EDITORIAL: A Troubled Union and Its Message

The cloud of insecurity has enveloped the bustling, rusty, and loquacious city of Ibadan for the past couple of years, and students of the University of Ibadan, particularly those residing in Agbowo and Barika communities, have had a fair share of the terror rained by armed robbers and cult groups. The university management is evidently helpless, likewise the landlords and caretakers of Agbowo. The past Students’ Union executive council, led by Segun Akeju jaunted from one stakeholder to another, pleading, lobbying, and deliberating until one, two, three, and more students were killed, while many victims are still nursing the physical and psychological injuries sustained.

The governor of the state is either clueless or unaware of his position as the Chief Security Officer of the state. A man whose public relations gimmicks are so effective that he is erroneously paraded as the best governor in the Southwest region, or even in Nigeria. How low have we reduced the bar of quality governance in this country?

The current executive council of the students’ union led by Adeyinka Adewole, since its inauguration, has demonstrated a strong desire for change, and a passion for the welfare and wellbeing of students. We would not pretend to be unaware that upon assuming office, Adeyinka went on a mission of stakeholders’ consultations. He met the university management; he met with the landlords, he met with some students living off-campus; he also met with heads of Police divisions around the university. And most importantly, he said he has met with representatives of the state government; yet the assailants continue their nightly attacks.

Just last week, there were media reports of two separate armed robbery attacks in Agbowo/Barika communities, resulting in the death of one person, while some persons sustained injuries. Yet Mr. Makinde and his army of publicists cum cyber warriors, are not alarmed at the frequency of these attacks. There are no visible moves to change the narrative; there is no pronouncement assuring the students’ community that his government was on top of the situation. The union leaders ran out of patience; unlike his predecessor, Adeyinka would not spend a whole year in the desert of diplomacy. He did what a concerned leader should do by confronting the culpable authority and giving an ultimatum.

The tone was explicit. It showed that the union was frustrated, troubled, yet unyielding in its desire for change. The message was also simple and understandable. It did not only call the bluff of the ineffectual authority in the state, it also calls for urgency of action from the supposed Security chief. But what reactions are we getting from commentators and spectators? “It is below UI standard” “The writer did not adhere to the rules of grammar”; “it is too harsh”; and all sorts of cacophonous commentaries intended to derail the discourse.

We do not care if the Public Relations Officer of the union has not been taking his English courses seriously, we already noticed that in his presentation at the Press Night and manifesto night, yet the students voted for him. All we care about is that lives are being lost, properties of struggling students are being looted, and students of the Premier University, in the city of Ibadan, just about 5-minutes’ drive from the office of “Nigeria’s most performing governor”, are living in perpetual apprehension of death. This is the agitation of the union but it is indeed shameful that some people are more concerned about writing techniques and concord.

When the climate is safe, and the sun shines peace, we would recommend writing courses to our PRO; we would also advise that a Public relations committee be established with the incorporation of skilled writers and eloquent communicators; but before then, we lend our voice to that of the union leaders to call on the governor to please protect us.

We, members of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union, are troubled, apprehensive, and clamouring for the deployment of security officers to Agbowo and Barika communities, and an end to these attacks, so that students can sleep with their eyes closed.

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