“Freedom is not given on a platter of gold by the oppressor; it must be constantly demanded by the oppressed”
The above aphorism has become a cliché with which the out-going President of the Students’ Union is prominently identified with. What are we talking about here? After seven weeks of forced closure of the halls of Residence and stalling of academic activities in the University, the University management deemed it necessary to open the school again. But with a promise to sort issues out with the Union’s stakeholders on Thursday, 16th June, 2016. And who else was more qualified to publicise the meeting than Ahh Speaker himself? He said it at the stakeholders’ meeting of the Union on Saturday, 11th June, he told the UCJUI about it at the interview he granted and he mentioned it on Star F.M. he was emphatic about the why and what of the meeting: THE WELFARE OF STUDENTS – POWER AND WATER.
Quite unfortunately however, barely two hours after the Star F.M. show, the internal memorandum that came out of the office of the Deputy Registrar, Students was that the stakeholders’ meeting of the Union and the Management is in fact meant to serve as a hand-over ceremony. A sane mind expects sensible student leaders to reject such a condition on the spot for three reasons.
Firstly, the memorandum shows how very little the management of the University of Ibadan regards the Students’ Union and its officers. The reasons for which we were sent home and had to spend seven weeks therein have not been resolved and while we hoped it would be resolved on the 16th, what the management is talking about is hand-over. Didn’t Prof. Olayinka say the school would only be re-opened when all issues had been settled? Has Mote been reinstated? For the past two days, power has been epileptic in the University community. What will the condition be when we finally come back? For what reason exactly did we go home for seven weeks? If the hand-over do eventually hold on the 16th, our protest and seven-weeks forced break have been in vain.
Secondly, the planned hand-over is another attempt by the University management to completely silence the resistant voice of UItes over its inadequacies and ineptitude especially on issues of students’ welfarism. Submitting to this shenanigan sends only one message to the public – OUR STUDENT LEADERS HAVE BETRAYED US.
Thirdly, the insinuation that the hand-over will hold at the University senate Chamber is also an indication that the management more than ever before is strongly committed to running the Students’ Union affairs for the students. The situation becomes alarming when one learns that only the outgoing executive members and their newly elected counterparts as well as the four principal officers of the Student Representatives Council are invited. So the generality of UItes will be denied the opportunity of watching power change hands. Why the Senate chamber? THAT IS THE SIXTY-FOUR THOUSAND DOLLAR QUESTION.
Should the hand-over eventually hold, the present leaders of the union as well as the waiting-to-be-crowned leaders are nothing but traitors – betrayal of the generality of UItes, betrayal of the noble cause that made us spend seven weeks of nothingness at home. Should Olateju Aliyu Oladimeji present himself for the hand-over ceremony, the insinuation in some quarters that he is already tired of the Union, and that the activism of the past seven weeks was just camouflage does not becomes truly grounded? And to the other members of the Executive Council, well, they have been unseen and unheard as they remained inactive throughout the struggle. Perhaps the PRO was different but the recent inadequacies from his office have not cost the Union little on the media front. Should any of the executive members elect present themself for the event, then we need no further proof that we have elected self-serving and overambitious fellows to the Kunle Adepeju Building.
Mr. Nifemi Emmanuel Ojo, let it be known that the interest of UItes should be of primary concern to your administration. Please admit that you have erred by saying you saw nothing bad in the hand-over scheduled to hold on Thursday. While you were campaigning, we saw in you a sensitive and responsible leadership. The gaffe shows we were wrong and that we took appearance for reality.
No doubt, the Internal Memo is an assault on the collective intelligence of our Union. It is a shame and a ridiculous insult to our dignity. The fact that our students’ leaders even received the said “memo” is a monumental stain on this struggle and they can start to clean it by writing back to the management that it is UNREASONABLE to put the cart before the horse and the stakeholder meeting must come and gone before we talk of transition. Anything aside this, the message is clear, ALUTA EXPIRED!