ASUU Strike 2022: A Concerned Student’s Introspection

By Abdulrasheed Akere

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on an industrial action on February 14, and it lasted through October 14, 2022, which is tantamount to eight months of zero academic activities in federal universities and some state universities.

We went through the tormenting stretch of eight months, which meant our stay at the university has been extended. Thank God many survived the tribulations it abounded with, but how about those who didn’t? Several thoughts traverse my mind about the strike and the future of our education system.

At the early stages of the strike, questions struck my perception regarding when the strike will end, how soon it would be, whether academics will return to normalcy after the distortion, the likelihood of students returning to school after the strike and if they’ll be able to sustain their passion for education.

I was unable to provide answers to these questions because they were beyond my knowledge. But like everyone, a rigid belief I had was that the strike would breathe its last one day. Some students waited for long on campus, hoping that the strike would not last long. However, the torrent of passing time soon watered their belief and prove them wrong. Expectedly, they also left for home.

One would wonder how silent our campus would have been, how the entrepreneurs on campus survived, how banks on campus were operating and how our lecturers were feeding their families without receiving salaries. Anytime I think about lives that depend on students and education, I feel sorry for Nigerians because of our polity. If the system was stable, strikes would not hound the populace in the first place.

People thought academic sessions would be scrapped as they no longer tally with our real-time calendar. However, the opposite can also be justified as schools have to complete their derelict semesters.

Nevertheless, schools reopened in October, but not all the students resumed.

A financially-buoyant section of students crossed to private universities. Another section opted for fresh admissions into colleges of Education, Nursing and Health Technology amongst others. We started the journey together, but the ASUU strike cut the long journey short, and we wished them the best in their endeavours.

Unfortunately, another section of students lost interest in education and dived into entrepreneurship just like some university lecturers abandoned the Education sector to explore their fortune elsewhere.

Now that schools have resumed, have things come back to normal? I don’t think so because of the things we were once accustomed to having now become herculean for us.

A friend wondered how students will not fail this semester because everyone finds it difficult to cope with lectures and night reading. “How are we going to become students again?” is now a common happenstance on the lips of Nigeria’s federal university students.

By now, I believe the ASUU has seen that striking is not the solution to the loopholes in the Education sector. The union needs to devise other methods to drive the fulfilment of its demands.

In my opinion, what students need at this point is focus and the determination to become icons of their academic battle. Take what happened in the past and concentrate on the present to yield a better future. The reality is that everyone eyes the best, but the truth is that not everyone will get the best. If you do not relent, your good may become better.

Let’s all be hardworking and prayerful for all the misery we have seen to become a part of a blissful history. May God avert further strikes in federal universities because it is a maim to the heart of the aim.

Abdulrasheed Akere is a sophomore student at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS).

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