If there is one thing that can be regarded as a cause and effect happening among various Nigerian Universities, it is that every proposed increment or actual increment in tuition fees is usually accompanied by objections and protests from the students and concerned masses. However, this is most times hardly resolved amicably as one will eventually accept “defeat”.
To a great extent, it can be rightly concluded that the relationship between the University management and students is a fiduciary one akin to that of a doctor and his patients. It is pertinent that in every fiduciary relationship, any decision to be made by the one whom trust is reposed, which is likely going to be detrimental to the one who repose the trust must first be brought to the notice of the latter, otherwise, the element of fraud will be presumed. For example, a doctor can’t go ahead with an operation likely to endanger the life of his patient without prior consent of the patient or his families. If he does, any damage incurred will be borne by him. I am not inferring that our consent be sought before the increment, but there is the place of openness which is discussed below.
Indeed, the management may have genuine reasons for the increment, but since they have decided to do this at the back of their students who are the victims, thinking that all their decisions will be followed dogmatically as if the students are followers with no heads, it only emphasizes their fraudulent intent. After all, no one involves a victim in the plan against him.
With due respect, we all are intellectuals in a higher institution of learning acclaimed to be the first and the best, hence it is expected of us to set precedents for the outside world. But rather, we have adopted the same approach, doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.
All these issues would not have occurred if two things had been in place: transparency and openness. For more than half a decade, the University has been collecting the sum of #14,000 for a bed space and some allocations from the federal government for the maintenance of the hostels, but I have never seen a detailed report on the use of the money. Even if they feel publishing a report for mere students will hurt their pride, they should consider that integrity is more important and it can never be bought but earned. If a report was published and students saw what the managements are claiming to be the reason for the increment, I am sure this struggle would never have been conceived. The reason most citizens of developed countries are willing to pay their taxes, despite slight increment or huge increment is because they can see visible results of their money. It is a universal principle that he who is faithful over a little shall be entitled to more.
The other arm of the forgotten balm is openness. Openness in this sense is the right of participation; involving all necessary stakeholders in decision making. What the University management did yesterday was what they should have done as at when the “Senate” met to discuss the increment.
However, in conclusion, it is better to be late than never. Hence, I commend the approach with which the issue is being tackled. It is indeed a step in the right direction, different from what was obtainable before. It is my hope that the result will be pleasing to all.