Saturday, 10 December 2011

ASUU Strike Opportunities

“Erm… did I hear you say opportunities?”

Yes! And sorry to disappoint you, ASUU has not resumed yet. Going by their proclamation that it would be “total, comprehensive and indefinite”, it is going to take a miracle for them to resume any time soon. How can I be so sure? You see, ASUU has a long history with strikes- in fact, most people know that such a union exists only because of their strike actions.  Before I got into the university, ASUU was embarking on “total, comprehensive and indefinite strikes”. While I was in the university, they embarked on such- effectively adding almost two years to my stay. Now, yet again, they are at it. If there is anything they’ve built a trademark around, it’s those strikes.

To be fair, ASUU may not have much of an option. We have at best, a laughable structure. Our government spends so little on education and so much paying politicians… If I had a PhD, I would definitely not like to be the typical Nigerian lecturer of today- performing far below my potential since the academic environment itself lacks essential elements to stimulate my productivity. And trust the government. The Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu  Rufa’I, has “appealed to the Academic Staff  Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its nationwide strike, which began on Monday.” Meaningless, political gibberish! A sad reminder that the government is not interested. But maybe ASUU is being overly stubborn. Perhaps they are not aware that in Nigeria, civil servants are inferior to public servants. All servants are equal but some are more equal than others…
But before turning this into a political advocacy, let me come to my real reason for writing: ASUU fights for its members. The government also fights for itself, whatever that means. So, if you are a student, who is fighting to protect your interests? Who is working to secure your future? If you are like most Nigerians, born without a silver spoon, I can guess the answer to that question would be “no one”.  So, fight for your own future! I am not talking about leading a protest. I mean: turn the ASUU strike period into a time to develop yourself and invest into your future.
I’ll tell you a secret: While in school, I used to pray for ASUU strikes! They gave me the time to pursue my businesses and work on my skills. So, although ASUU increased my time in school, I have no regrets. I maximized the time and achieved a lot. The truth is that once you are out of school, your priorities will have to change. You would be under pressure to produce and earn an income for yourself and others around you. It would be foolish to get to this time and then realize (as most people do) that the educational system prepared you inadequately for the future. Being a student is actually an opportunity- people don’t expect much from you yet. You can use that time to learn and make mistakes if necessary.
So, turn off the academic and turn on the business person in you- at least for the time being. Go learn a trade or skill. Some of the popular choices are:
  • Web design
  • Fashion design
  • Hair dressing
  • Catering
  • Carpentry (yes!)
If you are not computer literate or you would like some advanced ICT training, register for one. If there is anything you ever wanted to do, do it now!
Your only regret should be that those strikes never come with a time frame, thus making it difficult to plan. But when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. You don’t have to be the grass.
Good luck to you!

Olumide Adeleye is the CEO of 080Nigeria Web Solutions. An Agricultural Economist by qualification, Olumide has extensive experience with websites and internet branding. He owns The Kudizone Network. You can follow him on Facebook via


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