The feud between Federal government of Nigeria and The Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) forced students to spent Eight month from February to October at home.ASUU declared it 16th phase strike on 14th February 2022 due to failure of government to meet their demands. The organization has been embarking on strike since 1999 as a tool to call the attention of government towards them.
Emmanuel Osodeke, president of ASUU, while announcing the indefinite strike, said that none of the issues that forced the union to resume the suspended strike as listed in the December 2020 FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Action had been satisfactorily addressed by the government. The Education minister mentioned that ASUU rejected all offers proposed by the Federal government stating that it is inadequate to meet their respective demands needed to tackle the challenges confronting the university system.
On the other hand, students who are recognized as the top victims of strike have various views on how strike affects their life and academics performance positively and negatively. Amina Rabiu Bako, a student of mass communication Bayero University Kano believed that the strike period is an opportunity given to students to acquire entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. She mentioned that she had acquired more than forty certificates in the period of eight months through online classes. This also boosted her academic performance because she was given various assignments and presentations. “The strike period gave me the opportunity to learn new skills in calligraphy to avoid time wastage.
At first I wasn’t ready to resume when they called up because of bibliophobia but I overcome it by frequently reading my pamphlet time to time and I believe that It affected students academic performance because it’s very tough to read different lecture notes in a short period of time “ Aisha Muhammad Tijjani, Bayero university Kano, 400level commented. “I believe that whatever ASUU are doing is to protect public universities. I become a businessman and I have earned a lot. I believe that all students can do the same instead of wasting their time, energy and money on social media” Yusuf Adam, a student of Kano University of Science and Technology Undergraduate Students of public universities in Nigeria now mostly spend more than the actual years of study. A four years course will be extended to five or six years due to the disruption in academic activities. Some lose interest in study and doesn’t want to pursue good points anymore rather they just want to graduate peacefully. Many are showing “I don’t care” attitude towards schooling. They are neither happy nor sad about the whole issue.
Adam Aliyu, a student of Federal University Dutse stated that he doesn’t mind whatever decisions the FG and ASUU agreed on and he doesn’t take any side. He also said that he is no longer in a hurry to graduate as his business is sufficient for him. According to Hassan Ibrahim a student of Engineering at Bayero University Kano believed that the strike is doing more harm and good to students and if the strike persists and future actions are not averted, there is every possibility that more students will lose interest in higher education.
He added that the strike affected his academic performance but that doesn’t scared him anymore.
Many students however believed that the strike period has touched their lives both positively and negatively. speaking, Khadija Musa Ibrahim a final year student of Mass Communication said “The asuu strike had impacted both negatively and positively on me but i will want to start with the positive one. During the strike I became a volunteer staff at Abubakar rimi television where I did my SIWES. Alhamdulillah I got their coaching and guidance in the four months that I have been there. Also I became an entrepreneur during the period and I was able to grow my business in my physical space and on social media. I had all the time i needed to read novels and write my novels as well.
I had time to wrote poems and do my spoken words but on the other hand I started forgetting how to read for academic grades as even after this strike I am seriously trying hard to adapt to school activities i.e waking up and going to school in the morning or waking up on the sound of my night reading alarm to read because I have gotten used to my convenience.” The eight month period had been a productive period to many undergraduates. To some it was an opportunity for them to build their on ground businesses,some used the period to acquire entrepreneurial skills and started afresh while to some it was just a wastage of time and distraction. They are forced to stay indoor 24/7 either scrolling on social media platforms or watching films. Many students depend on their school allowance as their only source of income.
Engr. Tijjani Muhammad, a father of three undergraduate students mentioned how his children engaged fully in business and entrepreneurship and how they took care of their needs during the strike period.
“I have three children in Bayero University Kano; two are final year students. I was anguished by the decision of ASUU to embarked on a strike this year because my children will have to spend six years obtaining degrees instead of four years but I was glad when I see how they put their time into business and entrepreneurship. My daughters(final year students),one became a full time caterer, earned more than hundred thousand naira, got various certificates. The other one improved her calligraphy skills and earned through her business. They didn’t ask for any allowance during that period and I believe that after graduating they will be okay even if they couldn’t get a government job. Alhamdulillah that made me proud.”He said On the other hand, Alhaji Nura Auwal lamented the strike period. He mentioned how he saw his children doing nothing for eight month.
Umar tanko, final year student of Yusuf Maitama Sule University Kano said “I’m always at home doing nothing productive. I suffered within that eight month because there was a time that I don’t have a penny to spend on myself. I don’t have interest in entrepreneurship and I believe that after graduating I will find a job to secure my future. Even if I want to go into business, I will not get the capital to start. Therefore I depend on my studies.
Wether embarking on strike or not, entrepreneurship is every important for students in Nigeria. It will minimize the amount of joblessness and give rise to the country’s economic growth. The Federal Government of Nigeria announced that there are no jobs to offer to Nigerians after graduating. Even if they exists the country has no fund to give them salaries therefore students should study to gain knowledge not to pursue their dream jobs. The President of Nigeria, Muhammad Buhari mentioned during his interview with Tambari Tv Kano.
Fatima Muhammad Tijjani
Bayero University, Kano