Before I move on, I wish to give the impression that no University will take pride in strikes and riots as it have its toll on the growth and general well-being of such institution. Haven said that, let us now look critically into issues that must have led to such perception amongst the NDU publics.
Suffice to say that academics and administrative problems exists everywhere, the NDU have also had its fair share of challenges that has bedevilled the growth of the institution since early 2016 till date.
Although the challenges that brought about these perceptions had earlier shown its ugly face earlier in February, 2016 “Engine boys’” riot which was also referred to as the MPC Law riot through April, 2016 Lecturer’s Strike, the previous wave of strikes, riots and their consequent disruption of academic activities had commenced since 2018 through 2019.
Before 2018 series of riots and strikes, the MPC Law riots was the beginning of NDU’s delayed academic calendar which lasted till late 2018. Then in 2018, school fees saga came in.
The delay however, was deepened when the school fees riots joined the series of NDU’s woes. As if that was not enough, non-academic staff riots joined, which was as a result of massive sack by the then State government under Gov. Henry Seriake Dickson.
One would have thought this would be the end until the riot turned into a community-school trouble. Then it became like a type of community crisis where government forces protecting the university clashed with the community youths.
Scores of community youths were reportedly killed and injured. This story is an interesting one that cannot be contained here because of its length. Check the link below to read more about it:
In early 2018, another school fees saga erupted. The management had again tampered with the school fees. The increase was technical. The management said students should pay same amount they paid in the previous session.
Meanwhile, NDU school fees were structured in a way that when you entered year two, the fees reduces. When you entered year three, it reduces again. As you enter 400 level it reduces finally. However, with what management said, 100 level then entering 200 level should pay same amount in 200 level. So, in years to come, all levels would be paying same thing.
The students’ community vehemently opposes this idea calling it increment even as management and the government stood on its feet that the fees remains the same as they claim all students are to pay what they had paid in previous session, implying there was no increment.
However, with continued uprising, management agreed that students entering 200 level should pay less N30,000 and they will pay the same amount till they graduate thenceforth. This is the decision upon which the current school fees structure was based.
Till date, any amount you pay in 100 level, as you enter 200 level, you pay less N30,000 and it remains like that till you graduate. That is to say 110,000 in 100 level, and 80,000 in 200 level till final year.
This protest was the very last in the series of riots and protests that took NDU backward in the scheme of Universities’ academic calendar until the recent riot in mid-2021 which was as a result of school fees portal closure.
In this protest, school was shut down, government intervened and a meeting between management, government, community, and students was held in government house, Yenagoa. After resolving the issues, calm came and academic activities resumed. However, before now, time has been far spent.
The Aftermath of Riots that Resulted in NDU Academic Delay (2016-2018)
After all these riots and strikes, a period of peace and tranquillity set in. The NDU became very peaceful as unionism was then banned, leaving the students to focus mainly on their academic activities. Additionally, the NDU management, under the Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumor administration constricted academic activities to ensure that the university met up with academic time.
The VC even proposed a concurrent semester where first semester courses were to hold in the morning while second semester courses were to hold in the afternoon through evenings. This was especially the period in November 2018, when first semester ended on a Friday and second semester started on Monday – a break that took only a weekend.
From thenceforth, the NDU became a very fast University, overtaking all neighbouring Universities and beyond in the academic calendar measurement – universities which were fond of referring to the NDU as a very slow university.
Till date, NDU policies on holidays are still same. For instance, in the break between first and second semester of 2020/2021 academic session, the break also lasted only for a weekend. In fact, second semester have started while first semester examinations were still ongoing. The university management refused to shift the date and students actually wrote first semester exams in the first week of second semester.
Although there are several universities who are ahead of the NDU like the Delta State University, Abraka (DELSU), the fact remains now that the NDU is now confirmably one of the fastest universities in Nigeria, far ahead of Federal University, Otuoke (FUO) amongst other nearby and faraway universities.
The NDU story have therefore, changed for the better. The NDU, with the incumbent Vice Chancellor, Prof. Samuel Gowon Edoumekumor, who doubles as the chairman of all Vice Chancellors in Nigeria and triples as the African Educationist of the year, which invariably makes the NDU as the African University of the Year, now enjoys vibrant, flexible and students’ friendly policies. The environment too has been largely turned around with new classrooms, halls, laboratories, partnership with agencies that support the university and lots more.
So, Does NDU Still Goes On Strike Often?
I believe that I have meticulously elaborated on the issues that led to the stereotype that the NDU goes on strike regularly and is backward in the university academic calendar. If you hear anyone still saying the NDU is backward, the person is still dwelling on old news and information that are now phased out. Such person needed to be enlightened on current trends in the NDU.
So, if you have been given the impression that the NDU is backward and always goes on strike, you should know that such information is either fake of stale. The story has since 2019 grown beyond that stage.
Further, there seemed to be a modern growth in the operations of the NDU. More and more operations are being done online with very friendly policies. If you come to NDU to study, be sure to graduate on time or even before time.
We are anticipating that as the tenure of this management comes to an end come next year (2022), we are hoping the next administration will also act as did this administration who held on to timely and swift policies to the benefit of the students’ community. Until then, I wind this story down.