Sir, many greetings to you. It is my estimation that this piece meets you in good health of mind and body.
As I take up my pen to write these letters, it is exactly half past 9pm by my wall clock hanging boldly against the wall at the tail corner of my apartment. All things being equal, I should have been sited on the first desk at the famous Lecture Theatre (6) in the academic area of my ‘school’ studying my books in between moments of chattering with my colleagues and senior colleagues; but since after the sad development of July 2nd, I am left with no option than burying my heads into the sea of Nigeria’s political drama in lieu of academic work.
My names are Nkannebe Raymond. A 400 level student of the “Prestigious” faculty of Law university of Maiduguri, Borno state. I know it is the melting pot of the Islamic insurgents but I am willing to return back to school any moment to continue my studies if the union you superintend, could tender justice with mercy, find reason with this undoubtedly failed government and return back to the classes.
Sir, as I write, Nigerian students are already totally overwhelmed and agitated over what has become an impasse between your union and the Federal government. Never has a year been faster. Only four days ago, the strike action entered its sixtieth day with the year hurrying to embrace the fast approaching yuletide season. Sir, the thought of this strike lasting into October alone, has led me and a great chunk of students out there, wanting to conclude that it will last into the next year but we do not want to wallow in that pool of pessimism and thus have remained optimistic that this standoff will be disentangled in time soon but hardly can that be, unless you and your colleagues are willing to shift grounds and hence the reason why I decided to use this medium to add to the ‘pool’ of letters of almost the same nature that has been corresponded to you in a plea to finding a quick and immediate end to the already frustrating strike.
Sir, at a time when students cannot wait to become graduates and contribute their own quota in building the Nigeria of our dream that has defied the efforts of our cult of ‘gerontocrates’, at a time when schools are gearing up to welcome their new intakes to flag off a new academic session, it is unfortunate that our citadels of learning have remained under lock and key and as a result, forestalling the whole dream. It is indeed a situation sordid enough to draw tears from the tear duct of even a ‘Hercules’ amongst us. As I write, my eyes are soaked up in tears waiting to pay allegiance to Newton’s law of gravity. Here am I hoping that I am able to round up this letter before this sheet is soaked up with this salty liquid begging to drop from my eyes.
I never intended using this medium to further play the blame game which I feel has been played more than enough across the online and print media. On the contrary, I have taken the troubles of this piece to let you understand somewhat further that sustainable progress doesn’t come to any sector in this current atmosphere of strife and rancor. If anything, it makes matters worse and doesn’t portray us in the positive light, outside the shores of this country.
I understand the federal government’s insensitivity to your plight and how much they have dilly-dallied with the concord you claim they ‘freely’ entered with you even though you were not at the helm of affairs then, way back in 2009. From my diminutive knowledge of the Law, it is a trite that: Pacta Sunt Servanda to the effect that agreements are meant to be kept but much to my quagmire, this government has either consciously or unconsciously, sworn to re-write the doctrine. But haven said that, while we chastise the government, I will crave your indulgence a bit by asking you to momentarily put yourselves in their shoes. When this much touted agreement was reached some 3years ago, little did we know that we shall be subsumed in an insecurity situation that will defy every bid at solving. The security situation has continued to eat deep into our pockets and at the same time preventing us from committing our resources to the critical sectors where they are needed most. It is an unfortunate situation which we have collectively been drowned into and together we can only romance with hope to get through it.
Therefore since we all know we are faced with a common problem, our demands it is expected naturally should not in any guise be emotional but must be geared towards the attainment of a peaceful compromise and not taking measures that will end up heating up an already boiling polity.
Sir, it is against this backdrop, that I urge you and your union to sheathe your swords as they have psychologically “killed” too many a Nigerian student by calling a NEC meeting to consider what the government has offered and finding a lasting solution to this strike. If only you can take this uncommon step, history and not hysteria will forever remember you in its good books and not listing your name in the annals of infamy.
130 billion is undoubtedly a fair bargain if truth is anything to go by them. Sir, statements such as: “ ASUU will not call off strike until all her demands are met” which has always come from your office, has an undertone of “greed” when construed at the widest stretch
Nothing has been achieved in an atmosphere where people are not willing to shift grounds. The same act by our second generation of leaders cost this nation 30 months of bloodletting which she still hasn’t gotten over even as I write. If there is any, I am always receptive to learning and will be honored to know, if you ever deem this letter worthy of a rejoinder.
This country belongs to all of us and if we must insist that the problem of every sector must be completely solved, then I am afraid we may down tools and the country will stop working to the detriment of you and I.
Poor as our educational standard might be today, I am not throwing in the towel as to its prospect of springing up tomorrow. That tomorrow, we will get to someday but obviously, not when the drivers of our economy are under lock and key. To think so, is to be drowned in illusion and living in a fool’s chalet.
These may be my words, but I am upbeat that I have spoken the heart of the average Nigerian student and too many of them share my sentiment.
Am sorry that this letter has refused to come to a grinding halt. If I continue to write, I may write until the tears start flowing. All that I crave for is that you use your good office to ‘drag’ your colleagues back to the negotiation table and not just that, but going there with a mind frame of bringing an end to this vendetta between your union and the FEDS. Our patient as students has been tried more than enough. How much more psychological trauma must we be made to condone?
Sir, consider the plight of that Nigerian student out there depreciating in his potentials. Consider the feelings of that young chap in the street who had just come out with flying colurs in the just released WASSCE result and bagging hopes to secure admission into the university. How about you consider that young student in Maiduguri who cannot wait to graduate froma town which has become a near deathtrap lest he broker his degree with his life. Consider the plight of our parents who cannot wait to have us back to schools. In fact, the scenarios are just endless.
Colin Powell was right when he said that, “Leadership is all about Solving Problems”. Without any prejudice to him albeit posthumously, I must add that Leaders who create more problems in a bid to solving a particular problem, are not and cannot be factored into the category of leaders in the real sense of the word. Civility has never stopped winning laurels. Need I say that this means will not be justified in the end?
I beseech thee sir!
The writer is a Law student, an academic Freelancer and a public affairs commentator. He is on twitter as @yung_silky