The current escapade walking its way around the University is too salient to be ignored. For two weeks running, school activities have been on the go-slow lane due to the lockdown showdown in the school, and the students have been on the receiving end. It is very similar to the age-old folklore of the tussle between two heavyweight elephants. Even though the earth’s grasses are not combatants, they suffer the most injuries. In this, the students’ community have swallowed the larger chunk of the bitter pills the industrial action of SSANU, NASU and NAAT has produced.
The effects of strike on students are without a count. Some days ago, water and light were commodities in rarity in Halls of residence. It was due to this that residents of some Halls bemoaned the pitiful condition the strike has landed on their laps. Aside the inconveniences water drought and blackout have caused, it has a long-term effect on the performance of students. At the time students should be reading, the only source of light they could muster is perhaps the late night moon. Sad. Not only this. Early morning lectures many a time have been truncated due to students’ inability to take their baths, brush their teeth, cook, wash and do other basic daily chores.
The countless backlash of strike has further walked its way into affecting students’ academic journey. Some students wanting to cross to other departments are currently stucked. The Computing Unit beside Department of Computer Science has reportedly continuously advised students who wish to cross to check back. According to them, a memo is being expected from the Senate. In this midst of this, students have been thrown into confusion as to where to go – is to remain in their department or keep up the hope of crossing. Five weeks into the new semester! Registration of course too has been affected.
Moving on, the school itself has lost a great deal. Its Internally Generated Revenue gauge would have been affected. The activities of the University Health Centre, Jaja as it is fondly called, too, have been affected. Many more effects sit unnoticed. This goes to show that the warring parties’ actions are doing more harm than good. In fact, they are doing no good at all. And like Winston Churchill affirmed, “wars are mainly a catalogue of blunders”, we need to sit round the table and find a lasting solution to this recurrent quagmire loosely called strike.
In the light of this, this editorial is therefore prescribing that the school management should rally round the table and answer the calls of NASU, SSANU and NAAT. According to the interview we had with the secretary of SSANU, Abiodun Omisore, the Unions are not yielding to the temptations to call off the strike unless they have information on the IGR generated by the school. “In other federal schools suffering from the same plight as slash of salaries, the IGR generated by these schools are used to finance workers payment,” he said. We urge the school to not only make this public to the Unions but also the students’ community. And its release should be publicized periodically to monitor progress financially and foster transparency holistically.
Also, the Unions need to devise some new means of venting their anger. Industrial actions have over the years lost its potency. And as they say, when the music change, the dance have to change. So, if Unions must hold their own in issues of this nature, they too must up their game, and not hold strike as the only functioning weapon in their arsenal.
From the foregoing, rather than going on strike due to mismanagement in the hands of academic shenanigans, Unions should actively participate in academic leadership. A ratio of two Union members to thirty, as said in the interview with the Secretary to SSANU, Abiodun Omisore, is appalling. Staff Unions should encourage and support their members to have them being represented at the top. In ministries, educational agencies and parastatal, school managerial positions, Staff Union members need to dominate in order to stand a chance of striking out incessant strike on the page of their continuous existence.
In addition, the existence of education as a mainstay of every nation remains a true-for-all statement. For this, educational framework need be revisited to crumble the blocs of bottle necks in the sector; as well as inclusion of emoluments and grants to the sector. On this, the government at all tiers need to lend their ears.
In all, the call of the Staff Unions still breathes life and sense. To request the amount generated from the school’s IGR is not too much. It is simply to foster transparency and clarity in the academic comity. After all, the gown, if not in totality, should be a prototype for the town’s sanity. So, education needs to be liberated from the grips of political and academic miscreants, and its reins should be handed over to pros.