Tupac Shakur and the Irony of ASUU and National Development

 

Tupak Shakur was shot 21 years ago today.This kinda reminds me that I am turning to a grandpa.RIP Shakur!Seems like yesterday.

In a very weird happenstance,ASUU was also on strike this time 21 years ago.This also reinforces the morbid fear in me that Nigeria would remain the same forever if it is not restructured. The then federal government has always been at war with ASUU since it stole the universities from regions that founded them.They have never been able to manage the universities so why not give them back to the owners and hands off education administration?

Dr Attahiru Jega-led ASUU fought Babangida tooth and nail.He handed the baton to Prof Assisi Asobie who also locked horns with Abacha in 1995-96.It was the worst ASUU strike ever.

JAMB released results of the 2 December 1995 exams and universities were deep into the admission when another round of strike commenced.We were waiting for UNN to release the names of the second batch of candidates that were offered provisional admission when ASUU announced the strike.We were still hanging around the Admission Dept notice boards daily,despite the strike, waiting for them to change their mind and splash the papers containing our second batch names.

Uche came up from Zik’s Flat the following morning and told us that he heard over the radio that Tupak was shot the night before.We became silent for several minutes in disbelief.Then 3 of us agreed to go straight to Enugu to confirm it.There were no mobile phones or internet at the time.There were about 2-3 Nitel phone booths at Nsukka and the queues used to be staggering.

Rap City Jamz was opposite Uche’s house in Enugu.It was one of the two modern music studios in the city at the time.They supplied everyone and the radio stations with CDs.

A sizable crowd gathered in front of Rap City Jamz in Uwani,Enugu for more than one week, keeping vigil over Shakur who was receiving treatment in a hospital in Nevada.We stayed there day and night waiting for someone in America to call the studio and relay news about Tupak Shakur.When he died about 5 days later,the world around us briefly came to an end.

We still managed to return to the Nigerian reality of ASUU strikes and several months of university closure.I keep wondering if there will ever be a significant difference between my Nigerian experience and that of my grandchildren.

Rest in peace Tupak Shakur!

 

 

Written by

Nwe Mbe Nwaniga

 

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