The students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH may have to go to Governor Abiola Ajimobis office to prostrate for the constituted authorities that make it possible for them to return to school after spending 16 months at home.
It has been one year and four months of academic hiatus in the university and it seems the warring parties too are tired of seeing the students idling away.
Now, the lecturers are set to return to their dusty dirty desks, and students to the lecture rooms that have been emptier than a vacuum since the university and constituted authorities lost it.
Before the students resume on Monday, October 23, to see their classrooms covered in cobwebs, let's cast our minds back to the warning strike that ended up becoming an indefinite industrial action.
In June 13, 2016 LAUTECH lecturers embarked on what students and parents thought would last for a week or two. But it turned out to be the longest strike in the history of the school.
The institution has become infamous for embarking on strike, and once the school gate is shuttered for a warning strike, students would do better to learn a trade or skill. Chances are that the students who goes to learn a skill would graduate before the school gate reopens for academic activities.
Going on strike in Nigeria is a thing and in recent time, no school has outdone LAUTECH in paralyzing academic activities for more than a year. No thanks to the conflict between the government owners of the school and the academic staff union.
The ineffective ownership pattern and management style of the University is its main problem, which over the years has made strike a culture at LAUTECH. Even in the 90, a set of students spent seven years instead of five.
The former SUG president of the school , Adebayo Adeyinka once said. "Strike action is an age long thing in Nigerian University. If I remember very well, I was admitted into LAUTECH in 1992 and I finished in 1999. I spent seven years for a five year course without having carryover or extra year".
Knowing the school's penchant for strike, Olutoba Olayiwola, a 300 level student of Mechanical Engineering took advantage of a training and has become a soap manufacturer even before the authorities that rendered them idle dreamt of resolving the crisis.
Many other students like Olayiwola followed suit because LAUTECH would not call of the strike anytime soon.
Frustrated by the strike after nine months, the students trooped out to seek explanation from the government as to why their school was shut down for almost a year. But Governor Ajomobi in misconstrued the students' plight for disobedience, contempt and disrespect of authorities.
Ajimobi like the students lost his home training for a moment. He shouted back at the protesting students and even ordered a police officer in the gathering to arrest an angry student who has every right to question the authority about the education he had been denied for months.
The Governor said, "If you come here shouting at me, I am not going to talk to you. If you came here to start a fight, do go ahead. This government will not tolerate any nonsense from anybody.
"If this is how you want to talk to me, then go ahead and do your worst. If you think you can be troublesome, I dare you...I am ready for you. Let's see what you can do.
"You have no respect for constituted authority". This is not the first time schools are getting shut. If your school was shut down for eight months, so what?"
That memorable protest marked one of the epic episodes of student-government confrontations since return of democracy. Nigerian students are like slaves in the hands of greedy politicians. They use and dump them at will. But these LAUTECH students stood their ground even when wads of Naira notes were threw at them to buy their sensibility.
In the heat of the argument, the constituted authority promised the school would be opened for them by the end of January. But the promise and failed attitude of government in Nigeria further delayed the students resumption till February 20.
Perhaps calling off the strike was a mistake because the students only resumed to write exams and the university was shuttered again.
It may sound ridiculous that some students might have forgotten their matriculations numbers after spending 16 months of academic and intellectual nothingness at home.
The progress of graduating students was paused like a game and now that the government and the academic unions have pressed play again, we hope the school would not be shuttered again because the main cause of this shenanigan has not be fully addressed.
And until the Academic Staff Union of the University get their agitations addressed, they might not stop going on strike because in Nigeria, strike is the only language the government understands.