ASUU has just called off a month-long strike (well, 36 days but you get the idea). Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, the ASUU President made the announcement last night after a meeting during which ASUU agreed to hold off the strike until the end of October while the federal government makes good on its promises.
University lecturers are to resume at their various schools today, he directed. But as always, no one is saying anything about the students – you know, the ones whose lives actually depend on these grown-ups getting it together.
Actually, to be fair, one body was concerned about the students through their ordeal – The Nigerian Sex Workers Association. But then, judging from Amaka Enemo‘s tone (Amaka is the national coordinator of Nigerian sex workers), she may have been more concerned about something else.
Anyway, we figured we had to do something about it. We asked 10 Nigerian students a few questions relating to the strike. How they feel about resuming school, how they spent the “holiday”, who they blame for the strike and things like that.
Our conclusion on how they really feel about the whole situation is at the end.
Ore, 21, Adult Education and Economics, University of Ibadan:
I’m indifferent, tbh. During the strike, I was eager to resume and now I don’t think I want to resume.
During the strike, I picked up a few skills… the thing is once students start to make money, they may not feel like going back to school again.
Basically, ASUU just wasted our time… No, I don’t think the Government is at fault. They’ve been irresponsible, sure but ASUU wasted our time pretending to fight for something we all know they are not fighting for.
No, I don’t think they’ll go back [on strike] in October but if they do, it’ll just show how irresponsible they are because they should have just settled everything now before suspending the strike. As I said, they keep interrupting us. We want to finish [courses] on time but once we go on strike and start making money, it’s hard to want to go back [to school].
No, I’m not resuming immediately.
*Diane, 27, MSc Parasitology, University of Lagos:
They say it’s only a conditional suspension…so. I believe the undergraduates have been hit harder by the strike. They were about to start exams when it began so they’ll definitely be rushed now. They may not even have finished by October when ASUU starts again.
*Chuks, MSc Psychology, University of Lagos:
[The call-off] came at a very wrong period for we students. We normally sees strike in Nigeria for two, three, six months. Our academic plan has been scattered. We have to go back to school, some of us who are funding ourselves have to leave the jobs we are doing to come back to school which is not really cool because our lecturers did not factor us into the strike before calling it off. The undergraduate students will soon start their exams within the next two weeks, and a student has to be mentally prepared to write any exams. Nigeria is an abnormal society, whereby abnormality thrives and you expect students to perform excellently. That’s why we cannot perform up to par with our colleagues abroad or even quality schools in West Africa here. Well, we are in an abnormal society, so we tend to be abnormal to survive in this society. The call-off at this time is very abnormal, I hope I survive.
Wow! Wonder why she has no faith in the FG’s abilities to keep to their word.
For post graduate students, the dilemma is that many of us thought it’ll be longer so some have gone on to secure jobs and will now have to decide whether to abandon their programmes or quit in an economy where jobs are the hardest things to find.
*Sami, 25, MBA, UNILAG:
I’m not particularly excited. Mixed feelings actually. On the one hand, I was at a loss for what to do during the strike because I had never experienced such b___sh_t before so I immediately poured my time into learning new skills. On the other hand, this suspension has given me the zeal to complete school assignments I could not bring myself to be interested in during the strike.
Sami, by the way learnt cake decorations during the strike.
More mixed feelings…
Olumide, MSc, Political Science, University of Lagos:
It’s timely. The one month and one week period is fair enough for them to have a bargain. Our programme should be for a year, and if [the strike] keeps on going, we will exceed a year which we bargained for when we applied. So the strike is fair enough for us to be away from classes. Calling it off is okay, but I am not happy, because I have assignments to do. I have been saying that over and over again, but I won’t say because of my personal interest, others that want their programmes rounded off by the end of the year. But it’s a fair deal, we are going back to class hopefully by next week, and by end of the year, we should round off. But it’s a mixed reaction for me. I’m happy and sad.
Pius Ogbu, MSc Botany, University of Lagos:
[Inasmuch as] we want to finish our programme on time which is a scheduled one-year programme, and going on the strike would have extended it more than a year, it would be good for us to look at it from that light that it’s very reasonable that the strike was called off. Besides that, one-year programme is not as easy as those of us outside may have seen it, a lot of bulky work to do. Majority of us in school saw the strike as a period of tiding up one or two works, but right now, the call-off is so sudden. Even the call-off is on a promising note, there is still a likelihood that it may continue. The lecturers may want to hasten us on some activities, but there is still the possibility it will be called off again.”
Samuel, BSc Microbiogy, LAUTECH:
As you may have guessed, Samuel’s situation is a bit peculiar seeing as his institution was on a different strike before this srike. We asked him if this suspension even applies to LAUTECH.
I’m not even going back. Not yet. I believe it applies to us too but they have to sort that out (his own school’s chapter of ASUU had refused to resume last Friday when the original LAUTECH strike was called off) first. They should by Monday. Some people will go back to school but things won’t be sorted out until the end of October.
Israel, MSc Architecture, UNILAG:
To me, I feel they should have given us a warning. Sure, they said they were going to meet on Thursday. But Thursday, Friday Saturday, Sunday, Monday, we didn’t hear anything. They should have told us, ‘okay, there is progress, by so and so time, we’ll be calling it off’. Why will you come and announce something at someone’s bed time? But with everything we just thank God. We can’t change it. I advise everybody to go and continue from where they stopped, even if you’ve not been working before. Right now, this work [a studio design] I have not opened it since strike started. I guess this is a motivation to continue working. If you work at a certain pace, try and double it, work faster. Nobody will wait for us, lecturers won’t wait for us. So we should just try and work at a faster pace.
Oh that reminds us! Here’s an exclusive on how some MBA students reacted when they first heard the news:
Tests begin in earnest
ASUU is not the only one that can strike
We have not been formally informed
IJGBs better get back…
Kizito , MSc Philosophy, University of Lagos:
I think it’s appropriate and fitting, because I have expected it a long while before now. The question I have asked through the cause of the strike is ‘when it is called off, will I be ready for it?’ I have struggled within the time to see what I can do academically, always checked the news highlights on when it will be called off. I am receiving it well that it has been called off I am not ready to go to class today, but I’m good that any day after now, I should go for classes. I think other bodies who joined the strike in solidarity with ASUU should also resume if they have the keen interests of students at heart. I sympathize with my colleagues who had gone beyond the shores of Nigeria. Some expected that we would be intimate before hand before the strike is called off. My mixed feeling will be for those who will not be able to resume immediately for lectures”.
*Taiwo, MSc Human Resource Management, University of Lagos:
Basically, I am happy because I get to finish on time. They won’t disrupt my academic calendar. I am supposed to end my coursework in 2017, so I am finishing in 2017. The call-off doesn’t come all of a sudden because anything that has a start has an end obviously. The strike was not for students, but for lecturers. They were fighting for their rights.”
*not the real names.