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Lingering ASUU Strike: Students Narrate Ordeal, Express Optimism

The prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has paved way for some University students who have been forced to stay home for about four months. 

However, from the sublime to the ridiculous, the idle students have engaged in various activities to while away the time. They are engaged in learning a trade and investing in projects.

Some of the interviewed students bared their minds on the current situation and their next course of action. While some have decided on what to do, others are contemplating learning a trade.

 

A cross-section of the students, who spoke, indicated that they are making ground-breaking advances in their various fields to keep themselves busy and add value to their lives while waiting for their universities to call off the strike.  

 

Sunday Awosoro, a 300-level student from the department of English Language Education, Federal University Oye Ekiti, FUOYE, said the ASUU strike has been productive for him because he has made significant progress in his career since the strike began. Sunday said, “As a journalist, I work as a student fact-checker with DUBAWA, an independent fact-checking platform focused on fighting online misinformation and verifying viral claims on digital platforms in West Africa.

 

“During this period, I got selected as a part of the 50 young journalists worldwide to attend this year’s Future News Worldwide (FNW) Digital Conference. This came by after a globally competitive, strict application process.” 

 

One of the students, Alagbe Emmanuel of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Federal University of Agriculture, Ogun State, explained that he has been able to launch an online catering restaurant despite the strike. 

 

“During this strike, I made my online restaurant a full-time one, and it has really helped out. This strike gave me the opportunity to do what I love most. I have the time to be more resourceful and not idle. 

 

“Even though the turn out has not been much among many other challenges but I’ve always believed that it’s just a starting point for me because I have always believed that I can achieve much success with dedication and hard work. Truly, there is dignity in labour. I am now the CEO of Emexchops,” Emmanuel said.

 

Another student, Osunko Emmanuel, a final year student of Medicine and Surgery, Abia State University, said he fully utilised this period by getting involved in a writing project and also enhancing his writing skills. Emmanuel said, “I am participating in an ongoing writing contest, the Naitalk essay writing contest, which demands that every writer participating should talk about the continent, Africa. I hope to win a couple of competitions before this month runs out.

 

He added, “I have been on a couple of medical outreaches, getting to meet people, and tell them what they need to do in order to always stay healthy and refreshed.”

 

Abiodun Joshua of the Faculty of School of Health Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, explained that he has been doing much, mainly self-discovery and development. Abiodun said, “I read books during this period. I work as a Manager/Cashier at a sports centre. I am a digital marketer and a Graphics Designer. 

 

“I have been involved in a program, an 8-week program. The program is all about being trained on being a virtual assistant.”

 

Patrick Owolabi, a 200-Level student of the Department of Philosophy, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, said that the strike has been effective for him because he has been able to attend different seminars. 

 

“The ASUU tragedy of error has been a blessing in disguise for me. I have been able to attend different seminars or events that helped me in terms of growing, thinking, and connections.

 

“Personally, I have achieved a lot of things, including getting into some business that can help me financially once we resume. It has been a season of breakthrough for me.” Patrick said.

 

Abolaji Damilola, a student of Ekiti State University, EKSU, asserted that she is now learning cake and decoration in Ekiti. 

 

“With that, I can be qualified for baking and pastry certificate and degree programs which often include classes in cake decorating. 

 

“During this period, I render services to my friends who are celebrating their birthday. They pay for the cake I bake. I am profiting from it. At the end of this course, I will be able to stand on my own. Indeed, my time is not wasted but fully utilised.”

 

A Medical Science student at the University of Ibadan noted that he has been able to engage himself by trying new things during this strike. 

 

“I am learning a new language. I am taking French as a course in school, so I decided to learn it as a language. During this period, I learned how to code. I started learning basic web development skills. Currently, I am still learning Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

 

“I’m learning graphic design. I registered for a graphics design course last year, but I was unable to complete it because of some issues. But now, I have resumed learning.” Tolani said.

 

Ibrahim Aliyu of the Faculty of Education in Umaru Musa Yaraduwa University, Katsina, said that the strike has been profitable for him because he is using the opportunity to make different kinds of bedsheet designs. Aliyu said, “Though the lingering strike has disrupted our studies, I am nonetheless idle. I make bedsheets. This trade is a money-spinning venture in this part of the country.

 

“Sometimes in a day, I can make N1,000 to N3,000 depending on the calibre of the persons buying it and availability of the bedsheets.

 

Onugha Victor, a 300-level student at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, stated that he was assisting his uncle in the shop. 

 

Victor said: “Primarily, I go to the shop to assist my uncle whenever there is work to do. The setback is huge, but I am keeping myself busy by assisting my Uncle. If the strike persists, I am going to learn a trade.”

 

Abdullah Alabi, of the department of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Ilorin, on his part, said the strike has been prolific for him because he has been able to do many things, majorly online. Alabi said, “I thought of starting a tutorial whereby I will be getting paid. With that, I designed a flier and posted it on different groups. There was a huge turn-up. As an educational consultant, I assist aspirants who are having difficulties related to school.

“During this period, I applied for a scholarship, and I hope for the best.”

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