ASUU Strike: An Annual Festival in Nigeria
By Aisha Oyetunji
I read a post on Twitter some days back, the young man was making a joke and so he wrote “a foreigner asked me what Asuu strike means and I told me it a yearly festival we hold here in Nigeria”
My first reaction was to laugh like any other person would, I found it very funny and hilarious but after a while, the message settled in and I realized that apart from it being a joke or “cruise” as we often refer to such statement, Asuu is undoubtedly a yearly festival which has done nothing but bring continuous setback to the value of the educational system in federal tertiary institutions.
I can’t remember the first time I heard of Asuu but then, even as a kid I knew the name was attached to unnecessary and endless strike actions from university lecturer, putting students out of class and academic business for weeks or even months at times, it all depends on how fast the federal government is ready to attend to the demands of this ever demanding group.
I’ve never given much thought to the emergence of this “yearly festival” probably because back then it had no effect whatsoever on me but haven gained admission in recent years, I can now admit to feeling the heat and pressure that comes with watching both the government and the body of “zealous” lecturers gamble with the future of young Nigerian student like myself.
Curiosity got the best of me and I took the time to investigate the statement “yearly festival” accorded to Asuu and the result lead me to believe that it isn’t far from the truth, infact it is the bitter truth.
My search on google revealed that Asuu has gone on strike in not less then sixteen times since the year 1999…. quiet shocking right?
The first strike action happened in the year 1999, then in the year 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 ( 3 days warning strike which ended up lasting a week), 2008 (march 26), 2009( June to October), 2010 (22 July till January 2011), 2011 (December), 2013 (lasted for 15 days), 2017( August 17), 2018 (November 4), 2020 ( from march, lasted for 9 months due to the covid 19 pandemic) and finally to the present, the year 2022 have seen no different in the alarming progression of this unfortunate festival.
This account it enough reason to worry and panic at the fatal collision we’re now heading at, what does the future hold for young Nigerians who wants to seek education and better their lives? is it safe to say the reoccurring Asuu strike has also contributed to the sorry state and decline in the serious pursuit of knowledge amongst the youth? could it be another reason for the increase in social vices? after all we have been told that an ideal man is the devil’s workshop.
Personally I feel so saddened by this sorry narratives, that the young population and future leaders are being denied one of the fundamental asset they need to to become accomplished in life, in this ugly situation we spend more years than requires to bag a degree, wasting both our time and youth instead of achieving other important things, we end up graduating university with “grey hairs” and “weak bones”.
I know I speak the mind of all Nigerian students, we have been victims of this festival for far to long with no hope for a sturdy change… still we can only hope, hope for the day when this ugly tradition would be abolished for good and we can finally learn without fear of when next the “festival” will be scheduled to occur, when next Asuu would go on another infamous strike.
Aisha Oyetunji writes from Wuye District, Abuja