Because There Is No Attendance In Heaven

By ‘Joba Ojelabi

It is no longer news that the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities embarked on what was supposed to be a nationwide strike. Unsurprisingly, the protest and strike action has been most intense at the University of Ibadan and the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife. The reason for the action was said to be the sharing formula of the Earned allowances areas as stipulated by the Federal Government. From sources online, the formula seemed grossly unfair to the union as about 89% was said to be for the Academic Staff whilst the remaining 11% was for the other three unions; NAAT, NASU and SSANU. As unfair as the sharing formula might sound, I doubt that I am in any position to comment on the correctness of the formula as I do not have all the details surrounding the sharing. However, one thing that concerns me is how the actions and the seeming brawl between the academic and non-academic staff of the Obafemi Awolowo University affect me, for obvious reasons of course.

The past few working days have been hectic for most students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, as although it is quite apparent that the Non-academic are taking their threats seriously, at least to some reasonable extent, the academic staff might not really be taking them too seriously as classes, tests and other activities still seem to be going on even when it is very uncomfortable for students. For the most of last week, students who reside off campus who regularly pay around ₦60 to transport themselves to campus started to pay as high as ₦200, coupled with the inconvenience of walking all the way from the banking area to wherever their destination was on campus. Certainly, the transport workers too must certainly bear some chastisement as they only saw the circumstance as a means to make money and nothing more. After all, when elephants fight, the grass suffers and the wise gardener makes more money.
Of course, any reasonable advocacy might have come easier when we had a Student’s Union, hopefully events like this are enough to remind the passionate dreamers who go around with all that “you are the union” mumbo jumbo of the harsh reality of not having a Union, or perhaps they keep pretending.

I had planned to start this article with a narrative of my experience from last week’s events and already this is no longer achievable but it just might be a good closer as well:
“So sometime last week, I’m on my way to class amidst the NASU brouhaha, I get to the campus gate only to meet it barricaded- most probably with both physical and spiritual fortifications. But as often is, I assume that the barricade is for automated vehicles so I make an effort to jump over the simple wooden hindrance, only for me to hear a voice yelling from a distance that I should only jump over the barricade if I was ready to die. Well I wasn’t. As a matter of fact, at the time only one thought flashed through my mind; “What did we bring to this world gan gan?”__ So like my father’s son, I dusted my shoes and walked in the opposite direction, keeping in mind that a seeming similar scene had occurred at the Faculty of Pharmacy about a day prior. Now every time my class representative comes on the class Whatsapp page to remind us of how the last lecturer gave an impromptu test or the next lecturer might take attendance in class, I just ask myself in the corner of my mind, that place where one is truly alone with himself; Life or Degree?

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