Essay from Ayokunle Adeleye

In Defense of the ASUU STRIKE.

Resolved: ASUU strikes are utterly ineffective, totally uncalled for,
profoundly senseless, and the students are always the only victims.

Defense: It is no news that the Academic Staff Union of Universities
(ASUU) had, for the past three years, embarked on shorter warning
strikes over the non-implementation of its Agreement with the Federal
Goverment (FG) with the general public- and market women- haplessly
looking on and seemingly enjoying the show; after all, silence means
consent. Finally, the perpetual stimulus has reached threshold
potential and the whole nation runs amok over a long-foreseen and
imminent tetanic contraction. Abaa!

Where was the Senate during those calmer, but innoculating, times when
ASUU yelled and none responded. Wasn’t this the same Senate that would
rather cut off our petroleum product subsidy than starve their obese
allowances? Now that ASUU has thrown away its hearing aid we blame her
for a deafness we all share(d), a deafness we stubbornly refused to
acknowledge before now. Did we not know that following prior
innoculation, the (immune) response tended to be faster, stronger and
of longer duration? Did we think all was well with our ailing
varsities and the half-baked, hardly employable, products they churned
out- overcrowded and antiquated ovens that they have become?

Alas! It is now that we realise that the guillotine is not the cure
for the hailing head. The FG can spend N350m to renovate a residence
(of the permanent representative to the UN, we are told) but our
universities can rot for all they care! And ASUU must not go on
industrial action? Then who will?- and what will?

If U don’t want strike then what do U want? Silence? Mona Lisa
attitude: sad and smiling; suffering and smiling? That we Nigerians
have been known for the world over- and for a long time now? Dialogue?
Who, in their right minds, would dialogue with a blind government-
blinded to and by corruption in unthinkable quarters and to
unspeakable depths? Or why would an elected official hide behind
bullet-proof doors if not to hide his/her stench from the malnourished
polity s/he has lived off, an undying parasite that s/he is? And why
would a governor deny his own country, his own people, legal import
duty on the wealth he extracted from us anyway? And now that he
perceives we’re wasteland we must not benefit from his huge purchase-
nor must our professionals be employed on it. Greed. Greed. Greed. And
greed! But the river that forgets its source shall soon dry.

Alas, in Nigeria, your rights are not pre-ordained; you fight till you
are reckoned with. That’s the Nigeria we’ve come to see. (A Nigeria
where 16 trumps 19 in a majority vote. Where Governors enjoying
constitutional immunity cannot meet peacefully without invasive Police
interruption in their lodges. Where ordinary Nigerians cannot assemble
to protest unfavourable FG policies- and inactions on corrupt
purchases- without pervasive military occupation in our streets.)

So, if ASUU hadn’t gone on this strike would the Almighty Bros J- the
other, human, J- meet with them for 13 hours? If U think that’s a Yes,
why then did it take him 4 whole months? Not to be missed is the
fire-brigade approach- typical of Nigeria, alas not only in Sports-: a
lingering, festering, 4-month-old strike was to be called off in the
twinkling of an eye when the Paramount Ruler would not bat his eyelid
for 123 days- just because he has finally said so!

Nigeria we hail thee…

Oh, and to say that all students are the victim(s) of this strike will
be to commit the famous Fallacy of Composition: Alas, not all students
are jobless- and joblessly roaming about the streets- some of us have
actually taken this time-out to try our hands in some business or the
other, learn a trade, or practise our calling and sharpen our skills.
Life is tough, life is a competition; and strikes are just one of
those volcanic eruptions by which the strong and sturdy are separated
from the weak and feeble!

Perhaps another are those election violence we have to be part of
because our (literal) grandfathers still wallow in politics and will
not just dive in and be meals for the fish. They’d rather we wear life
vests- riddled with the holes of their mischief- and dive in to save
their sinking, stinking, political careers. So they can be President
or Governors, and Senators, and Honourables at all cost- human lives
not exempted!

Everything aforesaid is in my opinion, as is this: Anyone older than
the country Nigeria has no business whatsoever ruling in whatever
capacity. We’ve had enough of you; you’ve overstayed your (stolen)
welcome. An actor leaves the stage when the ovation is loudest, to
stay a second longer is for, in the words of the immortal Tai Solarin
which I will undoubtedly jumble up, the housefly to meet the toileting
bushman yet toileting. Ẹ lọ sẹ́mpẹ́. Una don try. Au revoir!

Ayokunle Adeleye. Undergraduate. Ogun State.