As the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) prepares for another round of strike, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, has advised the lecturers to reconsider their stance.
Abdulkareem said even as a member of ASUU himself as far back as 1996, he never believed going on strike was the right thing to do.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Trust, the Vice-Chancellor asked the Federal Government and ASUU to devise another means to settle grievances rather than going on strike.
There is currently anxiety across campuses of universities following the ongoing meeting of ASUU on a looming strike.
The union, which is expected to take a final decision through voting, has faulted the failure of the Federal Government to implement an agreement reached with it as far back as 2009.
Amidst the uncertainty and apprehension in Nigerian ivory towers, the Vice-Chancellor of UNILORIN said the fresh threat of strike is unfortunate, insisting he does not believe in strike.
Abdulkareem also clarified on the return of UNILORIN ASUU into the mainstream national body, saying it was the national leadership of ASUU that sought to reconcile with the local chapter.
While maintaining that he has no regret in brokering the truce, the VC, however, said strike should not always come to the table in resolving grievances.
He said, “Each time we go on strike, my view is still the same. It is bad for the lecturers and equally bad for the students. Continuity breeds or develops something in you that you cannot equate to broken or abridged acquisition of knowledge.
“So I still believe that continuity, sustenance of lectures, learning, and continuous academy should guide us in the way we run our system. If you have grievances with those who are running the institution, you have a reason to raise issues but it should not be to the detriment of the students.
“From primary school up to PhD, I never missed one day in my life and it is because I had good teaching, good tutoring, good education and I can only give that credit to my teachers and lecturers. “So I never once believed and till now that you are talking to me, that the right thing to do is to go on strike.
“Having said that, if they keep telling me that, that (strike) is the only language the government understands, there must be a way to protect the students. Now, how do we deal with insufficiency or grievances with our financiers? We should take good time and have good plans of how our concerns could be addressed.
“While that is going on, we can still be fulfilling our promise to the students because again when you spend most part of the time sitting down at home, it is not good for any mind whether for the students or the lecturers.
“All my life I would either be in school or at work. So making a mind go idle is a taboo to me even for one day. Your mind should progressively be looking for things to do or improve upon. It should not come to the point where you go home for six months and you worry about whether you are going to resume again or not. That is not how to treat a good mind, you should develop it, not deprive it of the needed growth.”