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Strike has plunged us into uncertainty, crime, Ondo students lament

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Members of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) protesting over ASUU strike action in Abuja last week


The Asin of Oka-Akoko, Adekemi Omorinbola, has said that the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was already having negative impacts on the people of Akoko, especially Akungba-Akoko where the Adekunle Ajasin University is located. 

Omorinbola, a regent of Oka-Akoko, who is also a Psychology student of the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, said the strike has disrupted the academic calendar of the institution, which ought to have finished its examinations before now. 

“We are already preparing for examinations, but now we have been sent back home because of the strike. We should have been through with our examinations by now and the students would have traveled home to prepare for another session, but the reverse is now the case,” she lamented.

She also decried the financial burden, which the disruption placed on the students, adding:“The strike doesn’t allow students to plan for their future and how to source funds for the next session, especially those that are sponsoring themselves. 

“University education should be for four years, at most five years for a few courses. But it is not like that in most public universities, as one can end up spending six or seven years due to strikes.” 

Omorinbola added that the lecturers who are building future leaders are neglected, while political office holders are enjoying themselves, as they are never owed for a day.She, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to implement the 2009 agreement and other demands of ASUU, saying they deserve some attention. 

Also speaking, the Regent of Iboropa-Akoko and a 300 level undergraduate of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Tinuade Babalola, said that the recurrent strikes by ASUU have prolonged the number of years spent in the universities. Babalola pointed out that the crises have bastardised the educational standard, leaving the Nigerian educational system in a big mess. 

Her words: “Knowing that your mates in private institutions are graduating before you can be really depressing. It can lead to demotivation. “After resumption, academic activities are muddled up just to try to meet up with the academic calendar that has been drawn for the year.”

Another undergraduate of AAUA, Gbemisola Olaniyi, raised the alarm that the malaise in the education system may aggravate the crime rate, especially as students are now idle, frustrated and despondent.

“Most of us are at home now sleeping and waking up and only few of us have a sense of thinking that they should find something to do. They have forgotten that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” she said.Olaniyi said the incessant strikes was creating a wide gap between the poor and the rich in the society, adding: “If not checked, some parents resort to unscrupulous means of sending their wards to private institutions.  

“They are pushing our parents to start thinking of the private universities as a better option. What about those who their parents do not have money for private universities, should they steal? Seriously, we are not happy about the strike.”She, however, absolved lecturers of any blame for demanding their emoluments, insisting that it was wrong for them to ne denied their pay after working for it, considering that they too have children to take care of.

Olaniyi, therefore, urged the government to consider the future of the country because the youths are the future of the nation and as such they should attend ASUU and pay its members their salaries.
 
Meanwhile, Folashade Adenike Omomowo, a Political Science student at the university, added that the students were now susceptible to vices such as prostitution, stealing, gambling and terrorism.

She urged the Federal Government to redeem the 2009 agreement with ASUU and meet the union’s demands, describing them as the panacea to the rot in the education sector. Some parents who spoke to The Guardian expressed their dissatisfaction with the continuing strike, describing it as a clog in the wheel of progress.

‘Strikes Have Become Part Of Academic Calendar’
From Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos  
STUDENTS who reacted to the ongoing strike by ASUU have berated the constant industrial actions occasioned by government’s failure to honour its words with the university teachers, saying it would seem that strikes have become part of the ivory towers’ academic calendar.

Speaking with The Guardian, a 200 level student of the Department of Mathematics, University of Jos, Ebere Francis, said she only regretted the two courses that they were not allowed to write during their examinations before the strike commenced.

   
“The University authority has given us assurance that we will finish our examinations before the commencement of the strike. But all of a sudden, while we were still writing the examinations, information came that we should all suspend further examinations.
  
“Initially, the exam timetable was rescheduled so that we could finish the papers early enough. But as I have said, something happened and we could not finish our two compulsory courses.”Ebere further said that she is yet to feel the impact of the strike until after one month.
 
A 300 level Biochemistry student in the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the same university, Emmanuel Okoro, however, said that strike in academic institutions in Nigeria was not a new phenomenon.
 
According to Okoro, “Strike is envisaged. It has become part and parcel of the learning process. I would have been surprised if the lecturers do not go on strike. This is because strikes have become part of academic calendar in Nigeria.

“It is just that some lecturers, especially those who don’t prepare their students well enough believe that they must go on strike once every year. These lecturers who are insensitive to human feelings think strikes are necessary. So, strikes have become a kind of ritual in the university community.”
   
But Popoola Timothy, a 200 level student of History and International Studies at the University of Lagos, who had to travel to Jos because of the strike to meet his parents, said it was okay for him because he was not prepared for the suspended examinations.“I will now use the period of the strike to prepare for the examinations because the exams are likely to commence immediately the strike is over. So, I don’t want to be caught napping again. Therefore, I can say I am happy. The strike favours me, as if ASUU was reading my mind and the level of my preparation for the examinations. So, I thank ASUU for the good work for embarking on the strike”.
   
A parent of one of the students, Joshua Dachom, lamented the development, saying the little money budgeted for the family has to be doubled because of the “unwanted visitors”.A secondary school teacher whose daughter, Blessing, is a remedial student, said that the strike is an unwelcome development adding: “My daughter finds it difficult to read in the school. Now that she is home, you can imagine what she would do. In fact, she will be as empty as an empty barrel.
  
“In fact, the damage that ASUU has done to us is irreparable. It is a colossal disaster. My daughter is a grown-up girl. Nobody can control her movement. She hangs around with boys at night. You know at school, she can’t do most of what she is doing at home now. At school, she will be ashamed to stay behind while her friends are rushing for lectures. So, ASUU’s strike is not a good thing at all”.

Also, Taiwo Olaosebikan, a mechanic who has spent the better part of his life in Jos and father of Olusegun, a 200 level undergraduate of Economics at the University of Jos, said: “Segun is my last son. He didn’t want to read after his secondary education. But I encouraged him to write JAMB several times before he got admission to the university, which he reluctantly accepted.

“He told me that he wanted to become a mechanic like myself. I said, okay, read first before you become a mechanic. In fact, while he was in the university before the strike, many of my customers wanted him to handle their cars because he is very good at it. In as much as I don’t discourage him from being a mechanic, I wanted him to be a mechanic with a difference.
  
“Now that he is on a forced break, he does most of the work. I don’t go to work as early as I used to do when he was in school. I am sure most of my customers are advising him to concentrate on the job rather than go to school.”

‘ASUU’s Action Necessitated By Federal Government’s Failure to Honour Agreements’
By Shakirah Adunola
CHAIRMAN of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos State University (LASU) chapter, Akinloye Oyewunmi, argued that the strike became necessary owing to breaches of the 2009 agreement on funding of state universities; conditions of service; refusal to honour the Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) and renegotiation of the agreement.Akinloye noted that the strike was not well managed, as it takes two to tangle.

“We have done all that is necessary to ensure that the internal mechanisms of resolving this issue are observed and respected but unfortunately the Federal Government didn’t see us or the issues raised as important until it got to this point.“I hardly see what will stop the strike in the nearest future, judging from my understanding of the antecedents of the leaders of this country.

“Those who are leading us have no respect for agreements and rule of law. They are diligent with due process. That is why they sit in their homes and allocate six per cent to education in the budget and feel very comfortable allocating 11 per cent of the budget for their lunch.”

He, however, assured that the strike would not affect the academic performance of student, adding that a lot of people do not understand how the university system runs on semester basis, which can be specified into number of weeks.

“I can say this for all universities in the on going strike. We know the number of weeks from the semester that have been suspended. When the strike is over, I can assure you that the remaining weeks will be observed before the end of the semester,” he stated.

He, therefore, advised students to engage themselves with something while the strike lasts, saying: “There is no end to factual knowledge. We learn every day and there are a number of things that individuals can pick up besides the discipline they are pursuing.“And even if they want to stick with their course of study, the library is today on the palm of nine out of the every 10 students. They can go on Internet search for new ideas and get better on the courses they are studying.”

It’s Different Strokes For Different Folks
By Kemi Sokoya, Henry Ekemezie, Ibe Emmanuella, Owolabi Blessing and Maria Diamond
IN what could be likened to different strokes for different folks, most of the students affected by the strike are idling away at home, while others are engaged in menial activities without much productive outcomes.

A banker, Akinwale Oguntodokun, said most of the students are wasting at home, either watching television, playing games or sleeping extra hours, because they do not have any meaningful activity to engage them. “It is almost impossible for most of them who may desire to get a part time job to get one because job opportunities are very limited these days,” he said.

A 400 level undergraduate of the University Of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Ebere Nwachukwu, said the strike has really affected her a lot by delaying her graduation time. She said she has to use the period to look for part-time job, because she could not afford to stay at home doing nothing, and urged the government do everything possible to end the strike.

Also Chidinma Mmadebe, a 200 level student of the Imo State University said: “I am not happy with the ongoing strike, because it has stopped me from writing my examinations, which has allowed me to search for a job pending when they call us back.Ikenna Nwachukwu, who is seeking admission, said: “It has also affected those of us trying to get admission. The students are using the opportunity to enjoy their social lives more and do the things they were not privileged to do while in school. The government should ensure that the strike is over so that the younger ones won’t be destroyed.”

Also a businessman, Andrew Omaseye, said: “It has affected the students a lot and allowed them to stay at home, visit friends, walk about the streets and doing those things they were not able to do in school. Omoniyi Bademosi, a photo artist said the country has always had problems prioritising education, stressing that the leadership of the country does place high value on education.

“It is in the nature of the government to condone strikes when all negotiations and terms fail. The strike affects the motivation and passion of the students. They could lose faith in the country’s education system. Most students now spend their time watching movies, while engage in developing relevant skills that can make them independent.”

A parent, Chuks Ekeoma, decried the situation, lamenting that his children were now at home doing nothing. Riley Osuji, an undergraduate pointed out that the government should find a solution to the strike urgently because it is ruining students. “The strike is giving some students room to engage in nefarious activities, considering that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

Another student, Anita Avaison said: “We are tired of the strike. We can’t continue to stay at home. Life is becoming unbearable for us in this country. We were about commencing our first semester examination before we heard the academic union had begun an indefinite strike. I am worried. Please, beg ASUU on our behalf so that we can return to school. Life at home is boring.”

Similarly, a parent, Ronke Adeniyi, lamented that she has nothing to say anymore, adding: “It is obvious now that government and ASUU do not place any value on the education system. That is why our children have to stay at home idle. The leaders are busy playing politics with our future. It is obvious that this government lacks the will to take this country to greater heights,” Adeniyi said. Joy Ibekwe said she was not bothered about the strike, because she was already rounding off her vocational training in beautification and make-up.

“In fact, the strike has afforded me the opportunity to do what I would not have done ordinarily. Whether school resumes or not, honestly, I am not worried. The government should listen to ASUU. That is my take,” she added.

To Karina Jolowo, a student: “I am frustrated and pained. The government is mortgaging our future. ASUU is not responsible while Ifeyinwa Benedicta said the strike has affected her negatively and positively. “Negatively in the sense that I have somehow lost the zeal for reading and positively in the sense that I have had time to do other things like my music and also learning my graphics. I really miss school. I really miss the school stress. I miss everything. But seriously, the Federal Government and ASUU should resolve the issues fast,” Benedicta said.

Also, a 300 level student of Mass Communication at UNN, Okereke Chukwuemeka Matthew, said: “It is very bad that in Nigeria, universities go on strike. These are citadels of learning, which are never supposed to break down, but the reverse is the case here. Other universities outside the country don’t go on strike, because they know the value of education and what it means to have good future for students. “I suggest that the government should try and resolve the matter and make sure that they reach an agreement to avoid incessant strikes.”

Speaking to The Guardian, a final year student of the Department of Political Science Caleb University, Bennis Ofoegbu, said that the strike was uncalled for.His words: “Government has the resources to pay the lecturers. So, why does the government derive joy in making students suffer? It is really bad. “I’m totally in support of the ASUU strike. Come to think of it, prices of goods and services have doubled over the years, salaries have remained the same and lecturers have been suffering,” said 400 level student of Medicine and Surgery, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus (UNEC), Nworgu Chizaramekpere.

“I don’t like the issue of ASUU going on strike but still I won’t blame them. I blame the government,” said Agbi Blessing, a 200 level Accounting student of the Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma, Edo State.“Does the government expect lecturers to work without payment? For Christ sake, that’s their source of livelihood and if they are not paid, they and their families go hungry. It would be very bad on the government employing staffs without paying them. They are even meant to pay them more due to the recession in the country because I know the government is not suffering due to the way they lavish money.

Also speaking, Fatuya Joshua, a 200 level student of Ondo State University said: “Before I got to the university, I never really knew much about strikes. I heard about them, but I showed little concern until it became a reality after I suffered from internal strike at my institution.

“Sincerely it is frustrating, because it causes delay and can also affect ones’ passion for studies. My advice to students is to find something meaningful to do to enable them help themselves and the next generation.

Durosinmi Victory, a 200 level student said: “The strike is not something we should be happy about. It was caused by government’s inability to see to the needs of university workers. This affects students too, as all academic activities have come to a standstill. With precious time being wasted, is government ready to see to the needs of the workers? Will the workers pity students and suspend the strike? No one knows.

“Meanwhile, students should take the opportunity of this ‘holiday’ and venture into profitable trade, rather than roaming the streets and constituting nuisance. Austin Inyang fears that some female students might get pregnant before the strike is suspended, while Tomi Somorin, a 19 year old 300 level Biology Education student of the University of Lagos, said she has been home for days now because of the strike and she does not have an idea when the strike would be over.

Tomi said she feels really bad about the strike, because it would prolong her graduation. “The strike commenced the week we were supposed to start our second semester examination and now we don’t even know when the second semester examination would commence, as it depends on when the strike is called off.” She said she would not let the strike stop her as she intends to learn a trade pending when it is called off.“If the strike takes longer than we expect and I stay at home without doing anything, it would amount to a waste of my time, which is not acceptable to me.

“I intend to use this period to learn hair making and nails treatment, as it would be an added advantage to me, especially when school resumes. I would make hair for my friends and get extra cash from it.“I want to use this period to put every other aspect of my life together. I want to learn driving and be able to help my mum run errands when she does not feel good,” she said.

Omogbemi Oluwafunmilayo, a 100 level Accounting student of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba (AAUA) said the school had just commenced the second semester when the strike started and she has been home since then.

“The strike is affecting me negatively because I can not remember reading since it commenced. I am already tired of staying at home. I have a lot of distractions at home and it is impossible to read because I help my mother to sell at her provision store everyday,” she said.

Emiola Oluwasikemi, an 18 year old Mass Communication student of University of Lagos said the strike was not having any negative effect on her presently, but it might affect the duration of her education and the school’s calendar.“I am currently learning how to drive and reading my books, because once the strike is called off, we would continue from where we stopped,” she added.


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