Nov. 6, 2013
Resolved: ASUU strikes are utterly ineffective, totally uncalled for, profoundly senseless, and the students are always the only victims.
Defence: It is no news that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had for the past three years embarked on shorter, warning, strikes over the non-implementation of its Agreement with the Federal Government (FG) with the general public- and market women- haplessly looking on and seemingly enjoying the show; after all, silence means consent. Finally, the perpetual stimulus has reached threshold potential and the whole nation runs amok over a long-foreseen and imminent titanic contraction. Abaa!
Where was the Senate during those calmer, but inoculating, times when ASUU yelled and none responded. Wasn’t this the same Senate that would rather cut off our petroleum product subsidy than starve their obese allowances? Now that ASUU has thrown away its hearing aid we blame her for a deafness we all share(d), a deafness we stubbornly refused to acknowledge before now. Did we not know that following prior inoculation the (immune) response tended to be faster, stronger and of longer duration? Did we think all was well with our ailing varsities and the half-baked, hardly employable, products they churned out- overcrowded and antiquated ovens that they have become?
Alas! It is now that we realise that the guillotine is not the cure for the hailing head. The FG can spend N350m to renovate a residence (of the permanent representative to the UN, we are told) but our universities can rot for all they care! And ASUU must not go on industrial action? Then who will?- and what will?
If you don’t want strike then what do you want? Silence? Mona Lisa attitude: sad and smiling; suffering and smiling? That we Nigerians have been known for the world over- and for a long time now? Dialogue? Who, in their right minds, would dialogue with a blind government- blinded to and by corruption in unthinkable quarters and to unspeakable depths? Or why would an elected official hide behind bullet-proof doors if not to hide his/her stench from the malnourished polity s/he has lived off, an undying parasite that s/he is? And why would a governor deny his own country, his own people, legal import duty on the wealth he extracted from us anyway? And now that he perceives we’re wasteland we must not benefit from his huge purchase- nor must our professionals be employed on it. Greed. Greed. Greed. And greed! But the river that forgets its source shall soon dry.
Alas, in Nigeria, your rights are not pre-ordained; you fight till you are reckoned with. That’s the Nigeria we’ve come to see. (A Nigeria where 16 trumps 19 in a majority vote. Where Governors enjoying constitutional immunity cannot meet peacefully without invasive Police interruption in their lodges. Where ordinary Nigerians cannot assemble to protest unfavourable FG policies- and inactions on corrupt purchases- without pervasive military occupation in our streets.)
So, if ASUU hadn’t gone on this strike would the Almighty Bros J- the other, human, J- meet with them for 13 hours? If you think that’s a yes, why then did it take him 4 whole months? Not to be missed is the fire-brigade approach- typical of Nigeria, alas not only in sports-: a lingering, festering, 4-month-old strike was to be called off in the twinkling of an eye when the Paramount Ruler would not bat his eyelid
for 123 days- just because he has finally said so!
Nigeria we hail thee…
Oh, and to say that all students are the victim(s) of this strike will be to commit the famous Fallacy of Composition: Alas, not all students are jobless- and roaming about the streets- some of us have actually taken this time-out to try our hands in some business or the other, learn a trade, or practise our calling and sharpen our skills. Life is tough, life is a competition; and strikes are just one of those volcanic eruptions by which the strong and sturdy are separated from the weak and feeble!
Perhaps another is that election violence we have to be part of because our (literal) grandfathers still wallow in politics and will not just dive in and be meals for the fish. They’d rather we wear life vests- riddled with the holes of their mischief- and dive in to save their sinking, stinking, political careers. So they can be President or Governors, and Senators, and Honourables at all cost- human lives not exempted!
Everything aforesaid is in my opinion, as is this: Anyone older than the country Nigeria has no business whatsoever ruling in whatever capacity. We’ve had enough of you; you’ve over-stayed your (stolen) welcome. An actor leaves the stage when the ovation is loudest, to stay a second longer is for, in the words of the immortal Tai Solarin which I will undoubtedly jumble up, the housefly to meet the toileting bushman yet toileting. Ẹ lọ sẹ́mpẹ́. Una don try. Au revoir!
Ayokunle Adeleye, Undergraduate Ogun State.