Recently, Mr Tunji Ekpeti, popularly known as Mote was rusticated for a semester as a punishment for his involvement in a protest that occurred last November. This action by the school management has been described by many as inhuman and not good for the future of UI and Nigeria at large.
Key facts about the protest have to be established for the sake of Uites who think individuals who think Mote doesn’t deserve an extra semester are fighting a wrong fight and that Mote deserves what he got. Mote wasn’t the only participant of the protest, he didn’t lead the protest, and lastly, the protest was not violent as no school property was damaged nor was anyone harassed. Having established these facts, one would wonder why a harsh punishment like extra semester is dashed out.
In the allegation against Mote, he was alleged to have disturbed the peace of Independence Hall and that of University of Ibadan. It should be noted that the absence of power supply in Indy Hall called for the protest in the first place. How can a hall with no electricity be peaceful? Besides, if the protest disturbed Indy’s peace, the residents are in the right position to complain and not the school management or is any member of the SDC a resident of the hall?
Obviously, the school management wants to make Mote a scape goat and also, send out a warning to every student activist that still exists in UI.This is a huge step in purging, the spirit of struggle and freedom among students.It is without doubt, a plan to groom a generation of Nigerians who will become the definition of Lagabaja’s “200 Million Mumu”. A plan to raise students who will after graduation, add to the social problems of Nigeria, a plan to raise citizens who will be super mute even when governments bring policies that are conspicuously anti-citizens.
What the management is not aware of is that; History will one day, smile at or frown at its decision against Mote.What the school doesn’t know is that activism will be dead in the school and the set of individuals they scare away from activism will one day fail to fight against an anti-citizen government. Whether our dons acknowledge it or not, their hands will be very timeworn to protest one day and the younger generation that can save the day will be too feeble to make a noise.
This anti-student deed will not stop, it will continue to manifest as long as we, as students do not unite to fight this injustice. NASU recently staged a protest that involved the beating of some freshmen but no NASU official has so far, been sacked or arrested. This speaks so much of the flaws of UI’s justice system. Nothing is bad if staffs engage in a violent protest but so many things are wrong in a student’s non-violentprotest.
I challenge every Uite to see Mote’s punishment as a punishment for very Uite and a warning to us all that many strong men will fall in the name of struggle. Let us forget our political, religious and hall differences at this period to defend Mote. If you can’t engage in a physical protest, engage in a social media protest. Facebook posts, twitter tweets, WhatsApp and BBM BCs will go a long way in gaining enough defence for Mote beyond the walls of UI.
I am Amos Oluwatobi Adejimi and I say #FreeMote.