Final year students are disheartened by their loss of job opportunities because of delay in getting their certificates. No thanks to the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over alleged failure of the Federal Government to accede to their demands. The strike which began on February 14, after series of extensions, would now run indefinitely.
In a statement, ASUU President Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke said: “In view of the foregoing, and following extensive deliberations on government’s response to the resolution of February 14, 2022 so far, NEC concluded that the demands of the union had not been satisfactorily addressed.
“Consequently, NEC resolved to transmute the roll-over strike to a comprehensive, total and indefinite strike action beginning from 12.01 a.m. on Monday, August 29, 2022.”
This would further compound the woes of not just final year students, but others in first, second and third year as well as intending candidates.
Many students are lamenting that their counterparts in private universities had graduated, received their certificates, started work and were smiling home with nice salaries, while they were still at home waiting for ASUU and the Federal Government to settle their dispute.
“Merely thinking how my university, which is a state-owned institution, could stay this long in the strike without putting us into consideration hurts me more.
“My colleague applied for a training and it was certain that he’d be employed as a graduate intern after the training. But he’s not eligible despite the knowledge he had gained. I’m sure he’s not the only one out of millions. Others have their painful stories too,” Anjorin Philip, a final year student of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba- Akoko (AAUA) said, expressing his frustration.
For Bukola Shabi, a final year student at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, the strike has left her short of opportunities.
She said: “I have lost so many opportunities. I expected a quick resolution when the strike started. The demands of the union should have been met. It’s just unfortunate we have to be the ones bearing the consequences of their negligence.
“So many things I had planned if I graduate this year.Then I applied for jobs only to hear that they were looking for graduates. It is painful.”
Tosin Ologun, final year student at AAUA, said: “The strike has affected me because some jobs a 25-year-old could get, I can’t get them anymore because of my long stay at the university. The strike is time wasting and it is impacting my career. Though I have the experience, but age is not on my side because of the lingering ASUU strike and I hope it ends soon.
“At a radio station, I’ve been an intern for a year and waiting for my certificate to be part of their staff. Normally, I should have graduated and started working with them, but they can’t hire me as a staff me because they know I’m still going to school. There are some other job opportunities I can’t apply for now because I’m not qualified as I don’t have the certificate,” he said.
He urged the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the lingering strike.
Another final year student at University of Ibadan, Babatunde Balogun said: “There are so many job opportunities and scholarships out there, unfortunately I’m at crossroads. No certificate to apply for them. Imagine one to be out of school for over six months in a country where there is no war. I’m not getting younger. It’s irks me when I see my peers graduating from private institutions. Gone are the days we were proud of schooling in either federal or state institutions, these values and pride are gone. As it is, I just want to graduate.”
He also said the strike had hampered him from applying for postgraduate studies, stating that he was using five years for a four- year course.
“The plan was to proceed for post graduate studies immediately. ASUU strike shattered this dream years ago. It’s heart wrenching whenever I remember it’s my fifth year in the university pursuing a four- year degree and I am yet to resume classes for my final year.
Balogun implored the Federal Government to meet up with ASUU’s demands.
“In fact, it seems the union is bent on the use of UTAS as against IPPIS for salaries platform. UTAS has been tested and passed the three stages as recommended by NITDA. Once UTAS is approved amid other demands, I think striking lecturers would resume classes.”
Jamiu Abubakar, a final year student at AAUA, said: “I have lost opportunities just because of the ASUU strike before and there is another one now, a six- month programme which comes with a monthly stipend of N65,000. But I am scared of telling those in charge I will be resuming back to school after ASUU strike for three or four months to complete my course.”
Balogun Muktar, a final year student at Federal University Oye-Ekiti, noted he had planned to explore internship opportunities while serving but the strike made it impossible.
“I definitely had plans like every other finalist. Most importantly, I had a plan to harness an internship opportunity while I serve the country.