28 Dec 2013


By Akinwale Akinyoade,
Saturday, December 28, 2013
I heaved a mighty sigh of relief as I crossed my last ‘t’ and dotted the last ‘i’ before handing over my answer booklet to one of the invigilators in the examination hall. As I stepped out of the hall, I joined in on the celebration outside, we had just written our last exam on a course titled ‘Investigative and Interpretative Reporting’ and everyone was excited, that was the end of our National Diploma (ND) course as students of Mass Communication, Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech). It wasn’t just Yaba College of Technology for us but a ‘Yaba College of Tension’, and this was the end of a two-year journey.
Autographs were being signed on T-shirts and nobody seemed to care about the damage that was being caused. It was smiles and hugs all the way and I remember one girl in particular, Bridget, who brought out her lipstick and dabbed on a bright shade of red before proceeding to plant a kiss on all the guys’ shirts.
She surprised me and perhaps everyone when she planted a kiss on my lips instead and then continued on her kiss-planting mission. I stared after her and the guys burst out laughing because of the dazed expression on my face.
I was excited and  I called my best friend, Jibola Dapo a student of University of Lagos (Unilag) studying Business Administration to share the good news (I was now a graduate or should I say semi-grad because when people finish their ND they were always quick to say they have graduated from the Polytechnic). He congratulated me and said he was happy but there was something in his voice that made me pause and that’s when I realized the situation; while we had been in session at the polytechnics, our counterparts in universities were home as a result of the over 4-month old strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).     
ASUU has held all the university students ransom in its fight with the Federal Government to implement the 2009 agreement and students have been at home since July. I decided to ask another friend of mine how he has been spending his time since the break. The strike has been trailed by mixed reactions with some students content with the state of things and having no wish for resumption. In the words of Princewill Ese, an Architecture predegree student of FUTO, “I am not in a haste to go back into the dreary four walls of a classroom to continue the pursuit of the lukewarm education offered in boring Nigeria. The strike has afforded me the time to just simply have fun and no worries about school, maybe if school was more exciting, I might be forced to miss it.”
That was interesting an answer enough for me to want to find out what other people have been up to since the beginning of the strike and so I proceeded to question more of my friends.
There were quite some interesting answers and it was then that I realized Princewill wasn’t the only odd person that didn’t want the strike to come to an end in a hurry. Take Feyisara Olowomoran, a 300 Level Law student of University of Abuja who has been able to find a job in a firm in Lekki and according to her, she is enjoying the experience of working. For her the strike has been a blessing as it has afforded her time to take on some modeling jobs that she has always wished to try out but handicapped by school schedule. Venturing from modeling into more corporate affairs, she has been able to secure herself a decent paying job for an undergrad, thus her personal preference was also for the strike not to end till next year.
For Joseph Udensi a 500 level student of Mechanical Engineering at Federal University of Technology Minna, it is more the thrill of travelling around Nigeria and meeting some prominent personalities that he could only imagine meeting. During his tour of Nigeria visiting places like Anambra, Imo, Abuja and Lagos he ran into star footballer Kanu Nwanko, former Speaker of the House of Representative Dimeji Bankole and a doubtful sighting of Senate President David Mark at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja. Cupid also smiled on him because the strike afforded him the opportunity to meet his current girlfriend, a 200 level student of Unilag during his visit to Lagos.
While Joseph is busy touring and falling in love, Ifeanyi Daniel who just secured admission into to pursue a degree in Business Administration in Unilag has had more time for to his modeling career, taking part in some modeling jobs at fashion shows (Lagos Fashion Maniac 2013 and Beat of Style, Season 2). The strike has not been a total waste for him as he has been able to improve on his trade and build his portfolio.  
Asides the moaning and groaning of the seemingly serious students who want to return back to school, it is safe to say other ‘serious’ students have found a way to keep busy and turn the ASUU strike into a memorable experience of some sort in itself.
What have you been up to, busy or lazing at home?   
For more readings on what students have been up to you can check comments here on FACEBOOK, NAIRALAND or WEEKLY TRUST

Akinwale Akinyoade is a National Diploma holder in Mass Communication from Yaba College of Technology. He currently majors in English at the University of Lagos. You can follow him on Twitter @gidigenius


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