by: Jonathan Ukor
Fellow Nigerian students, as soon as you read this, it is not too late to consider a career path that does not require a university degree. You may decide to venture into the “crowd-pleaser” business, either as a motivational speaker, a pastor, or an entertainer. I hear these people are racking in millions of naira with each cheers and each Amens. Or even better, you may merge all three and become another version of the liquid metal, “the Indaboski Bahose”. Whatever you decide, understand that waiting for the FGN or ASUU is waiting for Godot.
And if you are indecisive, a more studious decision would be to read up the volumes of all your course work. Comrade, you can do that, right?! Here are a few reasons why waiting for the FGN or ASUU is importantly-irrelevant:
(I) Nigerian lecturers need a break
If you closely observed your lecturers and the intensity of last semester’s assignments and exams, you don’t need an oracle to reveal the burden upon them. This burden may be physical, spiritual, (or intellectual). The only way they can vent their frustration is to douse students in assignments, back-to-back hits. Quiz questions such as: “Critically analyse the value of education in a political system that devalues PhD holders and elevates O’level holders” and “Estimate the net worth in naira if the whole of Nigeria is sold to China” are more of psychological breakdown than academic teasers. Don’t blame your professors, though. Don’t blame ASUU either.
(II) The IPPIS scheme is innocently fraudulent
The FGN were ill-informed. They thought our professors only cared for shelfing best-selling books in their personal libraries and Nobel prize-winning papers in their portfolio. They actually believed our lecturers had zero needs for money in their bank accounts. Who would have thought that lecturers have concerns for wealth? One would assume that, due to their passion for academic excellence and probitas-doctrina, the academia should not bother about salary increment — after all, the rewards for teachers are stored in heavenly mansions.
Being misinformed, the FGN innocently proposed the IPPIS scheme to appease our beloved immaterial lecturers. The FGN must have overestimated the ludicrousness of these seasoned and avid academia. However, “extant studies” reveal that the IPPIS is a monumental fraud. No wonder, ASUU in conjunction with her league of professors and strategists devised the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), (aka. Made-by-Nigeria fiscal scheme), to replace the IPPIS.
Realising their ingenuity, the FGN fear that education will drive Nigeria into bankruptcy, not corruption. They thus subjected UTAS to a number of integrity tests to certify if this home-made scheme is truly efficient. Despite positive results, the FGN chose to play the delay-tactics game. ASUU got tagged and is eager to play too.
(III) Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, …
In these series of strike actions, neither the FGN nor ASUU is the villian. They both want what is best for us, the Nigerian students. Right?! Since neither is culpable, the FGN has recently announced an inauguration ceremony of the Re-negotiation Committee to try to address the current strike issues.
It has become a pattern in Nigeria, in that there is always a negotiation to support the previous negotiations, followed by another negotiation to counter the re-negotiation, and a re-negotiation to test the efficacy of future negotiations. Until the FGN can successfully outsmart ASUU in one of these many (re)negotiations, there is no telling of the end of these sporadic strikes.
The negotiation meetings and ad-hoc committees are becoming very exhausting (lucrative, I mean). It is now difficult to explain the functions of the Minister of Labour and Employment from those of the Minister of Education. Does Mallam Dr Adamu Ngige really understand the joys and progressiveness of young people studying in Nigeria? Do the FGN really read the education situation in Nigeria, the way Nigerian students read for an 8AM exam? I wonder.
(IV) Leaders of today vs. Leaders of tomorrow
ASUU may have discovered that the leaders of tomorrow are those (we) studying in Nigeria, while the leaders of today are those studying abroad. Did you know (of course, you do), that since 1999 there have been more ASUU strikes in Nigeria than lightning strikes. Only in the years 2000, 2004, 2012, and 2014 – 2016, did ASUU not declare a nationwide strike. Even during the pandemic, there was an ASUU strike — like an endemic vibing with a pandemic. (Madd o!)
This dis-regard for education in Nigeria is factored by the fact that ASUU has tired out on educating the leaders of tomorrow. It is a futile effort, after all. Reports show that Nigerians have a strong drive to study abroad, as nearly 100,000 Nigerian students enrolled to study abroad in the year 2020 alone. This is brilliant — a strategy to japa for the duration of your study abroad and within that time you metamorphose from being a leader of tomorrow into a leader of today.
This satire is overstretched. Gleaning on these reasons, Nigerian students can bask in the hopes that the FGN and ASUU offer. The future is as bright as the Green-white-green flag.