Mina Ogbanga: ASUU strike and the future of the Nigerian youth (Y! FrontPage)

by Mina Ogbanga

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Surely with continued destruction of the educational system, one can conclude that we would be left with mediocrity and supposed students cut off from quality knowledge that would have supported national development.

In a recent release, UNESCO stated that while education is a basic human right essential for the exercise of all other rights, there are still 774 million illiterates globally and many more adults who are not consistently learning what they need to lead a healthy, fulfilling and productive lives because of a combination of several factors making timely quality education a distant dream.

After much reflection, I concluded that one of the factors that we cannot avoid is strike. I recall a time we practically lost a session to strikes and many in between that saw us graduating 2-3 years after our peers who had their parents change schools early to institutions abroad. I’m still not sure victims will forget those years so soon.

Sadly, the situation has not been too different in recent times. To many, there appears to be a systematic design to destroy what is left of the near crippled educational system by both ASUU and the FG. The last I checked, most university calendars for those who had, have become permanently distorted. Increasing the state of vulnerability of the institutions and calling for a quick declaration of a state of emergency in the sector to save what is left of the nervous wreck of a group called students.

So below are highlights of thoughts on the impact of this menace;

1.Public Enemy – Employers dilemma

That there is demand for qualified employees is not in doubt, what is doubtful is if the employers will have the privilege of getting such employees. This is also considering the current situation where over 70 per cent of graduates are alleged to be ‘half-baked’ with 10 per cent barely knowing why they attended school. And the 20 per cent who think they have what it takes worry as they may realise early that skills and connections for eventual employment are worlds apart.

2. While the real reason for embarking on the strikes become blurred by the day, what is clear is that the youth are disenfranchised with many taking on menial tasks to survive while they await resumption.

3. Reasonable demands or presumptuous requests?

Thus far, ASUU claims its demands are valid and strategic, from the review of retirement age of professors to progressive increase of budgetary allocations to the education sector by 26 per cent etc. One reasons that these perhaps should be statutory responsibilities of the FG towards the universities. So after reneging on a host of agreements in the past, won’t many simply conclude that the FG is becoming insincere in its dealings with ASUU? This was captured clearly in the words of the Minister for Labour, Chukuemeka Wogu who declared that “the agreements reached will be impossible to implement”. One of the feedback that broke the camels back and put a seal to continued strike.

Now each party is seemingly adamant, unyielding and hardly appear concerned about the consequences of their stance, an impasse that has done more harm than good.

4. Increasing mediocrity: Loss of productive force

Surely with continued destruction of the educational system, one can conclude that we would be left with mediocrity and supposed students cut off from quality knowledge that would have supported national development.

5. Increase brain drain and Foreign expert influx

Considering that nature harbors any vacuum. T he increased possible brain drain will only add to the influx of foreigners who would be more than willing to exploit the gaps and proceed with the once dreaded imperialistic norms and colonialistic tendencies

6. Unequal yolk between the past and the future

The past challenge as posed by the none implementation of the “agreement” is denying the future of many students the privilege of stable education. Dreams are being assassinated by the day as most ladies would simply get into the family way while some guys simply get unduly distracted and hardly are able to return to school, hopes then become dashed.

7. Loss of Fundamental expectations

Due to the fact that most universities without functional libraries that would have aided the promotion of healthy and highly reccomended reading habit, home reading becomes a painful activity so the books simply gather dust. Even in session, most schools have laboratories that have become museums, libraries that are comparable to archives, lecture notes that are simply drab historic texts, outdated curriculum fiercely turning graduates to job seekers since the reward for innovation is rare. Thesis and dessertation are no more issues based and therefore not guided to address priority development issues. The educational giant of Africa… lays asleep.

8. The gap in workforce

A student not properly equipped would surely not suffice when the need for solid workforce arises tomorrow.Making it naturally appear that the educational system is simply certificate driven as against expertise driven so graduates churned out could possess the tendency to derail society tomorrow except the inherent value system in them comes to bear. In a world that is need driven, it is most likely he who the cap fits in this regard to address these needs will rule the day.

9. Grave deficiencies… little successes.

The issues around entry into Universities including the infamous Post UME are already a challenge to many, worse is then when you enter and get thrown back home in the name of strike making a horrible situation hellish. The retrogression that follows the total neglect of objectivity and excellence by those who should guide a system is appalling.

10. ASUU strike, intellectual deficit and the transition to private more expensive universities

This becomes the case as parents struggle to find alternative education for their kids. The private universities, irrespective of capacity, get richer at the expense of the public ones on strike.

So you will therefore imagine that even when I could not initially comprehend his statement, I reasoned that his views may have some valid points within it and with that I refer to Hon. Patrick who said “This ASUU strike is a miasma of a deprecable apothesis of an hemorrhaging plutocracy, cascadinly oozing into a maladorous excresence of mobocracy. With all tarmangant ossifying proclivities of a kakistocracy, our knowledgia centura is enveloped in a paraphlegic crinkum crankum. Therefore, ASUU, cest in dejavu, dejavu peret ologomabia.”

Well, need I say more? Hon. Patrick’s words are as intriguing as the strike itself and so to decipher the meaning, one needs to sit down, dissect it, eliminate mundane and pick out the strategic terms and action to address root causes of problem that could define a lasting solution. Don’t we all agree that these same steps should be what ASUU and the FG should urgently take? I rest my case.


Mina Ogbanga is an ardent development activist with a strong passion for sustainable development in rural communities, institutional building and social performance.

A social entrepreneur par excellence, Mina has had over 20 years of development experience. A Post Graduate Alumni of Cambridge University UK, United Nations Training Institute, Alumni of Harvard Kennedy School Boston, US, LBS etc and a Doctoral Researcher in Nigeria,


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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