Friday, November 13, 2020

Issues That Matter With Isaac Ologbosere: ASUU Strike, A Plight Gone Extreme


            The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is an educational body in Nigeria saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the affairs of all tertiary institutions across the country both the undergraduates in these institutions and the lecturers that teach these students. The body was established in 1978 and since then it has concerned itself with the welfare of tertiary education in the country. But when this body that was set up by the government to serve the citizens are being punished by the same people that set them up then by all means there is a cause for alarm.

          Payment of a worker's salary at the end of the month is non-negotiable and even the Bible supports the payment of a worker's wages when it is due. The Academic Staff Union of Universities has since not been paid their salaries which they have honestly worked for for a long period of time. The government should be aware that these people that make up this educational body are human beings and they have responsibilities as most of them are bread winners in their families and if they are not being paid their salaries, how on earth would they fend for their families.

           ASUU has since embarked on a nationwide strike that has spanned for almost a year in a bid to fight for their right which is the payment of the salaries that they are being owed by the government. In as much as the measure that they took to convey their grievances to the government is legal and one of the ways to make the government listen to them, it has had adverse effects on the young undergraduates who are forced to stay at home when they are supposed to be in school.

         In as much as what the government is doing to ASUU is heartless and not encouraging in any way, the strike that ASUU embarked on has adverse effects.

         To begin with, the strike embarked on by ASUU is legal and expected, but it has given the young undergraduates who have been forced to stay at home due to the strike to engage in nefarious activities which they would ordinarily have not been involved in if they were in school. To explain, the recent protest across the country against police brutality was majorly spearheaded by the youths in the country. The protest was expected and understandable and everyone has a right to protest but the issue is about the activities that were involved in the protest which were not palatable at all for most of the protesters.

                The protest was obviously hijacked by hoodlums to cause nuisance in the country and a lot of young people who may have been undergraduates lost their lives and this is very sad. The protest was such that no sane parent would want their child to be a part of, not because it is wrong to protest, but because of the activities in the protest. Many young people knew that some days during the protest was not a safe time to carry placards about, but they went out any way and some of them were either arrested or found dead.

          In addition, the ASUU strike is understandable and seems fair because of the actions of the government towards them but it has greatly reduced the enthusiasm and aspiration to learn in the minds of a lot of young undergraduates across the country. To explain, due to the lingering strike by ASUU in a bid to get their hard earned money from the government, a lot of young undergraduates have lost interest either partially or totally in education. They have been involved in other activities in a bid to kill time while they await the resumption of school and some of these activities either partially or totally have drawn them from their inspiration and readiness to learn which they once had and was fired up by their always attending classes and being in the four walls of a school.

        Furthermore, the war between the government and ASUU as they fight for their right in every way would extend the years that an undergraduate would normally spend in the university. To explain, due to the lingering strike, it is inevitable that a year would be added to every undergraduate especially those in their final year to complete their courses. If a course was to last for four years or five years for an undergraduate, then he or she would be looking forward to an additional year to finish and graduate. The strike by ASUU has lingered for almost a year and this would affect the normal education calendar and postpone the graduation of many students in the university.

                In conclusion, every worker deserves his pay as at when due and the government should listen and go ahead in immediately implementing a plan to pay the salaries that has been owed the university lecturers and workers who are on the pay roll of the government. Meanwhile, the action by ASUU to communicate their grievances to the government which is embarking on a strike should be revisited in a bid to consider the average Nigerian student who has been at home for almost a year doing nothing. 

      The strike is legal and understandable but we should be encouraged to take actions that would make both parties involved to be happy at the end of the day. The government should throw away their pride or whatever is stopping then from listening to ASUU all these while and pay them their salaries. Meanwhile, ASUU should remember that there are students that are ready to learn and are praying to go back to school to acquire knowledge which they would use later to effect changes in the country and draft out a plan to include the students’ welfare in their activities of moving forward.

    God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

              Isaac Ologbosere writes from Benin City, Edo state, Nigeria. 08128362829.

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