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Daddy and son were in a jolly good mood. Their discussion centered on life, football and general issues. At a stage the young lad said, 'daddy, I can see that you read newspapers and watch new channels a lot.

 Daddy: yes, you are correct. I can not afford not to be current. I would not like to be fed rumours.

Son: That's good. You know I will like to proceed to the university after my Secondary School to further my education.

Daddy: Definitely. It's a very good ambition every youth should have.

Son:  I want to know why ASUU and other unions in the tertiary are always embarking on industrial action.

Daddy: They are using it to press home their demands from the government. 

Son: What are these demands that our government cannot meet? Are these demands beyond govt powers or out of order? Every time this happens, the young students are sent out of school. Most of the time, a four-year course becomes elongated to six, seven or more years.

Daddy: Government can meet them, if the will is there. Strikes lead to wasting of time of undergraduates.

Son: You said the government can do what lecturers want if the will is there. By my interpretation, the schools are being manacled deliberately by our leaders. Is that not so, daddy?

Daddy: I did not say that o. You see, strike actions are not new. I am sure you have witnessed a few even at your age. Civil servants, NUPENG, PENGASSAN and others have embarked on it. It's not new.

Son: It's not new but is it normal? The way you said make it seem a minor issue. 

Daddy: No. It's not a trivial matter but what I mean is that we are used to it.

Son: Can't it be prevented? Now that it has started (this is the fourth month), can the authorities not find a way to make the lecturers call off the strike? 

Daddy: The govt says the money being demanded by ASUU is not available. 

Son: And you believe that? 

Daddy: That is what the government says. 

Son: Daddy, i do not agree with these politicians on money matters. There is no money to do anything that affects the people. They cannot give us good roads, good hospitals and electricity supply. Even security, which is their responsibility, has been left to the Heavens. These are the basic necessities of life we demand of them. The excuse they give for their failure to deliver is paucity of funds. 

Daddy: It's not only in Nigeria we have short supply of money. It's a global problem.

Son: Nigeria is a unique country, where our ways are contrary to others. But daddy, if you agree with our oppressors about unavailability of money to perform, don't you think there are areas they have money in abundance to spend.

Daddy: Which areas are you talking about?

Son: Those, who complain of scarcity of money to provide basic needs, are able to raise millions for primaries and election proper. Some months ago, these politicians were about to dole out between 100k to 250k to over 500 delegates, for the Akure North/South federal constituency. 

Daddy: I can now understand your grouse.

Politicians get sponsors during elections. It's out of govt. responsibilities.

Son: So, you are saying the money being spent by politicians is not government money. Daddy, daddy, you are talking as one of them. Are you claiming ignorance about the reality on the ground or trying to fool me?

Daddy: We are talking about Nigeria and trying to figure out where the problems lie. I am trying to let you know that leadership is not easy. I do not want you to be narrow-minded or apportion blame here. 

Son: Alright daddy, I agree with you. Daddy, what do you make of the scrambling that is going on now? 

Daddy: Which scrambling are talking about? Where is that taking place? 

Son: All over Nigeria. The jostling for the position of the President. From North to South East to West, all the Ministers, some Governors, private business people, Pastors and some public servants, have indicated interest by purchasing forms. These forms go for N40 and N100m. Where is this lump sum coming from, daddy?

Daddy: Hmmnn, hmmm, you see... Politics is not as you think. There is always money to fund elections.

Son: These people, who are in office and earning salary, are able to raise N100m, where do these monies come from. The primaries will gulp billions. By the time they perform their magic and pick whom they want, more money will be wasted on Election Day. Money will be shared among party leaders, party and security agents. The neglected and abandoned hapless voters will become a force to reckon with the gift of 5, 10 or 20k for each voter across the length and breadth of the country. Billions of naira will exchange hands then. They call us leaders of tomorrow; they mortgage our today and tomorrow. I am very sure dad that if our politicians want the ASUU strike to end in a month, they can raise the money.

Dad: Don't think too far about politics and ASUU strike. They are different issues, which are not related. Let us continue to prsy for Nigeria. We will get there.

Son: Oh my God, I am sorry to say this: you seem to have resigned to fate in the hands of oppressors. But you used to tell us that Nigeria was one of the best countries in the 70s and 80s.What changed that has made it one of the worst in two or three decades? Your generation had the best of everything. You are now giving us the worst life can offer. I am sorry to say, you have failed us.

By Sunday Ajibola.


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