It is glaring that the Kogi State University students have always suffered the consequential effect of the frictions that has engulfed the state government and the lecturers in recent times.
The popular adage that says when two elephant fights the grass suffers is a quintessential example of what has played out in the confluence state in the last three years.
Kogi State University (KSU) lecturer and the state government have comfortably acted the role of the elephant, while the students have unavoidably played the role of the grass.
The academic staff union of University (ASUU), Kogi State University chapter had cumulatively embarked on a Nine months industrial action and still counting over the last three years. The interminable industrial action has become the hallmark of the institution, and unarguably, this has placed KSU as one of the top institutions in Nigeria that suffer from a continuous industrial action.
The reason for the actions of the striking union is not farfetched, is basically anchored on Non-Payment of salaries and other dividends for several months.
This intermittent down tool has left the university with no concrete academic calendar.
Disruptions in academic programs in higher institution serve as a non-motivational factor to the students. It discourages them from learning. It is not surprising therefore that during strike actions, most students are seen involved in diverse activities such as sexual immorality, cyber scam, pool betting, unnecessary gossips, watching of films and reading comic materials for entertainment purposes rather than reading their books.
In the long run, they soon forget about academics and are no longer prepared for class activities which negatively affect their learning capability.Conspicuously, the relationship between the Governor Yahaya Bello led administration and ASUU is completely paradoxical to that of Late Prince Abubakar Audu the founder of the institution and the union.
The down tool ASUU embarked in 2015 is still taking its toll on the institution as students that graduated from Theatre Art, and Economics department in that year are yet to be mobilized for the compulsory one year national youth service. While their counterpart from other institution have completed the program. Also, the second semester result for some level in the same year is still pending.
In 2016, the union embarked on yet another action between April to July, as most expected the academic calendar was affected. Students were compelled to resume immediately after the New Year celebration for their second semester examination with less time to prepare.
Barely two days after the conclusion of the second semester examination the Joint Action Committee (JCC) comprising of all the tertiary Institutions in the state, embarked on an indefinite strike. JCC demanded for the immediate reconstruction of governing council in all institution, and the payment of eight months arrears of salaries to all categories of staff.
Education is a right and not a privilege, therefore, the Government should always endeavor to honor whatever agreement reached with the academic communities.
The protracted strikes that have forcibly kept KSU students outside the four walls of the university can be averted if necessary steps are taken to build a good relationship between both parties. It is worth emphasizing that any government with a poor education system is heading towards a black future.
At the same time, the striking unions of higher should device other means other than strike to resolve aggrieved issues. Strike action should always be the last resort. This is because of the negative effect frequent strikes have on students and the entire academic community.
Covenant Umoru and Abeeb Alawiye