Will Nigerian Students still Live in the Fantasy of Renewed Hope?

It was sacrosanct: Students would be back to school, one day -how and when were the questions that were left unanswered. The inklings the public got from the parties weren’t enough to take a stance;  however, people still did.  The ASUU apologists opined that Federal Government’s indifferent attitudes prolonged the strike while the sympathizers of the vulnerable students insisted that the strike had been going out of hand and the Union had been squandering the goodwill it had earned. Either way, the strike is gone. 
It is no longer news that the Academic Staff Union of Universities “conditionally suspended” its eight-month-old strike embarked upon on February 14 over improved funding for universities, review of salaries for lecturers, and dispute over the IPPIS, among other issues. There’s finally come the light at the end of the tunnel. Again, the Federal Government’s integrity is put to test- as it was in the 2009 agreement and Memorandum of Agreement of 2013-  and the nation is hoping it would stand the test of faith. 
While campuses are alive again with students, parents, and businessmen spiritualising the strike suspension with testimonies, it is expected that quality education come to stay; let no one makes any further agitation on the state of education. It is believed that the suspension, after eight months, has indeed brought the light the union had been waiting for. 
The Federal Government has proposed N470 billion for the revitalisation and salary enhancements in tertiary institutions for 2023. Education should come back to how it is supposed to be as against the status quo. The eight months is too long a period to go in vain. 
It’s worth reminding the Union that tertiary education cannot be funded alone by the government as it happens in most countries of the world. The individual institution should find means to cater for its need by advancing a new framework for funding the school. 
The economic situation of the country has passed the state where universities only heavily depend on subventions from the federal and state governments since it’s neither sustainable nor adequate. The annual budget for education has placed the request for an overhaul revitalization on a catch-22 situation.
On the part of the government, it is important to acknowledge the obvious fact that the Nigerian university system has a number of challenges that are begging for solutions and therefore set up committees to look into them. 
The avoidable 8-month strike wouldn’t have lingered up to that if the government had nipped it in the bud. The FG has ‘shattered' many dreams and the consequences shall be borne by no one than the helpless Nigerian students. 
In a bid to encourage education, the Federal government invited applications from suitably qualified students studying Education courses in Universities and Colleges of Education. This is in fulfilment of her promises during the commemoration of 2021 World Teachers' day. This is a welcome development that can extend to all students across all faculties and schools in higher Institutions of learning. 
There are other one thousand and one bright students who cannot afford the financial cost of schooling in other faculties. They should also be considered for the benefits. 
The uncertainty of the prospect of education is a major concern the Government should also look into. Nigerians are losing interest in education- not for being oblivious of its value but of the bleakness of the future.  Employment opportunities should be available while the restrictions of age on employment should be lifted. For those who are entrepreneurial inclined, financial shoulders should be provided for them to stand. This will revive the already-dead interest of an average Nigerian student.
The hope for education is expected to be rekindled. With this new ‘light' beaming, the hope for students in Nigeria is high. 
While we await a new government in a few months, the hope shouldn’t be shattered but rather be strengthened. Mr. Tinubu said his administration if elected, would review the education curriculum at all levels “to suit the emerging global best practices and current socio-economic realities.” Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential flag bearer of the people’s democratic party also promised that he plans a reform and massive investment in education. Peter Obi also assured that he would not play with Education if elected the next president of Nigeria in 2023. To whoever emerges, let him know that 15 percent of the annual budget is recommended for education in developing countries by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and its implementation is vital. 

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