government planning for the upcoming generation? A lot of people including the students are bitterly criticizing ASUU for the unending strike without making an objective investigation of the reasons behind the strike so as to balance their thoughts and make appropriate judgement over the issue.
It is well known that strike is the only language that Nigerian Government understand but many people will not understand either because of the little knowledge on why university lecturers are on strike or because of their personal or political reasons.
It is good to remember that no reasonable government want its workers to go on strike because it weakens the legitimacy of the government and tarnish its image in the eyes of responsible people in and outside the country.
However, the side of the ineffectiveness of the strike as lamented by some people lies in the students and the general public because they do not support ASUU like the way they support the compromised NLC. Many people are thinking that ASUU always go on strike for the selfish interest of its members forgetting the fact that ASUU is not demanding for anything outside its legitimate rights and that of the students because one of the cardinal issue surrounding ASUU’s problem with the FGN is Revitalization of the universities without which the universities can no longer be sustained but unfortunately both the students and the general public blindly ignore that.
I am afraid of what will happen when ASUU change its current stand and decide to fight for its own entitlement and do away with Revitalization and university autonomy. It will get to a stage where students will be made to pay tuition fee and that will stop the children of the common man from studying in the university and this is the wish of many among those in power because they want their children who study abroad to succeed them and continue to exploit the masses.
On this note, I urge the Nigerian University students and the general public to recast their thoughts and take appropriate stand on the issue.
I pray that the stakeholders involved in handling this issue will take the necessary measures in resolving this lingering issue in the best interest of the Staff and Students of Nigerian Universities in particular and the educational system in general.
Usman Suleiman Sarki writes from Department of Sociology, Federal University Dutse.