This ASUU strike did not come as much of a surprise to many students. It’s one of the realities of the Nigerian student life that we’ve all accepted. This reality also comes with a blame game from students – either on ASUU, the government or their fate for being born in this Armageddon of a country – depending on the time frame of the strike. However, there’s a slightly different, yet legit, timeline not being considered; that the system crumbles completely soon leaving everyone stranded. Day by day, we bear witness to situations so ludicrously scary that we’re slowly becoming desensitized and edged in. This is more than just another strike. Our lives are on the line and more of us need to, at least, acknowledge this. Dark clouds abound and things do seem to be going out of hand. You can call this a summarized reality check or a short essay on why you need to JAPA. Anything you deduce is true.
Let me introduce you to something called Murphy’s law which roughly states that of all possible things that will occur, the negative possibility will most likely happen. For example, if your options are either to see the light at the end of the tunnel or walk in the vacuum forever, you better take the latter option more seriously. You can either digest this and move on or start this game (battle) with your current situation where you start to apply Murphy’s law before it applies to you. So what are the parameters we have on ground?
Several parts of the country seem to be on the path of anarchy. A Catholic church in the Southwest was massacred during the weekend by unknown gunmen with casualties ranging from adults to young babies. The Nigerian Southwest that seemed to be the only region sheltered from brutal terrorism and tribal violence now has its rural farmers afraid to go to their farms. The Nigerian East in a quest to fight for its “freedom from oppression” from the Nigerian state has roped itself into a violent uprising on its own while the Nigerian North has completely swallowed the Middle-belt in its tribal, religious and terrorist disparities. Religious sanctuaries are no more safe and educational institutions are even less so. As a Nigerian student, how willing are you to put your safety in the hands of your institution? Are you prepared to travel the danger-laden interstate roads? Peace is hanging on a thin thread and the youths are being sacrificed as fodder and casualties.
The Nigerian system has turned into a deathtrap. The young voices are being drowned by the elderly population who still wield more power because of the dwindling economy. Meanwhile, they (the elderly), are being effectively manipulated by the three wise men of religious institutions, deliberate and selective media coverage and the devils (politicians) they think they know. They still believe in docile submission and succumbing to oppression just to survive. They definitely believe in their peers wielding power over the children who do nothing but be “lazy” and “stay on their devices” all day. “What were you doing there?”, “You should not have done that?”, “Why didn’t you just allow it?” are the constant narratives they’re still stuck in. The youth is prey to educational institutions, health and law enforcement establishments, yet you must grovel in the sight of power in order to survive and continue your struggling life.
Are you thinking of travelling abroad? Let me list to you the requirements of the “abroad” (or a short paragraph on knowing your place on the poverty line). There are several types of lift systems; stairs, escalators and elevators. To the ones with elevators, I have nothing for you. Why? Because anyone with the audacity to have an elevator around also probably has the means to power it. The limit to how high they can go is also wide. So I ask you – as the feeble Nigerian that I am – to implore those uncles and aunts (or parents) of yours feasting on the sweet parts of the National Cake to fear God. Those of you with escalators and stairs, you’re treading on thin ice. By the way, escalators are just fancy stairs. And no, I will not elaborate. Some of you package yourselves to get by while others think that their brutal plebeian roots are attractive for the future. The civil service is always ready to highlight –blatantly –your social and economic disparities or in layman’s terms “the civil service dey for you”. Let’s start small: How easy is it for you to get a driver’s license or pay your tuition fees? Then let’s proceed to how easy it is for you or your family to relocate to another state. Access healthcare services? Afford a flight? Get a Passport? Get a visa? Start afresh in a new country? I’m sure by now you get where I’m going with this so I’ll stop here. Is your situation something you can change or is it something dependent on the country’s change?
With these few points of mine, I hope I’ve managed to confuse you – not convince you – on the futility of your desires to hasten your studies and either enter the labour market to be a full-blown Nigerian adult or elope to the abroad to become a black or POC of Nigerian descent. Oblivion is bliss if you will it enough, but this kind of national cake is like breakfast. Learning how to dodge it doesn’t do much but being wilfully ignorant will cost more. However, being the conspicuously religious people that we are, we all still continue to turn to the unofficial hope of the masses – our religious institutions. We will be at the feet of our religious leaders with gifts pleading for intercessions with God to pull us through, while they cohort with their “gods” to bring us small bouts of relief in-between the misery. That is who we are deep inside. That’s what is still being passed down successfully from the older generation because what do we care happens to this darned country as long as we can thrive?