[Opinion] Bringing The Ongoing ASUU Strike To An End; The Indispensable Role Of Nigerian Students

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Raymond Nkannebe
Nkannebe Raymond is a Lawyer and an essayist with addictive interest in Nigerian and African politics. Believing in the power of the pen, he intends to contribute to governance through articles and commentaries that serve to keep government on their foot. He hopes to publish a collection of his essays soon, and possibly delve into legal fiction as God permits him.

It is now so glaring that the lingering ASUU strike has refused for reasons one cannot comprehend, to abate. The more we cast our hopes to a lasting solution in the shortest time, the more the problem continue to deteriorate and even more saddening, the more our future continue to fritter away at the hands of those whose generation are no doubt far better than ours.

Sequel to the foregoing, our gentility and civility has been tried more than enough. Despite having allowed both government and the leadership of ASUU to find a common ground and resolve the dispute between them, yet it seems its either the leadership of ASUU are bent on holding the nation to ransom using the destiny of students as a bargaining power or, that the government have sworn to deprive us of our fundamental right-Education for reasons, we cannot fathom.

But are we going to allow these people, to steal into our future? Should we continue to fold our hands and watch like morons while the fools who parade themselves as our leaders continue to do injury to our today and our unknown tomorrow? Are we not already tired of being the turf on which this macabre dance between the Government and ASUU is held? What was our sin, other than that by the accident of providence we were born into this part of the world? Isn’t the future ours? Why then has the government refused to make it a better one for us? Can they compare our university days to their own? Were they not home to the best learning environment and academic condition? Why have they chosen to deny us of having just a little of what they had in their own days? Is it not a case of sheer wickedness?

But in all of it, what have we done? Have we shown any commitment on our part? We call ourselves “Great Nigerian Students”. Do we even know what greatness is about? If we do, how have we shown by our actions that indeed we are great? True some of us have tried in one way or the other to show that we are pained and short changed, but many of us have thrown in the towel and have allowed despots to lay claims to the most important tool of our civilization-Education and we have unconsciously done so, by our inactions and omissions. Having said that, are we also going to allow them to get away with this latest crime? No, we must do something. We must rise and allow these scales to be sequestered from our eyes. If a spell has been cast on us, we must stand up and denounce whoever may have been responsible for that.

What happened to the revered spirit of ALUTA? Where is our umbrella body NANS? Where are our diverse student union leaders in the various state and federal campuses? Perhaps they have gone cold like black coals in the harmattan. What happened to their voices? And for the few who have been able to come out clean with their voices, how have we helped them to shout even louder? These are serious questions begging for serious answers. If the strike has lingered this far, I am beginning to believe that it is because we have allowed it to. Why and how You may ask? – By our inactions and refusal to stand up and reclaim what is ours.

Only a week ago, a student was deported in France; those of us who followed the story know what became of the entire nation. The students in their numbers almost brought that country to a halt and drew the attention of the world. That is what students are renowned for. Little Yousafzei Malala, the Pakistani girl, fought for the right of the girl child to education in Pakistan. All we do is read about them and block our head to learn a thing or two from their bravery or even repeat the feat here. No. we so much love our lives. We fear the men in uniform more than we fear God. We are more interested in things so mundane and have in that process lost everything we stand for and have been taken for toothless baboons. We sulk I must say and I am sorry to say that.

Shall we allow this madness to continue? It seems many of us still don’t know that in the current world, it is only in Nigeria that students will be shut out of schools for four whopping months and that society or that nation continues to work. It’s leaders continue to live as though, fortune has rather smiled on the nation. It is only here in Nigeria that we talk but always lacking in the will to walk our talk. The little time when our spirit is willing, our love for the flesh makes our body weak like people who have just ran a marathon. If we continue in this way, our future will be the darkest in the history of this nation. But no, we must do something. What then?

I enjoin each and every one of us to join the ASUU PROTESTS across the social media especially on face book and on twitter. Many of us are available on that space and for those who aren’t, we can always tell them verbally. We need to gather all the momentum we need across this medium before we go out to the streets and be heard. We have remained silent for too long enough that I wouldn’t blame anyone who takes our silence for stupidity. Our population is monstrous. Our target is a one million student’s march on a date to be communicated the moment our numbers reach our estimated height. Our vehicle is the Social Media. It is a tool with which we can utilize to change our society; little wonder many have said that it may yet change Africa. True we lack access to the old media moreover; our target audience is barely represented there.

We shall be assigning leaders across all the states of the federation to direct the forthcoming National March. We are not out to disrupt the public peace or do violence to anybody or organization. On the contrary, we just want to be heard loud and clear saying and chanting, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”. This is not the time to give in to fears and despondency. We are on a struggle to re-claim and restore our relevance and also be factored into the equation of this comatose of a nation. I am ready to do it; I am ready to put my life on the line for this cause. I am ready to take that bullet but the greater question is: when I am gone, will you have the nerve and the onions to pick up from where we have stopped and continue with the struggle? That is the biggest question. There is no struggle without tears and that feeling of giving up, so ours will not and cannot be an exception but winners are those who never allow themselves to be drowned by their inner voices. We must not be trapped by any dogma.

The official twitter handle is @Asuuprotests and the hash tag is ₦ASUUPROTESTS. Let us get on the train and from there organize ourselves and chart out our winning formation. There is no gain saying the fact that our National or umbrella body-NANS have sold their mandate and have eaten the biblical Esau porridge but we must let them know that it is our interest they represent and their mandate comes from our individual votes and when they cease to be our representatives for parochial gains, we must show them that it is in our hands that their legitimacy lies and not some sort of natural, imprescriptible or inalienable rights conferred on them by Nature.

Our target and goal is to re-claim back our education from those who are bent of taking it away from us in the brightness of the sun. If we were once blind, we are no longer blind. And if we are no longer blind, then we must act like a people who still have the pristine advantage of their eyes. Join me as we take on this struggle and how great is our distress and the burden that lies ahead of us, until it is over.

Nkannebe Raymond is a writer and a Law student in the University of Maiduguri. He shares some of his thoughts on twitter via @yung_silky

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6 COMMENTS

  1. When the going gets tough, only the tough ones can get going.
    The road is already tougher than what we think but i am ready in spirit, soul and body, and if i perish, i perish.. Lets make it work. ALUTA CONTINUA VICTORIA ACERTA

  2. We must all come together as one and have the same voice on this singular issue of strike in our nation. We are tired of staying at home.
    Go back to the classroom…
    you lecturers….

  3. This is d best time to end d wickedness of our leaders, they are so bent on destroying d future of Nigerians, let get d fixed date for d struggle to start, pls NANS must not be part of dis, we must re-open our institutions in dis October, d future is now.

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