A Brief History Of A.S.U.U. Strikes And A Nigerian Student

January 9, 2019

It’s a few days to the end of my internship, and I’ve been thinking about the coming weeks.  My editor asked me a bunch of questions about my birthday, I found it weird and suspicious.

A bunch of conversations later, I ended up here.


The 6 billionth human was born in 1999, and while I was also born that year, that human wasn’t me.

You know what else makes 1999 an important year? The first ASUU strike and the switch to the democratic government we’re ‘enjoying’ now.

Out with the military and in with the thunder. I wonder what those 5 months were like for students.


I was a chubby baby, walking around the house causing mischief.  I don’t know if my mum was tired of me draining milk from her body 49 times a day, but I ended up in Kindergarten. 

While I was just starting school, University students were about to take another L for 3 months.

49 lecturers were sacked from the University of Ilorin and ASUU wasn’t having it. OBJ wasn’t ready to deal with their feelings, so he called them lazy Nigerian youthlazy and ungrateful’


The baby boy was getting bigger and moving up the ladder. I like to imagine KG 2 was my boss year in Kindergarten.

I probably sat in the middle of the class, beside a pretty girl.

While I was enjoying my 3rd Christmas, ASUU was serving thunder again but not for very long.

The previous agreement had not been implemented and ASUU went on a 2-week long strike.


Did anyone else have a long WWE wrestling phase? I know I did and it started when I was 4.

I’d come back home, speedily lose my uniform and beg my brother to play wrestling with me.

I always tried to do Kurt Angles ankle lock. Keyword being “tried”. ASUU too was experiencing trial and failure, the agreements still weren’t implemented.

While I was falling in love, ASUU embarked on the longest strike till date, a full 6 months.



Four words – Lord of The Rings. The best movie of this century, argue with your pastor or priest. 6 years old and going outside every day.

After watching “Fellowship of The Ring”, I became Legolas with the bow.


The downside is that I may have fired it at my sister and got a major ass whooping that evening. University students were about to feel some heat too, as ASUU was getting ready to interrupt academic once again. 2 weeks later things were back to normal and I was scheming how to make another bow.


The first time I ever heard the word ASUU was in 2006. My big brother was in his first year and I had outgrown wrestling.

To be honest I didn’t have a partner anymore so I lost interest. He came home one day, ASUU had issued a warning strike and it was safer being at home.

He was back to school a week later though.


Being the only child at home when I was 8 was beyond boring. My sister was in year 1 now, she had left me too.

I had my mom and dad every day, but making the lives of your elder siblings a bit more stressful has a unique taste.

I was busy playing outside, as usual, some parts of me missing them, some parts wondering if I should make a new bow and risk my mom knocking my teeth out, and they strolled into the compound.

Surprise surprise, Asuu had done it again. But I didn’t care really, it was the best 3 months of 2007.


Junior secondary was when the real survival course took place. Avoiding seniors, trying to get food during break time and having my first real encounter with the sorcery called Math.

Normally I’d cry to my brother or sister and get them to show me a few tricks, but they weren’t around.

The one time I needed Asuu and they betrayed me.

You can imagine my delight when I overheard a conversation between my mom and my brother, mentions of a strike and ASUU. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the chance to come home.

I failed Math that term. ASUU went on strike for a week over demands for an improved payment scheme and the 49 “lazy” lecturers from the University of Ilorin.


I hit 10 in 2009. I was still a short yellow chubby-faced boy, taking more note of the world but still having adventures outside.

The term had ended earlier than usual and the fun was about to begin. I was getting ready to “shoot” some arrows when 2 familiar figures strolled through the gate.

It had happened again, but this time it wasn’t going to be as much fun. My siblings wanted to graduate, not stay at home and count trees.

Those were 4 long months but in October, my siblings were back to chasing the GPA.


It was bye-bye and see you later a few days to my siblings a few days after my 11th birthday. Once again I was Lord of the house and I would run around naked, stamping my authority with my royal buttcheeks. It was way more fun than it sounds.

I was done with another term and happy the holidays were here but I didn’t expect to see my brother and sister for another few weeks. I stepped into the house and there they were. I knew the routine by now. On the bright side, my Math scores went higher in the following term.

It’s safe to say I stunted on everyone in my class but it didn’t matter much, an extra year had been added to my sibling’s graduation date as the strike lasted for over 5 months.


Moving to a new state is a life-changing experience. I didn’t know what to expect. But 5 months in Lagos gave me a growth spurt and puberty. It wasn’t bad so far.

My siblings were schooling in another state so it was weird to see them come home early December. No one needed to tell me ASUU was pon the strike again.

It didn’t last very long and some days after my 13th birthday, they were off to school again. It was the year my brother graduated.


When you’re in SS2/SS3 your biggest concerns are WAEC and end of term parties. Thanks to having siblings I was also thinking about ASUU and the coming battles. Luckily my brother had already graduated and my sister was months away from leaving school too.

She dodged the bullet by a few weeks and finished her exams just as ASUU went on strike for 5 months.

On the flip side, it made her NYSC service a full calendar year, with all the many public holidays for the good of her sanity.


At 18 both my siblings were long done with school, it was just me now. After the riot that happened in my school during my first year, I was praying nothing would try to mess with my graduation date. 

I should have used that time and energy to grow my Instagram honestly.

A few weeks into the second semester of year 2- like a thief in the night – ASUU came and did their magic. I started calculating how these people were about to mess with my graduation date but my God is bigger.

They called off the strike in September and it was back to hustling for the GPA.


Now I’m in my final year, months away from escaping this psychological torture for a certificate I’m not sure will mean much and they have come again. When we’re talking about village people being online, it’s ASUU.

At this point, I don’t know how to feel about the strike anymore, but I’d still like to graduate this 2019. On one hand, I almost enjoy not being in school, being able to write, have a job and focus on my side hustle.

On the other hand, the sooner I leave this nightmare, the better. It looks like the strike will be called off soon, or it could last another 5 months as it did in January 1999.

Things are never as they seem in Nigeria.

One thing’s for sure now, I just want to be happier with a healthy bank account.

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