Last week Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU suspended its three months old industrial action, while many stakeholders were excited with the news, believing that at least students and lecturers can now return to classroom.
However, report have it that there are indications that though the strike was called off seven days ago and teachers back at school, many undergraduates and new admitted students were nowhere to be found on campus, as they preferred to remain with their parents at their respective homes.
Vanguard visits to some of the public institutions of higher learning in the country revealed a very low turn out of students on campus. Thus, while teachers are preparing for lectures, the students are nowhere to be found for learning.
Situational reports revealed that some of the available students at the University of Benin, UNIBEN, had arrived the campus before ASUU suspended the strike to serve as INEC official during the elections.
Some new admitted students and undergraduates who spoke with Vanguard, displayed some levels of fear to return to school, envisaging the likelihood of violent before,during and after elections. They were in the opinion that if they go back to school now, they would be forced to return home before or during the elections. ‘’I would rather prefer to be at home with my food stuffs and return after elections,’’ a student said. Parents who spoke with Vanguard insist that they would not allow their wards back at school until after the elections.
According to some of them, living their children in school during elections, would create an avenue for some politicians to use the gullible ones among them. They reiterated that though they were happy for the suspension of ASUU strike, but however posited that they would rather wait after the election before their children go back to school.
On its part, in compliance with ASUU directive, teachers at the Lagos State University, LASU resumed work on Monday. This is just as the university Senate is meeting for consideration of the revised 2017/2018 Academic calendar, as lecturers now await the decision of the university Senate on the review of the academic calendar.
LASU authorities maintained that the participation of some lecturers in the upcoming general elections would not affect their 100 percent productivity at work, as the election would be on Saturdays. Dr Tony Dansu, Secretary, ASUU-LASU Chapter had during the week said: The participation of any lecturer in the election is a personal commitment and ASUU will not take responsible for any positive or negative outcome of it.’’ At the University of Lagos, UNILAG, the situation was almost similar to that of LASU as many lecturers are on campus, with the presence of few students who probably reside in Lagos.
Reacting to the immediate resumption of students on campus, Miss Favour Ogar, a 300 Level English and Literary Studies student, University of Calabar, UNICAL admitted she enjoyed the three month holiday occasioned by ASUU strike. She said: ‘’I am not willing to go back to school now until after the elections because there will not be lectures. Moreover, since I did not register for PVC in Calabar, there is no reason to go back to school now. ‘’I will wait after the election as most students will be going back to school after the elections. Besides, the present situation is not encouraging to go back to school. I studied during the break and I am prepared for examination after the elections.’’
On his part, a new admitted Computer Engineering student from the University of Uyo, Wiseman Ogar said: ‘’We ought to have resumed on November 5th which incidentally was the day the strike started. ‘’I felt bad that day because I was already in school for my pre-registration and was told to go back home. Despite the strike being called off, I am still at home due to fears of insecurity in the country. We are reading and hearing of killings, kidnapping etc, because of the elections. So I am at home in order to be on the safe side.’’ Moreover, Emmanuel Oboba, a 300 Level Engineering student from the University of Benin said he had gone back to school before ASUU suspended the strike to serve as INEC staff during the elections. He said: ‘’I am in school but lecture is yet to start.
However, some of my course mate are around, but the Calendar they are proposing is that school will resume on the 24th February.
‘’The few students who are on campus are coming from off campus. ‘’Nothing is going on and lecturers are just coming into their offices and doing nothing.
Speaking in the same vein, Seyi Adeleye, a 300 Level Engineering student, UNIBEN said: ‘’My parents allowed me on campus because I stay around the school. However, nothing is going on now, as a few lecturers are around.’’