What you are about to read is something you probably know or have heard of but not conscious of.
THESE LYRICS ARE NOT JUST WORDS
(An Analysis of “The Fount”)
Unibadan, fountain head
Of true learning, deep and sound
Soothing spring for all who thirst
Bounds of knowledge to advance
Pledge to serve our cherished goals
That our nation may with pride
Help to build a world that’s truly free.
Unibadan, first and best,
Raise true minds for a noble cause;
Social justice, equal chances
Greatness won with honest toil
Guide our people this to know
Wisdom best to service turned
Help enshrine the right to learn
For a mind that knows is a mind that’s free.
The Fount, University of Ibadan’s anthem is obviously one of those many musical pieces we sing without thinking deeply about the messages their lyrics convey. Staffs as well as students are from my experience as a student of UI abused the lyrics not through singing it alone but by our actions. I will be doing an analysis of the anthem with a mission to remind us all of those traditions that UI upholds which we have restricted to history books and archives only.
“Fountain head of true learning deep and sound”- some lectures are very guilty of not upholding the lyrics of this line. They come to class with notes that are old enough to be referred to as archives, their content and method of teaching never change and they have little or no interest in true learning. “Give to me the way I have given you” is a slogan of such lecturers. If you try to be an intellectual by going the extra mile of importing and applying external relevant knowledge to what you have been taught, your GP will be brilliantly slim fitted.
“Soothing spring for all who thirst/bounds of knowledge to advance”- according to these lines, UI should be a source of knowledge for any individual who wants to develop not just himself but also, his society. However, the kind of knowledge we get will rather make the society retrogress rather than develop. We focus too much on theories when practical activities should be used. For instance, GES 105 is a course that should be accompanied with a practical on farm but the highest point of learning in this course is an assignment that may never get marked. Students acquire past questions, cram them and pass and we take this as success.
In order not to bore you, we should skip the remaining lines of stanza one.
“Unibadan, first and best/raise true minds for a noble cause”– Raising true minds means grooming students with a mind of their own and not puppets of an oppressive government or administration. If we were in the 60s till 80s, these lines might be accepted as valid but in the UI of Prof Olayinka, students do not have a mind of their own. Students with minds of their own are threats to the university management.
Last month, Mr Tunji Ekpeti, Mote was suspended for a semester for participating in a protest that disrupted the “peace” of Indy Hall and University of Ibadan. He is a student with a mind of his own and therefore, must be gagged for he is a threat. Mr Kunle Adebajo, a campus journalist and the editor-in-chief of Mellamby Hall Press too was on Friday April 22nd shown that being a student of your own mind in UI is a crime that can call for a punishment as severe as an extra semester. For performing his duties as a campus journalists and also, calling the attention of the school management to its flaws that may cause harm to the school if no action is taken in time, he received a query letter from the office of the Hall Warden of Mellamby Hall to state why a disciplinary action should not be taken against him for his actions.
Perhaps, UI management has forgotten these lines or just have the lines in the anthem to create an impression of a student friendly school to any outsider who comes across the anthems. Whichever the case may be, it is time the management remembered that these lines are powerful and not just mere lyrics. The management should stop gagging justice.
“Social justice, equal chances”– I won’t dwell too much on this line. In simple terms, our VC forgot these lyrics when he announced to the world that Unibadan of his tenure is not a Unibadan of equality and fairness. It is a Unibadan of undue exercise of power by staff of the university.
“Greatness won with honest toil”– students do not seem to know about this line. If you cheat in examinations, embezzle or mismanage public funds, you are one of our problems in UI and Nigeria at large.
“Guide our people this to know/Wisdom best to service turned/Help enshrine the right to learn/for a mind that knows is a mind that’s free.” – On a final note, our education should liberate us and not the other way round. If a mind that knows will be a chained mind, then we shouldn’t know at all. In other words, I see no sense in being educated if education will not liberate me.
The Fount is without doubt a musical piece with strong lyrics and it is an anthem that summarises what University of Ibadan should stand for. This is why every stake holder in the university community should take time to ponder on the lyrics of the anthem.
AMOS OLUWATOBI ADEJIMI is a 400 level student of the Department of Teacher Education, University of Ibadan. He is a graphics designer, cartoonist and writer. He is the director of Signature graphics. You can contact him through any of these mediums:
FB: Amos OluwatobiAdejimi