‘Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances’ – Sun Tzu
We have decided to borrow the words of the Sun Tzu (a military strategist, philosopher and the author of the book The Art of War) because of the seemingly current War between the school management and the Students Union of the University of Ibadan. This man coined this quote as means of intimating people on how to decisively defeat ones opponent. Sun Tzu’s book is however recommended not only for the soldiers but politicians and those involved in welfarism. In lieu of this, we make bold to also recommend this book The Art of War to Ojo and his cabinet (both official and unofficial) so that, they can have another glimpse of what strategy means aside the Aluta approach of protest at the slightest chance.
Strategy according to Pete is “A style of thinking, a conscious and deliberate process, an intensive implementation system, the science of insuring future success. We do not at this period key into an ideology that is hastily cooked up by minions and sold out to the majority of students by a leader, an approach that is not a product of rigorous mental exercise that is aimed at critically adopting an entirely different approach from the first (Aluta protest – shut down lecture theatres and roads, all in the name of letting the world know) as well as examining the consequences and gains of such action. The whole essence of choosing a strategy in the first place is to perform activities differently than rivals do; but as it stands now, it is obvious the management are ten steps ahead and overconfident in their well-rehearsed and age-old script while our Students Union leaders are still adopting Captain Bluntschlis war tactics of 1894 that led to Serbias defeat in the book ‘Arms and the Man’.
As it seems now, using the same old approach which has yielded no result on the part of the students but which has been beneficial to the school management should not be an option for the driver of the Patriotic intelligentsia. No; closing down the school and even going a step ahead as to engage the services of allies should not be even mentioned or thought of amongst you at this period. You can bet that, if the shut down attempt by the students should be successful, it would literally lead to the closure of the school again and this time, for a longer period of which the whole essence of the struggle initially would have been defeated. Also, considering the fact that, it is because Ojo is still a student of the University of Ibadan and a student leader that he can still approach feeble like mind authorities and they will give him listening ears as well as offer only verbal support; what if his next action might warrant the school management of stripping him of his studentship? It should be noted that that the actions and inactions of our students union leaders as well as students in few days will either give credence to whatever actions the school management might want to take and which should ordinarily spark outrage from the crème de la crème of the society. In other words, do not play into the hands of the school again. Who says the battle cannot be won even when the school is in session. Do not be carried away with the support that students are giving you when in actual fact; they are fighting for more time to read for exams as the exam date caught most people unawares.
However, it is not to say that the school management are saints who need not atone for their sins. Infact, it will not be out of place to say they are untruthful and they are a scam if we are to go by the statements as well as moves of the school since the war started. Initially, the Vice-Chancellor promised that the I.D would be ready by middle of July before the protest started and then coming back to rescind his statement that, the production of the I.D card would take three months. His statements thus far defy logic of reasoning. Does it mean past Vice-Chancellors circumventing the due process and are not thorough while trying to issue I.D cards as at when due? Why does the school have to wait to the point of when students started agitating for I.D cards before they started making moves? If the school management are truly sincere and honest in their dealings as regards students welfarism, why channel lots of resources that could hitherto have solved some of the lingering issues to irrelevant areas?
In the same vein, the managements decision to lock down the Kunle Adepeju Building is unwarranted and absolutely unnecessary; it could be described as something close to disposing the eggs of a hen after its demise. It will be in the managements best interest to make the building accessible to other student organizations that use the building. It is also important to reiterate at this point that if anything should happen to any student, the blood will be on the management and the Students Union both of which are obviously in an ego war. Little or nothing can be achieved with the totalitarian stance of the University senate. Just like a Yoruba adage, that if a child is behaving like a child, an elder should behave like an elder. If the child has refused to call for dialogue, what is stopping the elders? We implore the management to imbibe the golden rule from the scriptural injunction which says Do Unto Others as You Would Have them Do Unto You
The resolve of the Union remains that, locking down the school at this period is not the panacea to the various demands of the Students Union tabled before the school management. It will rather lead to other brewing issues which should literally not be the bone of contention now and which have been blocked from being envisioned by certain individuals who have nothing to lose.
There are a thousand and thousands of ways to go about this struggle without the closure of the school. One only needs the right strategy, mechanics, tactics and sincere collaborators. A proverb says the “falling down of a tree is a warning to others too”. Take a cue from LAUTECH and how everything alutalistic has failed to open their school nor met their various demands after several months until, some rational beings adopted new strategies that is leading them to victory. Remember the proverb that says he who fights and run, live to fight another day. The SU should go back to the drawing board, listen to dissenting opinions, consult widely and this time consult the right people; thereafter, understand and fashion out an intelligent strategy. Dialogue is not a bad idea at this level.
These are the bitter pills we as the Union of Campus Journalists (UCJUI) can afford to prescribe at this moment but it is left to take it as a remedy to this sickness or battle the sickness itself all year long. We end with the quote from Sir Brian Pitman that ‘There is always a better strategy than the one you have; you just havent thought of it yet’.