Twenty-nine days into the indefinite strike embarked upon by lecturers in Nigeria universities over the non-implementation of the agreement reached with Federal Government in 2013, SUNSHINE HERALD combed the premises of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA and brings the effect of the strike on the campus.
From the south gate of the institution, the effect of the decision by ASUU on the 13th of August to begin an indefinite strike on business was obvious.
The view of the banks, shops and other commercial outlets in the institution was a sight of obvious isolation as little or no activities went on during a typically 'busy" second semester when final year students would regularly visit printing and photocopy shops for corrections made on their project.
A few minutes drive into Obakekere where commercial buses convey passengers into the interior part of the school saw people having to wait for the buses fill up contrary to a usual sight of long queues of passengers jostling to board a bus.
The educational sector of Nigeria has kept stagnating with reckless abandonment and one could assume that those in the position of power do not have a care in the world that their negligence and abandonment has continually done evil to the revamp of the Educational Sector in Nigeria.
Austin operates an eatery outfit at the student union building just by the senate building. He lamented, "like you see, everywhere is quiet. It is like a ghost country. No activity is going on. We are just here in order not to sit at home.
"Relatively, there is nothing we are selling safe for some part five students and students coming to write the post UTME exam and a couple of the university staff."
Obviously frustrated and depressed due to low or no patronage, some of the business owners resolved to "not in the mood to talk."
A postgraduate student who is also a professional photographer, who simply gave his name as Topman narrated how the strike has affected not only his academics but also his business as a photographer on campus.
While sharing his disappointments he hopes for a quick resolution so that normal school activities will resume.
He explains, "It has affected both my business and academics. You can see everything is so dull, nothing going on, in fact, we are about to do our projects before we heard about the strike. we have to go home.
He further gave an analysis of the effect of the strike, "I snap passports.
"Before the strike sometimes I snap 15, 30 per day and sometimes 20 but now sometimes I snap 2 or 1 and rarely 3.
"Sometimes I will not even snap. Like yesterday I didn't snap anybody so I had to go home early.
On the financial implication, he said: "per day, normal student hour, sometimes I make 10-12k (N10,000 – N12,000) and sometimes 8k (N8,000) but now I hardly make N800.
"Sometimes I will not make anything. Sometimes I will not make one naira, I will go home.
"Both the business and academics, I want the strike to be called off soon."
A tricycle driver, Ajayi Ayoola decried the effect of the strike on his business.
"As you can see the campus has been so scanty.
"Talk about the movement here and there and definitely, that will definitely (sic) affect the business around the campus.
"The average we make per day is between N2,500 and N3,000 per day after we must have bought fuel and other things but now hardly will you make a thousand naira and then you know it is not really interesting.
"It is pathetic but you know we have no option and everybody knows the situation of the country. All we need is perseverance and pray."
Causing disruption on the academic calendar of the school billed to complete session later in the year, the strike action would evidently leave the students staying longer beyond the stipulated time accorded for their course of study.
"Well, as far as Nigeria is concerned we are used to it. You understand! I experienced one that lasted six months when I was in 100level." These were the words of Oluwaseun Fowogbade a 500level student in the department of Mining Engineering.
Fowogbade further explains, "We are not praying that this exceeds that of LAUTECH (Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso) because I am in 500level and I am tired of reading and I have other things to do.
"I want to indulge myself in other things and the ASUU strike has really disrupted a lot of things.
"In terms of mobilization, we 500level students are expecting ourselves to be out of this school by November or December for our service and if you look at what is on ground now, we have not even started our exam so it means this year is out of it and you know a lot of people have plans and the most important thing is that certificate."
Also in her final year, Joy Dahunsi of Animal Production and Health narrated, "It started with us in 100 level second semester. "It lasted for six months.
"It is just a normal trend in Nigeria, the whole ASUU thing. We've had the one of one year so it won't be the first thing with us if it lasts for more than one year but I don't pray for that anyway.
"For the past few weeks after the commencement of the ASUU Strike at least, I have engaged myself in some things. I am not lazy so I didn't keep myself idle. I had to do some things just to fix myself up.
"At least it is an opportunity for me to just continue what am doing, continue what I love doing best.
"It is a delay just like the saying that a journey of forty days turned forty years.We would have graduated but this time around, the thing is just sad it's not something that interests us.
"As you can see everywhere is dry, immediately they just announced, everyone just traveled home as if they were expecting it.
Caught up in the middle of the strike is Precious Akinboye who hopes to gain admission into Industrial Chemistry department of the university having scored 225 in JAMB's UTME.
Precious noted, "I am hoping to gain admission this year but with the ongoing strike that will become so difficult."
A stroll down to the Abiola male hall of residence brought to sight a handful of students most of whom obviously were working on their projects.
Looking relaxed with no or less work to handle, one of the potters who preferred the Dean of Student Affairs speaking on the issue gave a sharp yet sarcastic submission, "May God help ASUU."
As a way of suggesting an end to the incessant strike by the lecturers, the student union advised ASUU not to always depend on the government for money.
Adeyinka Olasehinde who is the student union president pointed out, "There should be a lot of ways that they can still generate revenue. they should not just depend on the government and we should not be going on strike just because of unpaid money.
"They should see it from another angle that it was their own sons and daughters. they are not the ones at the suffering end. we the students have always been at the suffering end."
Though 'dead' already, it has become a thing of hope that the strike by the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian University (SSANU) and National Association of Technicians (NAAT) (which starts today) does not bury the campus.
With the strike still here with us, it is obvious ASUU needs help to cure this ugly plague and menace which rears its ugly head and puts the future of youths on hold; and lead others astray into the world of crime and redundancy to be nip in the bud and truly become a thing of the past rather than a recurring feature in Nigeria's Education Sector.