Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiatives (YSAD), a pro-youth and student civil society organisation, has appealed to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently resolve the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The group appealed in a letter to the president, titled “Lingering ASUU strike and the fate of Nigerian youth”, to mark this year’s “International Youth Day”.
The letter, which was signed by Obinna Nwagbara, its chief executive officer and made available to BusinessDay, reminded the president that recent developments within the nation’s education sector, especially the tertiary, point to the fact that the youth in Nigeria is currently facing an academic dilemma.
YSAD noted that the February 14 strike embarked upon by ASUU over the 2009 revitalisation fund agreement; earned allowances; the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform and sundry issues have kept Nigerian students and youth stagnant while the rest of the world moved.
They stated that the last half of the year has been one of an academic slump and darkness for the nation, a situation they said is not only sad but lamentable given that with this development, research works and studies (at undergraduate and postgraduate levels) have been halted in a world where man is left with no other option than to tinker with ways of solving problems through scientific, innovative breakthroughs enabled by academic research and the human creative spirit.
To make the picture clearer, YSAD explained that in 2020, during the pandemic, while Nigerian universities were on strike over the same issues as today, Oxford University went into research with AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical Company and gave the world a vaccine.
“This, sadly, was a contrary case when in the 1970s a Nigerian, Augustine Njoku Obi, a professor, found the vaccine for cholera.
“We wish to remind Mr President that with the ongoing strike, Nigerian parents and guardians (for those who can afford) now send their own to countries that hitherto were no match to Nigeria.
“Nigerians flood Ghana, Kenya, Benin Republic and other African countries for education. We have not forgotten the gory picture of Nigerians trapped in the war in Ukraine, and even though the government intervened timely to evacuate those willing to return, nobody would have thought in the 1970s/80s, during the glory days of University and Ibadan, Ife and Nsukka, that Nigeria’s academic destination would be countries like Ukraine, Cyprus, Georgia and the like.