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ASUU Strike: Losses And Frustrations Narrated by Students, Lecturers, Parents, And UTME Applicants

It has been months of unseen tears for Dele Ogunyemi, a final year student of a Federal University, Oye-Ekiti.


“Because of this current strike, I will not be able to serve this country (NYSC) because of my age.


“According to our university’s calendar, my set should sign out last April but ASUU messed us up,” Dele said.


He went further to explain to this reporter how his mental and psychological health has been affected due to the avoidable imbalance the industrial action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities has caused him.


Tertiary education has become an embarrassment to Nigeria because of the incessant strikes embarked upon by the Union of lecturers in Polytechnics and  Universities. Decades have passed and the strike has become a curse ravaging the educational system. In almost every academic session, the strike disrupts activities. 


This reporter looked as far back as 1999, the Fourth republic when Nigeria returned to civilian government and discovered that ASUU is currently on its 16th strike action.


Unfortunately, the cause of this phenomenon has majorly been underfunding of the public universities in the country. As a result of this brouhaha, several people are unemployed, uneducated and hopeless.


In this report, the voices of the major stakeholders were documented. 




Olivia Bernard, a 100-level student at the University of Calabar complained bitterly about how she has been stagnant. She said, “I don’t have much to say about the ASUU strike. But it’s really affecting me because of the setbacks. Imagine being in 100-level from 2020 to 2022, when others are planning graduation.”


Adedokun Abdul Qayyum Abolore, the spokesperson of Federal University OYE Ekiti Students’ Union Government said, “As far as I am pursuing my degree, it’s also important for me to plan ahead for my future. Imagine, I am in my last semester as an undergraduate and we embarked on strike. I was not supposed to be involved in this because I would have graduated already but it’s very unfortunate we meet ourselves here as students of a Government university. Should I talk about my house rent that is non-refundable or precious time being wasted and it’s this same country the age limit would be set for employment?”


“Students are tired of staying at home as we hope it won’t later degenerate into another form of #ENDSARS protest before the government will do the needful. We are frustrated and we want to go back to school but it saddens us that our educational sector is diminishing day by day.”




The State Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Olarewaju Olamide told this reporter: “[The] Incessant and lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities has not only put our lives on hold, [but] it has also dwindled our academic performances as a learning process which is meant to be continuous is suspended for a long period.”


“The effect of the strike is not limited to students alone, it also contributes to the low quality of education in the country, low output of lecturers, and insecurity as a result of the idleness of the students who are the largest percentage of the youth in the country. It is in no small measure contributing to the culture of insanity and depravity ranging in our society. Remember, an idle [mind] is the devil’s workshop while an idle mouth is his mouthpiece.”




The ‘Jambites’ who recently had their exams in May 2022,  bewailed the unsurety of when they will resume school and graduate.


David West, one of those who recently wrote JAMB examinations moans about how they do not know when their UTME set will receive admission.


He said, “Many students of this year’s JAMB won’t enter university this year because of the strike. Schools will have to meet up with everything they left behind, which will take like 2 to 3 months. So 2021 students will be given admission at the end of the year which means no admission for 2022 till next year.”


Ruth Tamara, a ‘jambite,’ also complained about spending years before gaining admission and spending years in the university too. 


“If the school (federal university) we applied to doesn’t resume, we are not going to school too. Everybody wants to move forward, no one wants to stay behind. All I want is for schools to resume so we UTME candidates can also move forward,” she said.




Parents of the students lamented about how the burden on them is suffocating them as their children are unable to become self-dependent. 


Mrs Yemisi Oladipupo, a widow expressed her sadness about how the strike has put an impasse on her children’s lives.


“Expenses, I have to strive to pay for the house rent and buy food for my children. I beg the FG and ASUU to negotiate and call off this strike so my children can go and complete their education.” 


“[The] Crime rate increases when these children are not in school. The two parties should meet and put an end to this evil phenomenon, the ASUU strike. This is evil in its nature,” she said.


Victor Folorunsho, a pastor in Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) and a parent, expressed his sadness over the industrial action.


“It is as if, this present government wants to destroy the lives of our children and they are the future of this country. They will rule this country later and there may be a probability of them being wicked because of the delay and discomfort the government has caused them.


“These students are seen roaming around on the streets. The majority of them are not doing something tangible. My son is supposed to be at NYSC Camp now but because of the strike, he’s at a standstill.


“This strike is affecting every parent because we all want our children to make progress. We expect these children to be independent by now. We should be reaping the fruits of our labour, not still struggling to pay house rents and other school-related bills.


“Teachers should be honoured, everybody passes through them in formal or informal settings. If we look at it critically, teachers should be paid the highest salary,” he concluded.


The clergyman also complained about how his children cannot compete with their counterparts in private institutions.


“If only I had the money, my children will go to private universities where there are stable calendars,” he lamented.




University lecturers are not exempted from the negative impact of the lingering strike as they are also at a standstill.


Mrs Anyalekenya, a Federal University, Oye-Ekiti lecturer spoke about how the industrial action has put her career in a stagnant position.


“It has turned my life upside down and placed it on ‘pause’ mode. I am in solidarity with fellow ASUU members but it is like I’m on an enforced vacation. I have gone into an academic limbo,” she said.


Dr Suraj Olunifesi, a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos also revealed how the strike affects lecturers emotionally and psychologically.


“Well, this ASUU strike is affecting me because I am not seeing my students which is my constituency. I am worried more about the students than myself because their lives are what we are talking about here. Time doesn’t wait for anybody, these students are supposed to be engaged in school, finish what they want to do (education) and move on in life.


“As a lecturer who is passionate about students, not seeing them makes me psychologically imbalanced. I feel like I am not doing what I am supposed to do which is mentoring the students. Even though, I have not been paid for four months. ASUU strike affects me more psychologically than financially. The joy of seeing and lecturing students is important to me,” he said.




This reporter went to the location of the schools. The people involved in providing products and services complained bitterly about how the economy of the town has suffered greatly because the students are the major buyers of their products.  


In Oye-Ekiti, the town in which a Federal university is located in Ekiti State. 


“We miss students o. Sales have been so low. I pray the students come back soon,” Mrs Dada, a fish seller said.

Transporters, service providers, traders and residents complained bitterly about the impact of the ASUU strike on the economy of the town.

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