People involved in the chronological business of keeping time– whether they are the Mayans or the…err(I can’t remember the other ones)– have always considered 100 days an iconic benchmark to be acknowledged with ceremonious reverence in tune with the event in question. Different government administrations mark their century of days in office with celebrations and scorecards to review how well they have performed. There obviously, would be no such celebrations as the strike action embarked on by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) reaches the 100 day mark.
Strike actions are not exactly a rare occurrence in Nigeria– they seem to happen faster than a hat would drop from the head to the floor. Committees to end such strikes also spring up with similar alacrity. This particular strike, however has enjoyed a baffling longevity that has seen countless meetings end in deadlocks, various protests by different parties directed at different parties amount to nothing. It has also seen the formation and dissolution of different committees and sub committees.
These past 100 days of strike have seen events unfold with the pace of a big budget Hollywood movie; so many actors with interchanging roles of hero and villain, well rehearsed speeches with iconic quotes, the loss of some cast members and introduction of new ones and intriguing plot twists that have held everyone spellbound on the unending saga.
Mehn- forget grammar, the matter tire me. I just had to call on my oga, Amb. Tobi Johannes Wojuola, to talk about the issue from his own viewpoint–
“Crazies, this is my boss, to whom I give tuale, listen to him”
I looked at the calendar today; it was the 8th of October 2013, and like any other day, at least since the 2nd of July. Something inside me however kept telling me that today was a special day, a day to dance, to merry, to eat more than the three squared meal, to be excited and celebrate something. That something, I knew not. Not until I had finished saying the morning prayers and eaten breakfast did I get a call from my Uncle, Richard, which was rather weird, as he seldom called me; he began the conversation saying; “Tobi, today is your hundredth day in office, tell me what you have been able to achieve since you got into power”, I replied him in my state of confusion and asked if I was the original intent of his call, he laughed at me and said, “Eku ASUU oo”. At that point I had all the puzzle pieces in their right places; from the early morning excitement to Uncle Richard’s weird introductory lines when he called. Today was a day to celebrate ASUU’s hundredth striking day, a day students had laughed about after the second week of the strikes’ commencement, it never looked like it was coming and so everyone had always been eager to hear that by next week the strike would be called off. Several times I would be at the school library during the strike and I would chat with my friends who had left school urging them to return to school soon that there were heads up that the strike would be called off in good time
In truth, a hundred days in the education of the lives of millions of young people has just been wasted into history and would never be retrievable. Amidst anticipation of a resolve of the stalemate between the Federal Government and the ASUU leadership, students have patiently received the hard blows from the effects of the strike; having a stunted education program, brains left idle and so many adverse –EHEN! I have remembered; Mayans or Gregorians… Oga sorry, oya continue–effects. Nonetheless, there is the a common saying that we each all have our twenty-four hours and our successes depend on what we do with this time. It has been approximately two thousand four hundred hours of striking time and if you are the student who sleeps ten hours a day, then well-done, you have slept one thousand hours of striking time.
The question then is how have you used your two thousand four hundred hours of ASUU Strike to make better your life and society? Did you spend this period watching all the movies and series America could offer? Or did you decide to spend the striking time at an internship, trying to better yourself in your chosen career? Or did you open up a shop or learn a skill or an art? – How productive has the hundred striking days been to you as a student?
One may ask why I chose the word Celebrating a hundred days of ASUU strike instead of Mourning a hundred days, anyway, here is why; being conscious of the unpredictable nature of ASUU and the Federal Government, I chose not to suspend any hitherto project or work I was doing till the end of strike, I said to myself, that I was going to continue till I was done with them, whether or not the strike was called off sooner or later. That I did, and remained within the University environs; studying at the library, helping out at the University Law Clinic and working on my final year project. I also continued the hustle to get the fourth edition of LOL! Magazine (where I am the Editor in Chief) out, and also to establish consistency with LOL! TV which had just kicked off a month before the strike commenced. In no time I had gone considerably far in my project and in the first week of September the fourth edition of LOL! Magazine was out and at the beginning of October the sixth production from LOL! TV had dropped with the seventh to be released at the end of the month. I guess, for me, this is worth celebrating a 100 days of ASUU Strike.
Like Adele, who turned a heartbreak into Grammies, this is just a bit of what thousands of students have been able to achieve during these striking days; they have been able to take advantage of the situation; call them opportunists, but they are paving a way for themselves in and beyond the school environment. Now you may want to ask yourself, what creative and productive activity have you embarked on during this strike? If the gauge does not show a result worth bragging about, just remember, the stalemate is still on, and from the obvious, Daddy and Mummy are still fighting over soup money, the food would not be ready any time soon, cook yours!
This food for thought as we dey wait make food done na from Tobi Wojuola, Editor-in-chief, LOL! Magazine, Producer, LOL!TV(I go knack you my rates for all the advert wey you do) and controller of all the fine girls wey dey FCT.
I have missed you guys… Tuts