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By Muhammad Sulaiman
Published August 19th, 2009

Long before now, I am of the opinion that ASUU Strike, despite their claim that it is the only means of agitating for their rights will never yield to a permanent solution to the compounded problems we have in this country, which educational problem is one of them. Instead, it will only have a short time solution and that is why the strike will never end, even if all of their demands at a particular time are granted. However, ASUU will always argue that, they have achieved so much through strike, but to my opinion and that of greater Nigerians, strike has an adverse effect on the quality of our education, so much that we see it not to be justifiable. Nevertheless, the aim of this article is not to argue whether ASUU strike is justifiable or not! But rather is to suggest an alternative solution to the compounded problems of this country; backwardness in all aspect of socio-political and economic empowerment or development, lack of security, bribery and corruption and indeed decline or lack of patriotism to our nation, e.t.c.

In view of these, I suggest that ASUU should have a long time plan and vision to tackle the problems of this country through the following framework:
  1. ASUU should form and registered a new ideological political party.
  2. Academicians in all high institutions of learning in the country should take it as a duty to sensitize and educate their students the need for change through democratic procedures during lectures.
  3. Irrespective of tribe, religion and background, a patriotic, credible, outstanding and acceptable candidate should be nominated / elected to be presidential flag bearer of the party; the same rule goes to gubernatorial candidate in all states under the party.
  4. Student Union and other well meaning pressure groups and associations should form alliance with this party.
  5. Politics of hooligans should be replaced with the politics of education, qualification and ideology. Thugs do not know what is wrong or right, all they need is rehabilitation so that they can be properly fit to partake in the development of the nation. All these can be achieved through electoral reforms.

The rational behind my conviction that this alternative measure to strike will help us build an institution that is strong enough to solve our compounded problems and make us be among the strong nation in 21st century, go deep down to history of our independence. As little as I know the history of this country right from pre-independent till date, academic cycle, against all the odds still maintain a considerable number of ideological / principle people; they have influence on the large number of youths in schools and public services, they are the citadel of knowledge, through which a viable solution to all problems could be ascertained. More so, youths constitute more than half of the population of this country, with the greater majority in schools and public services and are seen as icons to the ones not in schools or public service in our communities. No doubt, the Products of academia are seen to be turning things around in 21st century; President Barack Obama of America, President Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Mills of Ghana all are members of the academic cycle under strong and reliable institutions. And that is why our own case is different, President Umar Musa Yaradua is seen not to be doing well despite that is a member of the cycle and as individual is honest and willing to bring change; at least for the first time we have president that always talk of rule of law and have agenda to fulfil. But the truth is that he came through a wrong institution. And that is just the bottom-line!

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Every sincere individual will quite agree with me that with the high calibre of people at the helm of affairs of this country since the country fully returned back to democratic system, it is only lack of honesty that will make one believe that we are still in the process of learning. What king of learning? For how long are we going to be adamant to the system that favours no one; no body is secure in this country and that is why we always see them hunting each other, fighting each other, pending on the group that owns power. No doubt, we must agree that the present system we are running is faulty and can never lead us to success. We all must agree that it is our collective responsibility to change this course, and this change can never be possible in isolation, we all must actively participate in the course of creating the institutions that are capable, reliable, honest, transparent and indeed patriotic. May I use this medium to remind us the goodwill message of President Barack Obama to all African youths (Nigerian youths inclusive) during his visit to Ghana:
“And I am particularly speaking to the young people all across Africa and right here in Ghana…

And here is what you must know: The world will be what you make of it. You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities, and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, and end conflicts, and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes you can – because in this moment, history is on the move.
But these things can only be done if all of you take responsibility for your future. And won’t be easy. It will take time and effort. There will be suffering and setbacks. But I can promise you this: America will be with you every step of the way – as a partner, as a friend. Opportunity won’t come from any other place, though. It must come from the decisions that all of you make, the things that you do, the hope that you hold in your heart.”

Now, I have opened a new window. It is our collective responsibility to look into it, fine tune and improve on it. And finally harness it to success.

Muhammad Aliyu Sulaiman

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