By A.S Yunusa
The African popular proverb says “when two elephants are fighting, the grasses will suffer”. Despite the proverb connote the side of injustices; it is a proverb of fact that has been trending in our society today. It refers to the suffering or distress experienced by helpless individuals when two powerful forces or bodies engaged in tussle of power. This proverb is so powerful that it can be applied to any scene where subjects suffered from the actions and doings of their leaders. It is applied when local officials and leaders disputes end up hurting innocent and powerless people.
Explaining this proverb on the basis of our dear country, we came to realize the grasses are not only suffering nowadays but being technically murdered by our elephants.
Over the years, we have several cases of striking actions in our educational institutions as common as selling of sachet water in the street. Time without number, our schools and universities are being shut down by strike actions lingering between the administrative heads and the government. The negative impacts of these frequent strike actions by our schools have degraded the qualities of our academic products directly or indirectly. Using Kogi state as a case study, the institutions have been shut down for months because of the face-off between the administrative heads and the governments in the state. Now the schools have been shut down without operation for more than four months because the elephants are on the tussle of power.
The grasses in this scenario are the innocent students. They are the helpless entity suffering from the fight of the giants. They were at home for over four months which make them open to any form of social vices and indolence. Whenever the elephants stop their fights and the school reopened, academic work may be rushed to meet up with the academic calendar which will directly affect the quality of education received by such students. It may also induce unnecessary stresses on the students to complete a full academic work within a short period of time which may also make some of the students to indulge in malpractices. Where the calendar cannot be shorten to tally with the calendar, the study period of the students may indirectly increase from 4 or 5years to 5 or 6 years depending on the course of study.
In either way, the future of these students is at risk so also the future of the state because the foundation of every state is the education of its youth. These students may lose their key to unlock the golden door of freedom since it was being taken away by the menace on our education system but the elephants have nothing to lose. Whenever administrative heads settled their grievances with the government by calling off their striking action, their salaries during the striking holiday will be paid but no one will pay for the damages suffered by the students.
I think urgent attention should be given to this case of striking actions by our institutions as means of negotiation. To me, it is another case of human right violation on the side of the students. These students have the right to quality and effective education as stated in the constitution of this country.
I think the elephants have to find other medium of executing their fight in educational sector. Let strike as a means of negotiation be blot out in our academic institution. The federal governments have to rethink on whether to formulate a law which will compel them and the states to settle the bill of academic institutions with utmost priority which will avert these striking holidays within the academic environment.
Finally, there should be cages or fighting court for the elephant’s in order to alienate the suffering of the grasses. STOP MUDERING THE FUTURE OF OUR YOUTHS THROUGH POLITICAL TUSSLE OF POWER.
(ENGR) A.S YUNUSA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org