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Address ongoing ASUU menace – Open letter to FG

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By Loveth Udezue

MY PEN flows with pain. It hurts that the protracted Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike has rendered the Nigerian students unproductive. Who could have imagined that the strike that started months ago will still be ongoing? The strike has become termite that awaits unpolished woods for consumption.

  Chapter 2, Section 18 of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution states: ”The government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels.” However, Nigeria’s public universities seem not to have favoured this policy; thanks to the perennial confrontation between ASUU and the federal government.

  Considering the situation at hand, one would rather want to believe that education in this country is near extinction. This ugly development has engineered the loss of faith by many in our educational system. It’s not strange or condemnable as those with the wherewithal now send their children or wards abroad to school. Who can blame them? 

  In 1999, when this exercise was first observed, it emanated as a normal protest against the federal government’s cold attitude towards lecturers’ welfare with the hope of the government offering them a better remuneration package for the service they render in advancing the country through education which is the bedrock of any nation. The agitation has now become a movement. February 14, 2022, marked the 16th year of going back and forth without any reasonable result.

  Government intention of giving quality education and moulding the youth for a greater tomorrow, with the constant strike leaves much to be desired. The enforced sit-at-home imposed by the striking lecturers on students has made many of them engage in unimaginable vices. The lecturers’ incessant industrial action fuels an age-long adage that “an idle mind is a devil’s workshop” for millions of our students.

  There may not be an official record but obviously, we have witnessed more youth engagement in vices. If not for the shambles of our educational system, Nigeria would be in the league of countries with a record of finishing school in record time productively. It embarrasses us to see that we don’t have a sound education sector obtainable in neighbouring African countries.

  We pride our country as the giant of Africa, yet with a dwarf educational system. Just as we have what it takes to enjoy electricity; yet, pay for darkness, our students pay for elongated studies that seem substandard abroad.

  We have not spoken about the massive frustrations, psychological pain and financial problems that wait them if the strike ends. Most students who dabble into quick money ventures now see education as a scam with convictions for others to follow suit.

   The effect of the action is felt by both students and the nation, however, its effect tells more on the students.

  This is a plea to the federal government to rescue our education sector by ensuring a reasonable decision is taken to arrest this virus before it destroys education in public universities.

Udezue is a Mass Communication student, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)

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