How delighted I am to write you today cannot be expressed in words totally.
I write with the hope that this meets you well and communicates the plight of the average Nigerian student.
The November 2018 strike is about to extend to March 2019 as the Academic staff union of universities and the Federal Government are yet to reach an agreement or have refused to reach an agreement probably because one of the parties has refused to yield to the demand of the other.
It is true that many students like me may not understand the reasons for the unending strike actions we have to encounter as students of public tertiary institutions but we do understand the psychological effect it has on us directly.
We will also love to agree with the union that the strike is in our favour, but how do you explicitly explain this to my mates and I as we watch our counterparts in private universities go about their academic activities uninterrupted and graduate as and when due.
I have been told several times that in other parts of the world, public universities are better than private universities, although I haven’t visited any country aside Nigeria (my beloved fatherland ), I’ll be forced to believe so as tertiary institutions in Europe rarely embark on incessant strikes like it is the norm here.
Our hopes have been raised and shattered over and over again by the numerous unyielding meetings and negotiations between the Federal government and the union.
The last meeting held on Monday, 21st of January, 2019 gave so much hope to me and many other students who are affected by the strike after we read about the instruction given the labour minister Mr Chris Ngige by the President to make sure all issues that have kept us away from school are resolved. But little did we know that the meeting would end like others.
We are getting to the point of depression and are about to give up on our education system, our plans are altered; how we are faring appears not be put into consideration.
THE PAIN STUDENTS WILL GO THROUGH WHEN THE STRIKE IS CALLED OFF
Sir, you may or may not be aware that when the strike is called off all students will be made to jump hurdles which they are unprepared for; we will be put on ‘fire brigade’ mode; we will have to cover a four-month course in one month.
Has the union thought about how much stress this will cause our brains, our mental health and the financial implication on our parents, who will not be given enough time to be able to provide the money needed in school?
What about students in their final year who have a lot of school work to do, ranging from assignments and research work to project writing amongst others? Don’t you agree that the strike should be called off for the sake of these ones.
The Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) has forms on sale for the next Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) whereas the newly admitted students in various universities are yet to begin registration or lectures, how will they cope as newbies in the system? Will these groups also get involved in the ‘fire brigade’ service.
In all, I may not have spoken the minds of all public university students, I have communicated the feelings of most. We plead that as a father you hearken to the cries of your children and see reasons to find a common ground with Federal Government and put an end to the strike.
Okafor Chiamaka Favour, a student journalist at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.