It must be really exhausting living as a student in a public university in Nigeria. It isn’t bad enough that lecturers routinely sexually harass female students and male students are forced to offer bribe to get a decent grade, the school’s basic amenities are at best manageable and an emphasis on theoretical knowledge with little or no opportunities for hands-on experience leaves students completely hamstrung in the real world. There is also the constant gloom of an impending strike hanging in the air. Barring any change in decision by the Non-academic Staff Union (NASU) of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), the institution’s milestone 50th convocation ceremony may not hold as scheduled.
The unions have already promised to picket the institution during the convocation, setting the University environment in disarray. The situation at UNILAG is pathetic. This is because the reason for the union’s grouse is known but the authority has decided to remain aloof and allow the rot continue.
It really doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to see why Nigerian politicians and lawmakers don’t care about the state of our universities. Majority of them have their wards studying outside the country and this has prevented them from ever being truly invested in the improvement of the education sector.
The government will rather spend billions on roads and rail while peanuts is allocated to the universities. A careful study of yearly budgetary provisions reveal that some Federal institutions have less than 2 Billion naira as their capital allocations while the Aso Rock Villa receives many times more.
Challenges facing Nigerian workers have never been attended to by the government. In its usual insincere manner of addressing issues, the federal government has not deemed it fit to hold a roundtable or a seminar geared towards repositioning the tertiary institutions and the sector.
The only time the government shows any kind of interest in the institutions is when the workers are on strike. This seeming interest is hinged on the fact that the continuous strike will hamper their political capital and not because they have the interest of the students or workers at heart.
Immediately the strike is called off, the federal government will turns a blind eye as the signed MOUs will be abandoned and won’t be remembered until the next strike and the cycle continues. As a result, the problems remain unsolved.
Will the government ever care about what happens in our universities or will they only take notice when everything goes to hell in a handbasket?