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How the prolonged ASUU strike is affecting the North

The figures released by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in May, 2022 indicate that there are 111 private universities in Nigeria. Of these only 16…

The figures released by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in May, 2022 indicate that there are 111 private universities in Nigeria. Of these only 16 are in the northern part of the country compared to 63 in the South.

The distribution of private universities in the country according to NUC figures are as follows;

South West-36 (67.1%); South South – 14 (22.2%); South East- 13(20.6%). The Entire North-16, distributed as follows: North Central-68.7%, North East – (12.5%) North West-18 (75 %).

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Students in the south are transferring in droves to private universities. Those seeking new admission are doing so at private universities. The South could do these because they are relatively wealthier than the North and can therefore afford the exorbitant fees.

Do we need grandiose structures to provide quality education in our universities as being demanded by ASUU, In this digital age? Universities all over the world are offering courses online now. The massive infrastructure related to lecture theatres, libraries, science laboratories, technical and engineering workshops provided by TETFUND in almost all public universities, including E-learning centres built during Covid-19 are either underutilized or not put into use at all by most of universities. 

Additionally, southern lecturers are less impacted by the “no-work-no-pay policy” of the government, because most of these lecturers have shares in the private universities or are even co-founders. They also teach in these universities. Furthermore, most state universities in the south are in session & actively teaching, e.g. LASU, OSU, LAUTECH, etc.

My sincere and honest advice is that at least all the northern states universities, in the interest of our children and the North in general, should withdraw from the ASUU strike. The management of the universities should engage the local unions individually & negotiate with them with the objective of having the universities reopened immediately. And henceforth, any negotiations on any issue should be done locally not with the executive of ASUU national union. The north has had enough of Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditary, kidnapping for ransom, etc.

Musa Abdulkarim writes via zakalahu@gmail.com