Students across various state institutions of higher learning in Kogi are currently faced with industrial action and have been experiencing this over the years either by the Academic or Non-Academic Staff Union of these various institutions. Most of these strike actions are caused by disagreement between the government and the unions of various institutions, arising from non-implementation or partial implementation of former agreements reached. But the strike this year is one of the longest recorded in recent history, the state tertiary institution have been shutdown for over six months
As the saying goes, when two elephants fights, it is the grass that suffers. The grass, in this case are the students of Kogi state institutions of higher learning who bear the brunt of the disagreement.
Nelson Mandela said ‘’Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’’ and I say education is the weapon to fight poverty, it is the weapon to end thuggery, it is the weapon to fight insecurity, it is the weapon to facilitate peace &tranquillity. We all can see that presently Kogi state is experience insecurity issues, unlike before one can walk freely at night even till 11pm to 12am but today as early as pm everyone runs home, shops are closed, Kogi is gradually turning into a safe haven for illicit activities and a crime bed, this could rationally be thought as a consequence of the perms by shutdown of higher institutions of learning in the state after all it is often said that an idle hand is the devils workshop.
Malcolm X said Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who pare for it today, the State have denied students of their passport to the future, a course of 4 years is study for 6 years, a programme of 2 years is study for 4 years. The so called leaders of tomorrow have been languishing at home for over six months joylessly, and how can students like this be responsible enough to take care of themselves.
Incessant strikes actions dwindles the academic performances of students. As learning is suspended for a long period, the students reading and assimilation tends to reduce. Even the knowledge acquired during the learning period is even forgotten by some students. This mostly turn some students into certificate seekers than knowledge seekers.
Strikes distort the school calendar. The after-effect is prolonged school year that exceeds stipulated periods. Most academic activities for the school year are distorted. This is one major cause of producing unqualified graduates who are deficient in their fields of study. In the same vein, students who are supposed to do a four year course end up spending six years in the school for a simple programme.
Strike periods also have the tendency of leading undergraduates into some social vices like prostitution, cultism, and oil bunkering etc. Another aftermath of this is unwarranted pregnancies and unplanned parenthood, which further jeopardizes the future of our next generation.
In solving this issues, the need for a re-evaluation of the education sectors in Kogi State, factors that often lead to strike in our institutions should be addressed. There is no doubt that the cause of this year’s strike is lack of payment of salaries and allowances by the state Government.
A conducive learning atmosphere is a sine-qua-non for quality education. In addition, education should be properly and adequately funded to encourage effective research and to avoid brain drain. Proper funding and equipping of Nigerian universities will go a long way to stop further strike action.
Kogi State Government should honour whatever agreement reached with the academic communities. Most protracted strikes 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 dark future.
At the same time, the various unions in our institutions of higher learning should device other means of letting their bewilderment and anger out rather than strike actions to resolve aggrieved issues. Strike action should be the last resort. This is because of the negative effect frequent strikes have on students and the entire academic community.
It is sad that no governor since 1999 till the present dispensation has averted strike actions in our institutions of higher learning in Kogi State.
Any government that does not encourage education of its youth is directly compromising the future of the nation. Such government is not worth entrusting our future with. I want to use this opportunity to call on Kogi State governor and other stakeholder in the Kogi education sector to please give us the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.
Long live Kogi State Governor!
Long live Kogi State educational Institution!!
Long live good people of Kogi State!!!
– Amedu Anthony & Alao Olalekan