By Abdul Mutallib Muktar
It is with excruciating pain that one starts writing something of this nature. It is akin to the pain that hits an inmate upon the renewal of his terms of years in prison. Studying in a Nigerian public university comes with a series of frustrating issues. But for necessity, I seriously doubt if any student would wish to spend more than a year in these problems-wracked public universities.
ASUU has been on strike for about 200 days, and nothing seemed to be wrong until this week when loud voices started roaring in protest of the lingering strike. When ASUU embarked on strike in 2020, Nigerian students spent eight months at home, which sadly prolonged their stay in the university by one year. As ASUU called off the strike that year, students thought things had once again become normal because of the temporary stability of academic activities. On 14 February 2022, the strike news hit our ears while we were receiving lectures in our respective classes. The shock of that news is still in us!
The hope of the final year Law student in public university to make it to the Nigerian Law School this year reached its crescendo before the ASUU strike began. Some of us had already started writing our final year project, while others had even finished. One can imagine the pain of staying for additional two years in the university with no certainty of even rounding up in 2023. It is even more painful when we look at our school ID cards and realise they bear “2021”, our graduation year—seven years for a five-year programme.
As the new session of the Nigerian Law School begins in October this year, Law students in public universities have nothing to do except look at the graduates of private universities and foreign institutions marching into the Nigerian school, most of whom are the children of our leaders. Whether ASUU calls off the strike this month or even backdates it to June, public university students cannot make it to the Nigerian Law School. The year is a waste for us!
What if a miracle would make the public university students make it to the Nigerian Law School this year? And how can this miracle occur? The answer is multifaceted.
Firstly, the Federal Government must be unprecedentedly serious in negotiating with ASUU, showcasing strong sympathy for the condition of service of lecturers and utmost concern for the future of education in Nigeria.
Secondly, the Nigerian Law School’s management should extend its calendar to accommodate candidates from public universities.
Thirdly, after the strike is called off, the management of public universities should rushingly round up the session with some level of leniency to the students.
Lastly, the students must be relentlessly prayerful for the occurrence of this miracle. May these challenges become some form of blessing in disguise.
Abdul Mutallib Muktar is a law student at ABU, Zaria, and can be reached via email@example.com.