ASUU strike and matters miscellaneous
ASHAFA: Those striking university teachers are at it again! Strike! Strike! Strike! Students have spent more time at home than in school.
Madam Bintu: The only time we read about lecturers in the papers is when they go on strike or when they harass their female students!
Ashafa: And the strikes don’t yield anything! If they did they wouldn’t embark on another so soon.
Affen: The lecturers never feature in the Nobel or any international prize awards!
Dr. Jonathan: That is a lie.
Ashafa: I don’t tell lies, my friend. My name is not Lai Mohamad!
Dr. Jonathan: Na you sabi! Your information is not correct. At least we do not feed lecturers with N3.5m every day!
Ashafa: I beg your pardon!
Affen: Do stay on message. Do distractions please especially from the ozer room!
Madam Bintu: Begging your pardon! Must we drag the other room into every subject?
Dr. Jonathan: The ozer room is everything! Nigerian academics work very hard. In fact working conditions are terrible and I wonder how they are able to do all that they do with the paltry salaries that they earn.
Ashafa: Paltry salaries? Is there anyone who earns nearly enough in Nigeria?
Madam Bintu: Legislators nko?
Ashafa: Their salary scale is an exception.
Madam Bintu: Exception ko, exception ni! What about NNPC staff? Do workers there have two heads or three stomachs?
Dr. Jonathan: If NNPC staff or federal legislators can earn so much, why should our professors be paid peanuts?
Ashafa: Then they should resign and seek job opportunities in the oil sector or become federal legislators!
Affen: What an uncharitable thing to say! Resign? Are you thinking at all or did you leave your brain in your concubine’s house last night?
Ashafa: Don’t insult me, you hear? Don’t insult me. I won’t take any insults from a short fellow like you!
Affen: Thank you Mr. Longfellow! We should think of how to improve working conditions for our eggheads who train the manpower for this country. Let’s not ridicule them by asking them to resign and seek other jobs. Who will train our kids?
Jonathan: Thank you my brother. There is so much ignorance in the land. Some of the politicians in Abuja are brainless monkeys who eat banana all the time and forget their origins.
Ashafa: Why are you pouring insults on our elected leaders? It is not decent.
Dr. Jonathan: Elected leaders or rigged-in leaders? Please leave matter for Mathias.
Ashafa: If you keep insulting them how will you get the salary increase you are fighting for?
Dr. Jonathan: ASUU is not asking for salary increase sef! They are saying that libraries, laboratories, allowances, lecture rooms, IT facilities, hostel accommodation for students should be improved.
Madam Bintu: If that is why they are on strike they should just return and do their teaching jeje! Which one is their own? It means they are satisfied with their income abi? Which kind of mumu thinking is that? You are not properly paid; and when you go on strike it is to ask for books to be supplied! Abeg tell me something else joor! My mama no like stupidity!
Dr. Jonathan: You totally misunderstand the issues. ASUU understands that the economy is bad and is not asking for salary increase. The eggheads are simply asking government to meet its obligations so that the system can run efficiently. Departments do not have paper in some cases. There is hardly regular power supply. IT services are either poor or completely missing. Lecture halls are sometimes cramped full with no public address systems.
Madam Bintu: Is it the government that should buy ASUU public address systems? Are you serious?
Ashafa: Ask him for me ooo!
Dr. Jonathan: The universities simply do not have enough funds to meet their obligations!
Madam Bintu: What about the school fees that the students pay?
Dr. Jonathan: School fees? Do you live in Nigeria? In the state universities they pay ninety thousand or a maximum of one hundred and fifty thousand per session. In federal universities they pay only twenty thousand naira!
Madam Bintu: Twenty thousand what? Is that for knowledge or for ignorance? How much do those girls whom I train in my fashion shop pay per year?
Ashafa: Please don’t compare oranges with apples!
Madam Tinubu: That one nagirama!
Dr. Jonathan: To pay or not to pay tuition fees is a sticky point in Nigeria. The government says tuition is free yet it does not give enough money to the universities. After paying salaries the universities are left to their own devices.
Affen: Nothing is free. If the government says education is free then it must pay the universities’ needs.
Dr. Jonathan: There is a university in Lagos than spends almost sixty million naira monthly on electricity. Can they raise such an amount form fees of twenty thousand naira?
Madam Bintu: Do you know how much I pay for my son in Covenant? I have a friend whose daughter is studying Law at Afe Babalola University. Do you know how much she pays? Is it twenty thousand naira?
Ashafa: How many Nigerians can afford to pay such fees?
Madam Bintu: Then they should pay for ignorance and stay home!
Ashafa: The government must continue to subsidize the universities. Enough budgetary provisions should be made; UNESCO has recommended 26% of the annual budget should go to education.
Dr. Jonathan: I have no problem with that; if government chooses to make universities tuition-free then it should be ready to meet the needs of its universities.
Affen: Must the federal government be involved in running universities? Why not hand over these institutions to private hands?
Dr. Jonathan: Do you think the private hands would do any better? They will charge outrageous fees!
Madam Bintu: Now that they have gone on strike is the government discussing the matter with them?
Affen: I don’t know.
Ashafa: I read somewhere that they will start to talk soon.
Madam Bintu: Which kind of mumu government do we have sef? Is it because their kids are not in the public universities that they allow them to go on strike every year? They prevented the NLC strike; why didn’t they persuade ASUU to sheathe their sword?
Affen: Big question; big big question!
Dr. Jonathan: Nigeria is a big question!
Madam Bintu: Government should just ensure that the strike does not go beyond second end of November!
All: Yes; the strike must end now!
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