by Tutu Akinlabi
So I hear news that the lecturers are ready to meet with the government and call off the almost 6-month old strike (yes, I exaggerate, but now you guys want to nitpick?) – some are rejoicing. Well, you can count some of us out of the jubilation for these, out of a million, reasons:
1. Christmas is almost here, guys
Oh, now you guys are in a hurry to solve the problem? Calling off the strike now would be almost pointless because schools will be out almost immediately after for the Christmas holidays. Activities in Nigerian universities tend to slow down at the end of the year so the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) might as well wait till next year to call off the strike. And you want us to spend all that transportation money for that useless Isrealite’s journey?!
2. 2. The female students are all pregnant:
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop and this saying holds true in the case of Nigerian university students as well. The previous industrial actions embarked upon by ASUU have been a time of pregnancy and delivery for many female students. ASUU might as well allow them complete their maternity leave period before calling off the strike. Give them time, there are boyfriends to update, parents to cajole, chemists to be patronised.
3. Here comes the businessman
I thought the government has been trying to build a generation of young entrepreneurs? Well, forgive me for thinking that was the strategy for the strike. With no jobs and plenty time, the 4-month-old strike has pushed many students into starting their own businesses and some of them are making a lot of money. This is not the time for bad market, Mr. President.
4. Music albums
May D’s fake house? Iyanya’s $19000 birthday party? Psquare’s wedding proposal and planning? Tracking Annie Idibia’s baby bump? Burna Boy’s penis-driven publicity boom? Genevieve’s no-movement-in-2013 career? Yvonne Nelson’s endless-stream-of-bikini-photos? The entertainment industry has fed fat on the inordinate time students have had to spend on Twitter, blogs, Instagram and everywhere else. No one gave them time to come up with Plan Bs once students return to school and start writing exams. We need to be reasonable.
5. Think about the blogs!
So what will happen to all those ASUU-driven page views we get – eager students lapping up every single bit of news about the strike. Anything about ASUU has students excited, trying to glean any insight, any glimmer of hope. “ASUU arises from meeting, declares it is an association?” Check. “ASUU meets, drinks pure water”? Check. “President Jonathan speaks, says ASUU strike is indeed a strike”? Check.
Dear ASUU, the media has supported you all through this action. It is time to return the favour – all we ask is a few months.
6. Season 3 of Scandal is out
This is a matter of urgent national important, at least for those students not in the far bushes of Ikot-Ekpene. This is not the time for students to start completing projects, chasing lecturers, reading for exams, looking for water in Moremi. Those tweets about Scandal or Suits or – oh, my poor nerves – “My heart beats for Lola” aren’t going to write themselves. This is no time to go soft lecturers. Stand strong. For once, think of someone else other than yourselves.
7. Seriously though, have the issues been sorted once and for all?
The ASUU strikes have become a national festival – we anticipate it, we prepare for it, we have come to teams with it. Year after year ASUU reaches some agreement or the other with the Federal Government but like clockwork, it still goes on strike every year. Students have stayed strong in the hope that this time, the long-drawn battle will lead to a once-and-for-all conclusion? Is this battle the last one for ASUU? Or will they go on strike again next year? Because the judgement of God will come swiftly on all of y’all if after this four months of pain and misery, you call us out again next year.