BEING A PRESS STATEMENT FROM UNION OF CAMPUS JOURNALISTS, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN
That the Students’ Union building has been under complete administrative lockdown following the May 29 2017 #NO ID CARD; NO EXAM protest is no longer news. However, in what is a twist of events, UCJ UI on Thursday – May 2nd alongside other sister organizations (JCI, Unibadan; AISIEC; ANNUNSA) were allowed complete access to their respective offices.
While perhaps this is no time for (full) narratives yet, an insight as to what went down and how we got here will be provided for future references and credits where due.
THE 31ST ADMINISTRATION: The lockdown of SUB was during the mid – UCJ UI 30th administration and not much could be done with regards to recovering the offices. Most importantly, access to some documents for administrative purposes was completely frustrated and denied. This same scenario persisted in 2018 during the 31st administration.
The movement for re-opening of the SUB was undertaken by JC Tobi – then JCI president and now IPP (Immediate Past President) alongside the then UCJ UI president – John Akinteye. Letters were written to authorities praying the removal of the manacles clamped on the entrance to the left wing all to no avail. More should really be said about the efforts of these persons and perhaps other persons unknown in their attempts at re-opening SUB. And even though it couldn’t be achieved in their time, it was fundamental for future efforts. Perhaps, at a later date, a complete review will be done of attempts at re-opening of the SUB and administrations without their secretariats when deemed time-fit.
THE 32ND ADMINISTRATION: The Martins Isaac – led UCJ UI 32nd administration was sworn in on November 17 2018 – Unibadan Founders’ Day.
Consequently, efforts were renewed at getting back the locked offices. In one of Mr. Martins’ several discussions with Gbenga Sadik – the then TLDS (The Literary and Debating Society) president (as at January 2019) at the Students Affairs Division (precisely the Deputy Dean’s office); he mentioned that a letter is needed through the Dean of Students to the Vice Chancellor. This was confirmed by the Deputy Dean himself who affirmed that the VC had requested one.
However, in another move, the president of UCJ UI had informed the newly formed (but yet to be inaugurated) P.A.S.G – Presidential Alumni Support Group of developments regarding UCJ UI’s secretariat. Subsequently, members of the P.A.S.G ably led by the first president (Dr. Bayo Ajala/1987) met with the Vice Chancellor to convince him on re-opening the office in a short-notice schedule on January 28th 2019.
That, earmarks the official date for the struggle to get back the secretariat. According to Dr. Demola Lewis – the deputy dean of students, the letter for the re-opening should be co-signed with the four other organizations – JCI Unibadan; AISIEC UI, ANUNSA UI and Rotaract Club. The letter, signed by all was ready coincidentally on the same day P.A.S.G met with the Vice Chancellor and submitted to the Dean through the Deputy Dean for his signature and processing. It is worthy of note that it was forwarded to the appropriate quarter swiftly and then got delayed. However, following series of other meetings with other authorities and persistence; the letter was attended to by the Vice Chancellor, referred, exchanged hands on numerous occasions and then approved by the Vice Chancellor himself between the last two weeks of April and early May. On May 2 2019, the Dean of Students gave his blessings as well and referred it to the Chief Security Officer at the Security Unit who consequent upon meeting him agreed to re-open the office on Thursday giving Wednesday was a public holiday – Workers’ Day.
On Thursday, UCJ UI, JCI UI, AISIEC UI and ANUNSA UI made it to the security unit in charge of the Students’ Union Building to implement the approval already granted by all authorities concerned. That all was rosy at this final stage having gotten the approvals of the VC, Dean of Students and the CSO would be a blatant lie. But then, perhaps they couldn’t be blamed for their attitude and actions premised on several things chief of which borders on the interpretation of the directives contained in the letter and unwillingness to err their employer. Eventually, the president of UCJ UI had to reach a verbal but stern agreement on the use of the SUB as well as sign an undertaken for all offices opened.
To answer a few questions asked thus far, there are no express condition for which the offices were opened except for that implied by the Director of Operations at the Chief Security Division and expressly reiterated in the verbal agreement reached with the senior security personnel in charge of the SUB.
On if this is an indication we are closer to getting the SU and SRC reinstated – a question already asked by many; “if I would give an honest reply again, I would say no. Everything points at a longer process that has to be kickstarted by students themselves, not in protest, media assault, e-campaigns. But determination, resilience, undaunting persistence in negotiation and lobbying, then time-sacrifice. Experience and current situation of things favour the new council of faculty presidents and Hall chairpersons as the agent of change.” The UCJ UI will always be at every point, ready to help and if permitted use the word ‘guide’.
Lastly, sincere gratitude goes to all persons involved in the process of re-acquiring the locked secretariat, both mentioned and unmentioned. Although the DVC RISP – Professor Adeyemo Olanike would always say an office-holder should not be ‘praised’ for doing what they are paid to do; we are forever grateful to the Vice Chancellor, the Dean of Students, the Deputy Dean (for his initial efforts), the CSO for granting and implementing the request.
A more detailed verse of what transpired especially between January 28 and April 2 will be contained in ‘my’ version of MEIN KAMPF. It will include the efforts of Uncle ‘Fisayo Soyombo during a sojourn to his office, the efforts and visit of Dr. Adebayo Ajala, Mr. Abraham Oladipupo and Sir ‘Oredollar’ Ibrahim, the strategic advice of Gbenga Sadik, everyday advise and support of Alagba Arowosafe Samuel and John Akinteye, the heart-warming reception of the Secretary to the Vice Chancellor (whom I don’t know her name but ‘will identify me even in her dreams), the needed support from JCI UI’ IPP – JC Tobi and the executive council of UCJ UI, the security operatives on the Third Floor of Trenchard Hall and all others worthy of mention. It will be a critical writing then.