Chronicles of the Second Longest Academic Strike in Nigeria – Yet. Volume 3.

For me, as a first-year student, one dreadful aspect not to be experienced is to be so caught up with the whole matriculation frenzy and thrills and then suddenly, you’re faced with the ominous prospect of being sent home the next moment, prematurely. For first-year students at the University of Ibadan, this was the case. A case where students are at the whims and caprices of the two behemoths, ASUU and FG, that decide the fate of the Nigerian student. A fate plagued with uncertainties and hopelessness.

The previous volumes served as a timeline that brought back to our foreknowledge all the events and political intrigues that transpired. Now, we thought it wise and with all expediency to bring to your knowledge the ordeals, trials and tribulations if there be any, of students, and how they were able to navigate through the dark harrowing days of the industrial action. In this case, the reader and likewise the writer are casualties. This issue presents a sensational exposition of unfiltered opinions and views from various quarters of Nigeria’s tertiary educational landscape.

It was crazy, and that subtly painted the whole situation. While I had engagements over the past eight months, it was a horrible thing watching my mates in private universities resume and conclude a whole session. It was a great relief that the strike action finally came to an end and I could get on with living life as planned.

Anonymous, University of Ibadan.

The last eight months were extremely depressing although I had a few wins here and there. I would not wish this strike action on anybody again, including myself.

Elizabeth Ayegboyin, University of Ibadan.

Amongst other students, especially those in first year, few were less bothered about how long the strike spanned.

The strike was sweet, I used it to develop myself very well. I didn’t even want it to end yet because I still have goals that I have not met, and school will tamper with them.

Anonymous, University of Ibadan.

Some students also took it upon themselves to enhance their knowledge repository and entrepreneurial ability.

The ASUU strike was what I call a prepared blessing. The persistent complaints of the union weeks before the strike prepared me mentally for the worst, so that gave me the right energy I used and it surprisingly made me a CEO and a holder of several certifications from different global institutions.

Daniel Olusade, Federal University of Technology, Akure.

To start with, I didn’t want the strike. So even after the strike action was ordered, I was still in school, studying and doing some other stuff. UI eventually chased us to our father’s house and so the struggle began. When I got home, I read a little bit and I was coming online to do some other stuff. I joined the “learn a skill” bandwagon and took up a few courses online. The strike allowed me to explore my interests in teaching. I taught at a secondary school; for a whole term. It also helped me hone my graphic design skills. I also regained my spiritual stamina. I did not wish for the strike, and I will not pray for it again but the time the strike action gave me is something I’m grateful for as it helped me develop myself.

Esther Oyesade, University of Ibadan.

To be honest, I wanted the strike to continue. Unlike other students, medical students had to remain in school during the period of the strike. If the strike had lasted two more weeks, we would have been sent home. I needed that break and I was looking forward to it. I’m not bothered by the extra number of months I had to spend. Sometimes, it does get to me but I shake it off because there is no point in being worried about stuff I can not change. I must add that I’m happy for the “June doctors” who will finally graduate.

Anonymous, University of Ibadan.

It was mixed emotions for “stalites”, a deja vu of a bad occurrence.

Eight months strike ughhh. The longest strike I have ever witnessed happened in my own time. It was fun initially (when I didn’t know how long it would take) because it felt like a break when schoolwork was beginning to get crazy. Things got more tiring when my parents used calls to drag me home. You know what being jobless in an African home is like? Yeah, I was overused until I found my way back to school. I do not wish to experience such again.

Charles Rereloluwa, Obafemi Awolowo University.

The strike, although draining, was an opportunity to focus on extracurricular activities. I also learned new things and went out a little bit more.

Anonymous, University of Ibadan.

For eight solid months, we were kept at home by ASUU and FG. Without a question, as a student, I battled over the past few months to establish myself outside the academic world. As the weeks passed, I concluded that enrolling in an online course was the best starting point, so I enrolled in a research writing course. I decided to try essay writing while I was doing this. Hmm… That tale should be saved for another time. I finished my research after three weeks, but honestly, I did not learn it well enough. Fortunately, I came to understand that writing is the finest approach to studying and conducting research. I got off to a better start with the help of mentors. I was able to continue academic reading while still picking up new things. Finally, it was “back to school season again”. Everyone was happy, no more chores and no more idleness. It’s time to kick the ball rolling again.

Anonymous, University of Ibadan.

One of the most disappointing moments for finalists was the further delay of their final exams and consequently, their graduation, especially here in the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.

It was quite shitty, and many of my classmates will share the same opinion. We were already two years behind schedule and were still stuck at the crossroads of being a doctor. Seeing our colleagues in other places (schools) moving forward didn’t make it easy either. Every day was bad honestly and the seeming endlessness of the whole thing even made it worse.

Olaoluwa Olorunfemi, University of Ibadan.

So academically, we couldn’t write our exams and graduate in June. That was a major disruption, especially with how I always pictured graduation and beyond with the previous date in mind. It also brought with it quite an increasing level of uncertainty as the days went by with the fact that there was no predictable end in sight. So one could not really plan anything definite on that aspect. At some point, it was quite sad as other medical schools were still graduating their students. Nonetheless, personally, while I still kept tabs on my books from time to time, I focused on other aspects of my life which I could control, especially my design business which I have always had going on. I continued work, hung out with friends, got to spend time with family too, and had quite some great times and a whole lot more. Basically, just made peace with the fact that there was not any part of the strike I could control, and that one day it will end – as it is now, so I just continued with other aspects of my life as much as I could and I’m grateful for all the wins I got amidst the phase and ready to move forward as a whole once again.

Olusegun, University of Ibadan.

Apart from academics, the strike also affected businesses and other socioeconomic activities of students.

It affected me in that the results of my last exams were withheld and I couldn’t also write some end-of-posting tests in some of the end-of-posting did. Also, it affected the post-UTME tutorial business I was running (as post-UTME was put on hold). Although, admittedly, this also had a good side as it made me focus more on school.

Obeya Mark, University of Ibadan.

This strike for me was a much-needed break, from the hustle and bustle of the past year with Covid-19 and all, it was like the vacation I didn’t know I needed. Positively, it opened me to opportunities I would not have had the time to do with the mighty MB coming. I had the opportunity to hone my other skills outside medicine and be productive with it. I also had the luxury of taking things at my pace. Negatively, I would say that I didn’t really focus on reading so much because what motivation is there when you don’t know the time the strike will be called off. Definitely made me question my desire to be a student. Also, I’m at this point in my life where I’m tired of being a house girl, staying with my parents was a stress that came with the “supposed” vacation.

Meliat, University of Ibadan.

Next, we will be hearing from the horse’s mouth, lecturers and other academic staffs alike, and also on-campus vendors and entrepreneurs. Like I will always advise, be expectant!

Peter Adeyemo and Afeezah Wojuade.

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