NOTHING signifies dearth of critical thinking in the APC-led government like the lingering ASUU strike that is in the second month. In a tense situation of escalating prices of diesel, petrol, foodstuffs, and collapse of the national grid; it is irrational of any government to allow approximately three million students idling away in the streets, especially when we are dealing with an ailing economy like that of Nigeria.
Universities in Nigeria are like factories. Shutting them amounts to rendering thousands jobless. The economic value chain in Nigerian universities is big –food vendors, stationery sellers, okada, taxi drivers, landlords, banks and several small businesses in the value chain. All of these guys are today either underemployed or unemployed.
Our policymakers seem aloof and unaware of the multiplier effect of shutting down businesses-generating sub-sectors like universities. All over the world, universities and other institutions of learning are considered to be among business hubs for employment generation, income redistribution, and live-testing of the efficacy of macroeconomic policies. Hence, the direct and indirect negative impacts of this ASUU strike could slow down the continuation of more than 20 million businesses. We cannot build the desired future we all yearn for when policymakers cannot think of the impact of policies on the general well-being of the people.
ASUU strike is taking a toll on the Nigerian economy. The strike is not just punishing the university teachers but an entire value chain is closed which is a recipe for unanticipated bigger crises. It is in the best interest of the APC-led government to hasten the return of the university teachers to classes. This would not only ensure those already employed remain employed but also those who eke out a living in the universities remain busy. Nigerians need to be busier than they are now if we want sustainable economic growth. Slowing down private business activities is dangerous for any economy, and this exactly is what the ASUU strike, which the APC-led government has failed to address, is achieving. Very unfortunate!