When the ASUU strike forced all institutions in Nigeria to shut down on Monday, 14th February 2022, some University students thought it would be a short one. They only grabbed a few clothes and items while heading back home. Little did they know that they were embarking on a very long vacation. Some students stayed back on campus hoping the strike will be called off anytime soon, I know of some students that picked just about 3 pieces of clothes. But, to their greatest surprise, eight whole months after the closure, the fate of resumption is still uncertain.
The industrial action by ASUU was suspended on October 14, 2022, upon the intervention of the leadership of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamala and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Amidst the strike, some have seized the opportunity to work or acquire new skills indoors and outdoors. Some have taken to eating all day in alliance with the street parlance: “We cannot come and kill ourselves!
A few weeks into the strike, Udochukwu Collins, an undergraduate of Biochemistry at Alex Ekwueme Federal University said he immediately started working and such offered him the opportunity to understand life beyond the classroom. “Okay talking about utilizing the ASUU strike on my own side I will say yes because I worked during the period and I get to understand what life will be like after graduation”.
Another student of the same institution and a student of mass communication, Amos Ugochinyere said she utilized the strike by learning digital skills “I learnt Event Management, Photography, Social media management, digital Marketing”
A lot of students have missed school and it is not all because of their studies. Studying, for some, is the last thing on the list of why they miss school. Yes, it happens.
“Indeed I have missed School, especially my Course mates’ of Mass communication 300 level, I have missed my hostel and school environment” a student recounted.
Some miss the environment, freedom, and activities that are solely identified with youths. No, I am not divulging what the latter is or I’ll be breaking the youth code.
According to a final-year student, Yakubu Adams at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife “What matters is that some of us desire to resume and graduate, we are tired of being stuck indoors”.
However, according to a popular idiom “As you make your bed, so you lie on it” which means you must accept the consequences of your action.
Just like other students are working to eke out a living, a final year student of Forestry at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture (MOUAU), Abia state, Oluomachi Nwoye, went into child-making, in preparation for motherhood. The report said she gave birth to a set of five babies at the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia. The quintuplets comprised two boys and three girls. One would ask how Oluomachi will be able to continue her University Education. The question is left unanswered as Schools reopen Monday, October 17.
In the same vein, Adeyemi Abiodun, a student of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), was jailed for one year over N195m fraud. According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said, Abiodun, a 200-level student of Economics and Development Studies, is the director of logistics, at the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), FUOYE chapter.
As university students scramble to go back to school, the following are what await them.
Outstanding House Rent /Due Rent
Regrettably, some of the students rented their apartments only a few months before the break, and ever since then, they have not stepped foot in that house. Yet, landlords and ladies expect rent renewal. They will then bear the cost of paying for an apartment they didn’t occupy for months
“My landlady has been disturbing me. In fact, I have been avoiding her calls. Not for any other reason but for the overdue house rent” a student at the University of Lagos laments.
Do not be shocked if that house rent is increased. I am to pre-inform you to go back to school with enough money to bear the cost. I am already imagining you begging your landlord/lady for more time to pay up… “This life no balance” according to campus parlance.
We all know that lecturers are not the same and they all have different principles.
Imagine a lecturer who never collected a salary for months now, and you want to mess around with him.
There are lecturers that will not allow you to enter the lecture room once he is already inside. Just in case you have forgotten the kind of principles your lecturers hold, study them again and comply accordingly. You don’t want to have a problem passing any course. Emmanuel Ucha from Nnamdi Azikiwe University even said the lack of studying your lecturer is the beginning of carryover; well I don’t know how true, you tell me.
Payment/Hike in School Fees
Don’t be surprised when you see some institutions increase their tuition fee thereby making it difficult for students to pay. Some institutions will even put pressure on students to pay their tuition fees before a stipulated deadline. Indeed, it might be easy for many students if there’s a hike in fees because during the strike many students were able to hustle. Neither did our parents benefit from government palliatives.
However, do not let a hike in school fees take you unawares. It is worrying, but it is what it is.
Cancellation of Semester/Combination of Academic Levels.
Many higher institutions were in their first semester before the strike; hence the closure not only interrupted teaching and learning, but it also coincided with a key assessment period as tests and exams in some of the institutions were put on hold.
Unfortunately, public universities have lost at least two semesters, leaving thousands of undergraduates unable to complete their degrees a year behind schedule.
Already, institutions like the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) have announced the combination of academic levels, thereby having a year on A and B.
Stakeholders noted that the close to 9-month closure occasioned by the ASUU strike has caused a major interruption in students’ learning, disruptions in academic programmes, cancellation of internal and international conferences, as well as the gap in teaching and learning.
Remembering your Books/Studies.
We all know that the primary assignment of every student is to take their studies seriously.
Arguably, many have not opened their book since they got home for the break.
Hope you can still recall where you stopped on each course. If not, it is time to refresh our memory so we can easily catch up with classes as school resumes.