Turtle, in-laws and ASUU – Tribune Online
The story goes that the tortoise’s in-laws stole it at night. He was caught by the turtle who tied him to a stake in front of his house so everyone would know what kind of person the in-laws were. Passers-by on their way to their farms and market in the morning saw the brother-in-law and after being informed of his offence, sided with the tortoise and heaped insults and spleen on the brother-in-law, saying that he well deserved the humiliation and punishment that Tortoise inflicted on him.
However, Tortoise left the brother-in-law tied to the stake until evening. When the farmers and merchants returned home and saw that the in-laws were still bound to the stake, they could not hide their disdain for Turtle and excoriated his action due to their belief that the punishment had exceeded the transgression. They wondered what he would have done if his in-laws hadn’t stolen it. So, Turtle mishandled his opportunity, he let his anger go beyond acceptable limits, and he paid dearly for it.
The moral of the story is that when something, however good, lingers too long, it eventually falls apart if not properly managed. When a point is overstressed, it becomes irrelevant.
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are following the path of the turtle. They had the support of the majority of Nigerians at the start of their ongoing strike which began on February 14, 2022. Nigerians of all stripes supported them as the strike was believed to be just and justifiable. They believed that if the government committed itself to reaching an agreement with the union, it should do what it had promised to do. They believed that in addition to university professors campaigning for their stipends to be paid, they were also using the tool of industrial action to force the government to increase its funding of universities in order to improve the working environment. learning of their students.
But more than 190 days later, popular support for the speakers is beginning to wane. Most people, especially parents whose children are bored from staying home longer than necessary, now believe the strike has lasted too long and should be called off. Parents are so worried that they are willing to pay an annual fee to support college education. However, the parents expressed the belief that since the government has demonstrated its willingness to resolve some of the issues raised by the ASUU, the union should be prepared to make certain concessions in order to ease the impasse. They also believe that since the current rot in the university system is the result of years of accumulation, it would take time to fully resolve.
I agree that ASUU should call off the strike now, not because it is wrong to continue but because it is better to end it. Let me say that I am one with Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, President of ASUU, that the lecturers have earned their allowances by working for them and do not ask for crumbs from the government. That said, it is important to emphasize that students are the raison d’être of teachers; lecturers are employed not just to impart knowledge, but to shape the lives of their students. There is no doubt that they care about the welfare of the students as well as helping to ensure their good education. If this was not the case, they would only care about their own allocations and not about improving the learning environment to ensure that anyone pursuing a university education in the country can compete favorably with the university graduates from any part of the world.
However, it is common knowledge that the current strike is already having a negative impact on students. Some of them are already involved in annoying activities. If the purpose of the strike for ASUU is to produce better academic products, how would it reconcile that with the fact that its action is turning many Nigerian students into youths straight out of hell?
To underline the fact that the strike has been going on for too long and that it is now considered a litter, many parents are beginning to denounce the action of the teachers. Similarly, in a statement last Thursday, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) described as “wicked, selfish and callous” ASUU’s demand to pay the six months salary arrears for the period of strike by its members. The association said ASUU’s desire to secure the payments for its members portrayed the union as pursuing a narrow member interest under the guise of fighting to reorganize the education sector. If one remembers that NANS had previously supported teachers’ action, especially when they asked students across the country to join the Nigeria Labor Congress solidarity demonstration, it becomes clear that it is in the interest of striking teachers to have a rethink and get back to work. Not because of the government’s “no work, no pay” position, but because of the students, whose interest is part of the professors’ agitation. It’s also important for the members of ASUU to end the strike now and prevent the disdain that was Tortoise’s lot because he didn’t know when to back down from the pursuit of deserved revenge.
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