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ASUU: Parable of the barking dog

Chukwuebuka.NwaforChukwuebuka Nwafor
  • 6 May


SIR: It will be both unfair and unreasonable to expect a dog not to bark, considering that to be its innate inclination, which it does for many reasons. Sometimes however, the barking of the dog is considered excessive, overwhelming, disruptive and even debilitating.

Is ASUU, the barking dog tiring us out with its incorrigible compulsive barking or its owner is just deliberately being inhumane to it by inciting it to bark for fun?

ASUU, the umbrella of the university teaching staff in Nigeria, is not a rabid or demented dog, thus, when it barks, it is telling you something. It appears that since the conception of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, it has barely rested from its successive owners. Barely 10 years after its establishment, it was proscribed by the government on grounds of seeking autonomy and fair wages. No sooner was it allowed to resume activities than the Ibrahim Babangida – led government placed a ban on it for being too ferocious. So far, what we can say, from what we have seen, is that this rest denied and restive dog has been made to go through tortuous and infuriating cycle of barking in the hands of its inherited owners.

Some people have faulted the dog for its disturbing noise while others think its owner is the mischief maker. Evidently, its current owner, just like its former inheritors, tend to detest its barking and sometimes have punished it differently in their own radical and rascally ways. In some cases, the barking dog has had its salary withheld, halved, or arbitrarily delayed. Considering how Nigerians are faring amidst the brawl between ASUU and the federal government, I feel so concerned and perturbed.

Can’t the dog owner pay attention to its barking dog, at least, for once? For how long will this popular dog keep barking? Is our educational system not being imperilled by the dog and its owner? Can’t the dog be de-barked? When will the barking dog and its owner see each other as cooperative creatures?

But one thing I know- the dog is neither demented nor its present owner without affection or emotion. I also know that between (1994 and 1996) the dog was left to bark for almost a year; by 1999, the dog was made to bark again for about five months; by 2001, the dog barked for another three months; in 2002 and 2009, the energetic dog barked for six months respectively. This is 2020, the dog, pitiably, is at it again- I am afraid ASUU, the barking dog may not cease barking in our time.

Chukwuebuka.NwaforChukwuebuka Nwafor

I have known this restive energetic enlightened barking dog for long; when it barks, it does not seek attention. When it barks, it is only calling the attention of its owner to justice, cooperation and collaboration. Most times it barks to ward off threats and seek the upgrade of universities. I believe that the government should have learnt that one way to de-bark this energetically well-read barking dog is to let lie. In honesty, it is high time, I believe, that the sycophants of the government researched the story behind the popular English idiom- let sleeping dogs lie.


Disclaimer: This article is an opinion piece written by Samuel Ogunnaike for The Nation Newspaper.