2022 was a difficult year for students in public tertiary institutions in Nigeria. They’ve been faced with quite a number of issues, ranging from the ASUU strike, bad electricity supply, increase in the cost of foodstuffs and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LGP), amongst others.
Recall that public institutions were shut for 8 months last year after the Academic Staff Union of Universities embarked on a nationwide strike to press home its demands for improved funding for universities, a review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues. Students were forced to stay in their houses, with their businesses crushed and the academic year extended.
These issues have negatively impacted students, and they hope that 2023 comes with a different and positive atmosphere.
Students hope for a better 2023
Mohammed Taoheed, a student of Usmanu Danfodiyyo University, Sokoto State, said for students to survive in 2023, food items, cost of items, and cost of basic amenities be reduced and made available.
“As the hike in the fuel price began, most drivers increased the fees to pay to board their buses. It doesn’t help someone like me, but I’m not the only one, who lives in the Southwest but had to travel to my school in Sokoto State. Imagine a lot of poor students could not come to school on time, this affects their academic pursuits. Bad electricity supply also affected my academics. In 2023, the inadequate availability of these poses a threat to survival as a student in the country.” he said.
A change in the country’s leadership would make 2023 better, Muhammed Bello Buhari, from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said while also urging the government to ensure that plans are put in place for students in the coming year to avoid them dropping out of school.
“It is sad that while there is an erratic power supply despite the failed privatization process, the only alternative means of individual generation of power, petrol, is not available. The double crisis has greatly affected the costs of production, consequently increasing the costs of almost everything at a time when our currency is at its ebb.
“As a student, it has affected many of us in many ways because the normal price we bought before has now increased with some extra charges because of the hike in the price of fuel. And this is coming when we’re still reeling from the pains of the ASUU strike and now there is a hike in fuel prices and virtually the cost of everything. Needless to say, electricity is also considered not only a major determinant of economic development but a catalyst for students’ welfare and academic performance.” he said
Oyolola Olamide from Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba (AAUA) wants the government to prioritize electricity in 2023.
“The petrol price, bad electricity supply, ASUU, and increase in transport fares, all these are what affected me and many other students. I hope they can find a means to make sure that every school has a good electricity supply, that is one of the major needs of students, if our gadgets are not working, we can’t learn effectively,” he said.
Seyi Lasisi, a student at Olabisi Onabanjo University, opined that not so much is likely to change for Nigerian students in the coming year. He expressed fears over the possibility of strikes by Academic unions, increments in house rents, and tuition fees.
“Students are Nigerians and what this means is that whatever economical or social issues that face Nigerians will definitely affect students. But, as students, we face the brunt more. Because quite a number of us depend on our parents for survival. There were certainly days of hunger strikes and truancy because there is no money to pay for transport fares. Next year is just a few days away and the election is fast approaching. To be honest, I don’t share in the sentiment and hope that next year will usher in something different for Nigerian students. The possibility of strike abounds, increment of school fees and increment of house rents by landlords are some of the possible expectations for next year.” Seyi said.
Polytechnic students have also had a share in all of this. Ajisafe Ibukun from Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic wants this government to focus more on financial and entrepreneurial support for students, which will help them learn effectively without financial difficulties.“We had so many students who have financial troubles, the government should focus more on providing more financial schemes for students that would aid learning and help them study with ease. Student entrepreneurs need to be supported too, students’ welfare is important and should be made a priority.” Ajisafe said.