By Dahood Kolawole Mandela
Apparently, ‘Nifemi Ojo had been declared the winner in the Students’ Union Election of 16th April, 2016 and all things being equal, the swearing-in ceremony will hold tomorrow, Thursday, 16th June at the Senate Chamber of the premier university in Nigeria, University of Ibadan. There is automatic change of appellation from ‘Nifemi Ojo to President-elect. Of course, many of other elected Executive members would also lose their original names and wear new regalia of identities. Sincerely, there will be legitimate transfer of occupancy into ‘Kunle Adepeju Chamber of the Union. It is high time we congratulated the entirety of the outgoing Executive members of the Union under the leadership of Mr. Olateju Aliyu (Ahh Speaker) for their doggedness, ruggedness, assertiveness, responsiveness and stewardship in their simple philosophy in the spate of their administration; and welcomed the newly elected members. Hence, it is paramount at this material time to state categorically that the architectural masterpiece of the Union’s Building was laid on a solid foundation of sacrifice and the in-coming administration should be ready to shoulder some Beowulf-like responsibilities. At this juncture, ‘Nifemi-led administration needs to be reminded that many students aspired and were qualified for these very posts and that the Premier University of Ibadan houses umpteen excellent students who stood chances of representing the causes of the students but the elected students should see it as an unmerited privilege to be here today.
Without doubt, this administration is expected to lead the entire students out of the dungeon of docility where they have been living for a very long time. This administration is expected to be the true voice or mouthpiece of the voiceless and the reliever of students’ pains – The sorcerer that cast off students’ tribulations and the interpreter of students’ mysteries. Symbolically, the Students’ Unionism on this campus has always been the one without “Government” for a very long time. It has always been a metaphorical horse without riders. It has been a stagnant ocean upon which our imaginary ship could not sail. It has always been an end to the beginning of quiescence, doldrum, moratorium and dormancy. It has always been a ground for self-enrichment, self-aggrandizement and self-fulfilment. The Union’s Chamber has always been a hook through which the attention of unscrupulous politicians are captivated: this is an unfair defilement and desecration of the Holy Temple of Struggle. On this very campus in 1956, the National Union of Nigerian Students was established and its 22-year of existence was militant, pugnacious, gladiatorial, belligerent, truculent and rapacious. Its tentacle extended to the then, university of Ife(now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ahmadu Bello University and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The height of its successes was felt in 1978 during “Alli Must Go” in the face of terrible and unredeemable despot, General Olusegun Obasanjo. The names of the actors were since written in gold and the lesson for our hearts is that “No gold is worth much if it comes without a struggle.”
THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND IS NOT SO BAD, WHAT IS MORE JARRING IS THE BLIND LEADING THE SIGHTED. My satisfaction always has no bound whenever I see the illiterate apprentices serving in the kingdom of their master. Half-a-man is the illiterate man and they are already slaved enough to the unfounded and groundless fear. It is obvious that the residents within the four walls of this citadel of learning are far from half-men. We are fully grown men with verdant philosophies. I don’t think we deserve any longer the service of a figurehead, titular-head or cipher in the already desecrated Chamber of our union. It would be a big shame that the entirety of students on this campus who have tasted the sublime wine of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Fagunwa, Socrates, Soyinka, Faraday, Archimedes, Lord Taylor, A.V Dicey, Adam Smith, etc. would be led by unassertive, wimpish and feeble leader. Therefore, it will be my joy, first, if this new leadership of the Union could see it as a sacred obligation the welfare of the entire students on campus and off campus: the lasting solution should be found to the epileptic power supply; and the Hall wardens should stop bamboozling students with inverters. The blackout on campus endangers the students’ lives and lighting the streets will be a welcome development. Water is life and students should not be denied this. Do not tell me it cannot be done. It can, it will, it must be done.
Rome. Athens. Carthage. These made examples of the City-states in the human history. The people’s co-existence was communal. And their election and decisions were unanimous, harmonious and congenial. This aspect of the City-states is what I adore. The University of Ibadan is unarguably the microcosm of the macrocosm which the entire city of Ibadan represents. The students are expected to take or make their beloved decisions within their community. If truly you would represent my voice and our collective voices then everyone should be part of the decision-making process for the greatness of our Union. The University of Ibadan is a City-State. We students are the citizens of the state. Every decision-making in this City-State should be a product or by-product of our collective decision. Let the Congress decide in every decision making. It had been proved in the old eras of Rome, Carthage, Sparta and Athens that “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” This is not an imposition but a clear suggestion because I believe these voracious and rapacious readers believe in collective decisions of the Congress and not the decisions behind the curtains, in the presence of the puppet-like leadership of the Union and conservative Management. Take it or leave it, I will follow you if the students make your priority-list. I will proclaim you if you’re not the holder of the devil’s long spoon. I will make myself the writing PEN on the marble of excellence that will tell the world what you are made of. This is my corroboree and I believe YOU and I will not agree to be led by a blind man.