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Saturday, May 25, 2024

ASUU Strike: 57 Days And Counting!!!

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Ogunjimi James Taiwo

“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The unlearned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists” – Eric Hoffer

Today marks the 57th day since our higher institutions got closeddown. Today marks the 57th day since the incompetency and nonchalant attitude of our leaders threw a clog in the wheel of our academic progress. Today marks the 57th day of a major battle between two elephants, and as expected; the grass is suffering.

Since our leaders have decided that they would rather fill their pockets than spend for our education, I think it’s high time we started telling ourselves the truth. Since our leaders have decided that spending taxpayers’ money on watering presidential villa’s flowers is more important than spending on improving the quality of education in this country, I think we should start asking some important questions and start DEMANDING urgent answers.

Do our leaders see us as the leaders of tomorrow? Do our leaders care about this country? Do they care about the future of this country? Do they even know that some people have families who are waiting for them to graduate? Can they see the decline in our educational sector? Would they rather spend money on frivolities than on moulding the future of tomorrow’s leaders? How many of them have their children in our schools? Maybe that’s where the problem is.

I can’t think of any reason why these government people would be so determined to bite the fingers that fed them. Most of them passed through the university, studied free of charge,so I can’t understand why they can’t give back to a system that made them who they are. And to think that the incumbent president was once a lecturer, I dare to say he is a disgrace to the academic world.

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When a government sees no problem with paying a councillor whose highest qualification is probably a Pry 6 certificate huge amount of money, [and his wife gets paid too],yet the same government thinks N18,000 minimum wage is too much to pay to people who have degrees, then we know there is a problem. When a president spends huge chunks of taxpayers’ money on feeding rather than improving our educational sector, then danger looms. When government sees nothing wrong in seeing thousands of youths on the streets; jobless and homeless,then the government needs to be called to order.

Maybe the problem lies with us. Maybe we are the problem. How? It’s simple; we’ve been too compliant. We’ve stuck too much to the rules. We’ve kept quiet in the face of injustice. We’ve left other people to fight our battles. We’ve sold ourselves out. But. . . . . .there is opportunity to right our wrongs.

Seneca said, “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” We may have allowed the government to make fools of us in the past, but we have opportunity to set things straight.

We need to speak with one voice.The era of sitting at home and waiting to hear news of strike being called-off is over; it’s time to get out and occupy the streets to show our dissatisfaction with government’s nonchalant attitude to our education. If we all sit at home and keep quiet, they’ll think we are probably enjoying the ‘holiday’, but if we troop out enmasse to register our displeasure, it’ll send a strong message to them that we aren’t taking nonsense anymore.

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We are fed up with sitting in a lecture theatre without the necessary conveniences. We are tired of having to pay huge amount of school fees and yet be cramped in an uncomfortable lecture room. We are tired of hearing that our lecturers haven’tbeen paid their salaries. We are tired of writing examinations on our feet. We are tired of spending 7 years for a 4-year course. We want a change. WE DEMAND FOR A CHANGE.

If we are to get the desired change, we can’t sit down idly; we need to speak up. We are not unaware that the voices that should speak up for us have probably been choked with cash. But the good thing is that they didn’t send you to the higher institution. They didn’t pay your fees. They won’t live your life for you; let’s rise up and say NO.

Remember the words of Felix Rohatyn, “The choice is between doing something and doing nothing, and doing nothing never gets you anywhere.”

Com James Ogunjimi CDHR Coordinator, Olabisi Onabanjo University Unit. hullerj@yahoo.com 08134319591

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