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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

ASUU STRIKE

ASUU STRIKE PROLONGED AS A RESULT OF CONDEMNED ALTRUISM. That strike is the ultimate weapon to fight civil oppression seems to be a tenable fact if not a claim. It has been used in several places at different periods to demand for change in a particular undesirable system or practice and it has been used to fight government negligence quite successfully. But in Nigeria, strike seems to be a disturbing playful noise of the frustrated weaklings which may be ignored by the government that has become stolid, hard bitten and hard hearted. So, it is an act of intrepidity for the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to embark on strike when it is obvious that strike and criticism only make Nigerian government invigorated in asperity. Now, the students are ambivalent and many of them are confused. Many of them do not want the strike to continue yet they hardly reason that ASUU should compromise to the government's condemned altruism. In Nigeria, only in this year, there has been several warning strike, on and off, time and again. Health workers had gone on strike, NUPENG had gone on strike, ASUP had gone on strike. And none of these actually achieve the goal of going on strike. Some unions are pestering but just, by going on strike. Yet they compromised to government's quixotic promise. And now, ASUU STRIKE which started about 78 days ago is still unresolved. For ASUU, it appears that this strike is the hardnosed approach to a revamp-like vision in the education sector in this country. A quotable musician, Bob Marley sang: 'how can you be sitting there, telling me, that you care, that you care; and every time I look around, people suffer, people suffer, everywhere...' I wonder how 'THEY' can be comfortable counting days of ASUU strike, 78 days gone, and we and THEY are still counting because they are '...of the people by the people, FOR the people? ASUU strike was tenable on the demand that the agreement reached in 2009 by ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria should be implemented. The negotiation had started long time before 2009 that the FG considered the demand wise and necessary enough to be granted. ASUU demands 500 billion naira to improve facilities in 61 public universities including 34 state universities; and 92 or 87 billion to settle earned allowances of lecturers. According to the agreement, #100 billion was supposed to be released last year (2012) and #400 billion each subsequent year starting from 2013. The government at first claimed that there is no resource to meet ASUU's demand. Later, the FG released 100 billion for the facilities and 30 billion for the allowances. Then ASUU still insisted that the agreement must be implemented. The committee headed by Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam also was said to have figured out that classrooms, laboratories, hostels in the universities need proper attention and funding. After some days, the FG added 30 billion to make ASUU's personal demand 60 billion. And then ASUU still refused to call off the strike. Some students want ASUU to call off the strike and then keep negotiating. That was the case when ASUP called off her 3 months old strike, expecting results. ASUP seemed to have been played by the FG which is why that Union is planning something. Then, why is FG so diffident and cunning, becoming comedian of the Nigerians interest with the following fables: no fund, 130 billion, another 30 billion? Why wasting the precious time of Nigerian students? According to investigation, as reported by punch news paper, Nigeria was losing #158.93 billion daily during the nationwide strike by the NLC and NUC in January 20r2. And the country could withstand such huge loss for about a week. It is quite incredible that the minister of information, Labaran Maku, said that the country would shut down if the FG conceded to the demand of ASUU. Also, as reported by Punch news paper, the Central Bank revealed on her website that the country realized #1.05 trillion in July(only), yet ASUU's demand which is not even a fresh demand could not be implemented. Several people had called on ASUU to call off the strike though they know or feel that calling off the strike without the essential desired result is just a fleeting suspension of the strike and never the end. The country will continually enjoy episodes of ASUU strike with a sad interesting plot involving conflict entangling ASUU, FG, NANS and the parents as well activists. Has qualitative education (if there has ever been) become a game exclusive for the rich and robbers? Is it not obvious that the prolonged strike will jeopardize the future of some or many of the students especially those who are too frustrated? In Nigeria, the issue of Jumbo pay amount spent on lawmakers, Central Bank and the elected beloved cankers of the Nigerian orchard, and those who get project money for their constituencies without spending a dime, all in the running of Nigerian democratic government, is an irrefutable evidence of the fact that the Nigerian government impenitently enjoy the cigarette and throw the fag end to the majority of the people, they feed on flesh, tonic, honey and milk while they feed the people with bones, sweat, alcohol and blood. The government always spends profligately on herself with great cupidity. As Things not their own Burn with greed in their bone For though the truth is known That they are mainly on the throne To distribute the wealth that is known They refuse to change in tone. And yet, some truth is still unknown. There was a time when it was revealed that 25% of the nation's GDP is spent on the lawmakers who are less than 500 people. Education, accordion to Nelson Mandela is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world. But strike in the sector affects mainly the students who are the youth and the pillar of the country. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that 'the secret of education lies in respecting the students'. Only that in Nigeria, the inertia of the government to consider the students proves that the youth are not cherished as supposed except that they are hired when their muscles are needed in electoral wrestling championship in this country. If children are the leaders of tomorrow, then the youth should be leaders of today and the old should be the observers and the mentors. But in Nigeria, many children are deceived and abused; many of the youth are dribbled and exploited. Many of the youth, especially those from innocent background are to struggle like a camel penetrating through the path of the hole of a needle. There are final year students who ought to have graduated by now, there are graduates who ought to have gone for Youth Service or begun Post Graduate studies, and many ought to have completed a level and proceeded to another level. But they are all victims of the struggle between ASUU and the FG. In fact, not struggle but game. For how long; for how long must students stay at home without jobs, in the boring state of power outage? The youth must not resort to triviality and hopelessness but must work hard and succeed so that they can contribute to the development of this country. ASUU strike is an impediment to the dreams of most of these students. Oh, great game players! It appears the government predicted that very soon the students and their parents would become too emotional to the extent of persuading or criticizing ASUU. And of course, there are students and parents who believe ASUU is becoming inconsiderate and stubborn. Some said that ASUU should not dream of correcting a long-time accumulated error just once over a short period of time- they believe in gradual process or endurance process. And ASUU is like saying, 'No, we are not afraid of long and longer strike... We are ready'. And there are parents and students who rather than blame ASUU, want the government to meet ASUU's demand. Well, who lose among the FG, ASUU, NANS, and the STUDENTS? ASUU will get their pay. Their time is hardly being wasted. They are probably making researches, and writing books. The strike does not mean they won't go to offices to enjoy whatever the office could give. Only those who are very and very passionate about teaching would probably feel bad, somehow. But the students really bear the brunt of the strike, and it is quite unbearable and frustrating. For How Long? Unemployment, which is not unreal in developed countries such as United States and United Kingdom, is greatly burying Nigeria's Future as a rich (yet poor) country- a wealthy borrower indeed. It is quite interesting that there is 'Unemployed Youth Association of Nigeria' and 'Nigeria Association of Unemployed Graduates. No wonder the minister of finance, Dr. Okonjo Iweala said that the unemployment in the country is too worrisome. Worrisome! The Youth-Education-Unemployment, or Politics, which is worrisome? The man, Melaye asked thus: 'the agreement was made in 2009; why was there not budgetary provision for that agreement in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013?' ASUU STRIKE should be ended to show that our 'rulers' are somehow people-centered. ASUU STRIKE is still on and the NLC and TUC are planning to go on strike. What a year and a kingdom of unending STRIKE! But why should a good thinking Nigerian student support ASUU STRIKE? The president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Yinka Gbadebo, claimed that ASUU is hiding some truth pertaining to the 2009 agreement. He said the 87 billion Naira was added to the agreement by February this year, and so ASUU is not fighting for the students(?). He never focused on whether the facilities demand is indeed part of the agreement, but he drove the nail deep into the plank of ASUU earned allowances, to refute ASUU's claim of something like civil struggle. Thus, the strike becomes more confusing. Though he said ASUU does not need to consult NANS before going on strike, he called for cooperation between ASUU and NANS if the struggle is for the students. Is ASUU really hiding something which is just whether the earned allowance is part of the agreement or not and just that the allowances may not be for all lecturers? Is Gbadebo neutral or swallowed by the suckers of the national treasury like someone said you don't talk when you are eating? Many students now believe that since FG is not concerned about the students now believe that since FG is not concerned about the students, ASUU should think of a bitter way of making the government ACT. Well, that 'better way' is nothing but a fish flying in the sky, which only the strange wise ones can catch in their imaginative utopianism. NANS, president asks if ASUU is worth being supported by the students who are also oppressed and never supported by ASUU in terms of school fee, increment, increment in accommodation fee, delay in result, delay in Final Year result, hand out fee, proscription of student's BODY in schools, molestation of female students at will and so on. The students are always at the receiving end. Nevertheless, it is rational to assume that the recent industrial civil strike by different unions especially ASUU, is somehow motivated by certain political substantial entities from opposition parties (supposedly) or from the ruling party (possibly), as a subversion for the purpose of attacking the efficacy (if there is- there ought to be) of the current government. But the fact is crystal clear that the government is impervious to the cries and constructive criticism of the majority. So, if there is any political game involved, the FG is to blame because if the wall does not break, the Lizards do not creep in. Now, the Niger-Delta ex-militant are warning the New PDP faction not to dream of stopping Jonathan from 2nd term in 2015 election. What a great issue for the government to be concerned about. The FG is probably too obsessed with politics, especially now that there are factions in the ruling party, obvious but denied factions that cause the honorable of the party to be having meetings towards party unity. The minister of education, professor Ruqayyat was sacked amidst crisis. Perhaps it was as a transfer of aggression. The presidency claimed it is not linked to party crises. Also, it seems unconnected to ASUU strike because she is not the only minister sacked. Above all, Nigeria is just a country too complicated to die for. It is a good country full of complexities within and without. In conclusion, this is not an acquittal of the possibility of blame on ASUU, neither is it an indictment on FG, but a plea and a call to make the FG end ASUU STRIKE. ASUU is unyielding, why should FG not consider the students and meet ASUU's demand now? Is ASUU not going to be tamed? Should ASUU compromise and make days wasted be in vain? Are students to suffer time wastage in this short lifetime? Students are not happy, many are ambivalent. Oh ASUU How can you rub powder when you've not had your bath? Oh Nigerian government How can you be comfortable when you know that all is not well, that the bathroom is stinking and unpleasant? How can the gowns come out beautifully into the towns when the dressing rooms are empty. Why play on the student's collective destiny? Oh TWO Elephants Re-sit, re-think, re-plan, refund, release, refine And retreat. To serve our fatherland with love And strength and faith to be faithful loyal and honest... Really? So with deep sense of ambivalence and neutrality, ASUU STRIKE is prolonged due to condemned altruism, perhaps, all-embracing. And NANS is a complex storey building of 'confused occupants filling space, getting busy and interrupting the waves. ASUU strike Is prolonged only because Nigerian Democracy is 'of the people', 'BY' (few) OF the people (but 'not' really 'FOR' the 'majority' of the people.

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