Opinion: An open letter to ASUU – Call off this strike!

Fagge, it is not wise, humanly speaking to subject other people’s
children to untold and unnecessary sufferings and hardship, simply
because your own children are… outside the country enjoying themselves
while claiming to be attending universities.

 After spending almost 2 whole months at home (60 days to be
precise),doing nothing academically positive to my bright future,I am
beginning to feel like a wasted vessel in my parent’s house
already.After spending a considerable number of years at home before
gaining my admission into one of Nigeria’s first generation universities
(3 years to be precise), I am left wallowing in some sort of dirty
pit,dug by this unrepentant group called ASUU for the Federal Government
of Nigeria which has also caught millions of helpless Nigerian students
like me in the midst of a ceaseless gun-fire that has now made ASUU a
re-occurring prayer point in every student’s mind and mouth.

Judging from previous experiences on past strike actions emanating
from the camp of ASUU,senior contemporaries,mostly graduates and
students in their finals say this strike would last the length of its
word, which from its inception was said to be lasting 100 days.But to
what benefit is this to us the suffering students who are languishing
and wasting away at home at the mercy of every unwanted sympathizer who
comes by visiting.Since the inception of this unending strike,I have
been forced to abandon my books and stay glued to the internet, watching
out for any news on ASUU and their negotiations with the Federal
Government.I stumbled upon this article very recently,and it has even
heightened my fear on how much longer we are going to spend at home.I’ll
share just some parts of this article to drive home my point.

This is an excerpt of the content of a letter written by Dr Nasir Isa
Fagge (Chairman of ASSU) to the Head of National Economic Empowerment
Development Strategy, NEEDs Assessment, and Benue State Governor,
Gabriel Suswam, after the release of N100 billion for infrastructural
development in various universities across the nation, and N30 billion
for the overdue lecturers salary and allowances.It reads thus:

“We observe that the Committee is so far mentioning only N100billion.
If the implementation is to be related to the funding requirements in
the 2009 ASUU/FG agreement and the January 2012 MoU, what is due 2012
and 2013 is N500 billion not N100 billion. Only the provision of this
sum will meet the immediate needs of the universities. “Our Union is
very apprehensive of the manner in which the sources of the initial N100
billion to be used for the stimulation of the process are shrouded in
secrecy. We believe that monies that belong to the universities should
not be blocked and recycled. This will not only be counter-productive,
but will brew even deeper crises in the system. ASUU will not accept

The letter goes forward to talk about the manner at which these
contracts must be awarded,and how the execution of these contracts must
be handled.But with all due respect sir (Dr. Nasir Fagge), what is my
business or probably yours with who gets these contracts and who does
not? or is that what you were appointed,elected or selected to oversee? I
for one do not find it funny that I am at home, languishing for nothing
and wasting away my intellectual abilities simply because I am in a
Federal Government/ASUU controlled university, when my mates with whom I
got admitted together, and are in Private Universities are already
moving into another session, and I am yet to start the second semester
of my First year.

Dr. Fagge, it is not wise, humanly speaking to subject other people’s
children to untold and unnecessary sufferings and hardship, simply
because your own children are either through with their education or if
they are still in school, are somewhere outside the country enjoying
themselves while claiming to be attending universities. As a victim of
this inhumane act being perpetrated by you and your colleagues, I must
be very blunt and point-blank with my attack on you sir. What is it to
us that the Federal Government has refused to disburse the full monies
required for the building, renovating and maintenance of hostels,
laboratories, lecture rooms and theatres? At the present moment, most of
these schools have adequate number of these facilities in their
possession. Even for those who do not have it all, they must be reminded
that you can’t have all you need to be successful all at once. Even the
Great Wall of China was not built in a day. We must be content with
what we have, and only strive to improve it as the days go by.

Planning to extend the strike because the N500 billion you requested
wasn’t fully released to you is totally and absolutely wrong, and is
very unacceptable to us as Nigerian students.The plans for this money
may seem laudable, but for God’s sakes, can’t we make do of what we have
now and forge ahead till more is made available for us to use? Millions
of Nigerian students nationwide have all been sitting glued to screens,
televisions, mobile phones, laptops, iPads, and various forms of
screens at odd hours of the day, just to hear that the strike has been
called off. It’s very unfair on ASUU to decide our future for us, and
decide it in the manner in which they have done. We are the leaders of
tomorrow, and we must shape that tomorrow today by being the best we can
be at our books.

As of now, while I am writing this letter,my senior colleagues in the
Law departments and Medical departments in Federal Universities are
stranded, while their mates are getting ready for Law School and Medical
School respectively. Using this biblical allusion, ”What shall it
profit ASUU if it receives the full allocation it is promised, and lose
the futures put in its care at the end of the day? To me, the building
of Category 1, Category 2,Category 3, bedspaces and more is an
uneconomical waste of useful resources. Why not invest a larger chunk of
this monies into what will ultimately make the future of my generation.
Someone once said, “The future of yesterday is today,and that of
tomorrow starts from now. Build the Future you want to see tomorrow
today, and when that future comes,you will not be regretful of it.

In conclusion to this letter of mine, I need to point out to those at
the helm of Affairs in ASUU that the immediate effect of this strike
action is on the image of the various universities whose academic
calenders have been brutally altered by two months already. And like the
elders would say “In a disagreement between two people, it is the wise
one that usually backs out for peace to reign in the land”. I know that
I’ll be writing the minds of millions of Nigerian Students, when I ask
you to please consider us and call off this strike action. For the sakes
of our futures hanging in the balances in your hands, PLEASE CALL OFF

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