By Bewaji Emmanuel
Now on OAU, #ReopenOAU. Following the happenings in the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria as broadcasted by the CoNnect Media, students have recently taken to the social media demanding the immediate reopening of the institution. The campaign which could be credited selectively to the Association of Campus Journalists (ACJ, OAU) has been a huge success so far as this innovative cyber campaign has attracted loads of attention from various required individuals, areas including the government herself..
However, controversies had arisen within the studentry being “ever conscious Ife” whereby some in their critical observations believes the campaign language #ReopenOAU does not represent the interest of students wholly and should be modified, some believes the campaign is stinkingly stenched with self interest while others strongly and basically stands with #ReopenOAU:
- “An Open letter to ACJ OAU
I’m not unthankful to ACJ for her conccern ever since this leadership tussle plaguing our citadel of learning started. In a crucial time like this when the student union is still battling with reinstatement, ACJ seems to be the greatest option for solace.
At this crucial time, it is obvious that none of the so called sister union has any concern for the student.One doesn’t need to be told any longer that the students are on thier own.Anyway,that’s not where I’m heading to.
I felt so elated and impressed today when I discovered ACJ OAU has come up with “wewanttoresume” campaign. I believe it’s a very good idea from ACJ.After all, you can only get what you want with what to you have.
Taking a second look at the campaign, I feel the campaign is much more ephemeral and momentary.That is, praying for resumption now wouldn’t be a lasting solution to our problem.Looking at the situation of things presently, OAU is now a year behind other universities in the nation.Even schools that are known with unstable calendar are now a year ahead of OAU.The point now is,even if our resumption request is granted, that doesn’t mean the management would devise a means of catching up with the calendar,we would still go at our normal “snail” pace.perhaps our cry for resumption is granted, how are we sure that in two months time,we won’t go on strike again?
I could remember this time last year,the calendar wasnt so bad as this. Other schools were still leading us with just a semester. This is to show you that the system is getting worse day by day.
On a point of recommendation and solution, I would like if ACJ can reason along with me on the following:
That we write an open letter to Nigerain University Commission (NUC).
That NUC should come and look into the system for us.If OAU itself cannot manage her calendar,then an external body should be able to do so for her.
That ACJ should publish the open letter in one of the National dailies.
Perhaps, ACJ can get a direct contact with the leadership of NUC,I believe that would also be a fast way of making our cries heard.
I believe none of these is impossible for ACJ to accomplish and I’m so sure we can achieve all these only if we are determined to do it.
If we continue to fold our arms,I’m so confident that the calendar will be worse than this in a matter of months.
Let it not just be “wewanttoresumeOAU” bt #NUCsaveourcalendar”#wewantoresumeOAU”
A concerned Greatife student
- “#ReOpenOAU : THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK
In my last statement i raised my sincere
observations on the #ReOpenOAU trend. I tagged
it as an “anti-student trend in disguise”. This,
however, is true. The truth is vivid, for those who
are ready to reason without sentimental
attachment. As a student i am sternly against
unstable academic calendar, but the cause of
unstable academic calendar must be understood
and addressed. In the last four semesters, the
school has been shut down four times! The
reasons for this must be understood and
addressed. Lamentably, the condition that led to
these shut downs are still obtainable and yet to
be addressed, ”if the real demands are not
meant we will only continue to run the 360
Degree race of students and workers unrest, to
school closure and thus unstable academic
calendar.” This is a fact that must be noted.
WHAT ARE THE REAL DEMANDS OF STUDENTS?
Of course, the reopening of the school is a
demand that is popular but some students fail to
see the necessary demands. Some things led to
the shutdown of the school, if these things are
not addressed then the #ReOpenOAU trend
might become a traditional trend, because
without necessary issues been addressed,
imminent shut downs are inevitable. Without the
conditions that led to school shut down there
would have been no need for a campaign to
reopen the school. The necessary things that
should be done but are undone will only lead us
to future school closure. In 2014, the school was
shut down due to an astronomic hike in fees, the
increment and its catastrophic effects are still
unattended to. In 2015, the unpaid backlog of
allowances of members of NASU led to a
struggle which resulted into the closure of the
school- the allowances are still unpaid. Again, in
2015, students also embarked on a struggle
against the horrific and lamentable living and
learning condition and also a demand for the
immediate and unconditional reinstatement of
Olawale Owolabi (Ogunruku), responded to by the
university management with the closure of the
school. However, the horrendous welfare
condition is still obtainable, even in an
aggravated form. The current school closure is
the response of the University management to
the demands of workers. Aside, the autocratic
imposition of a VC on members of the University
community, the unpaid workers salaries and
allowances- which was what led to shutting
down of the school in 2015- is also a demand. In
short, conditions that led to the four recent
closures are still unaddressed, and new problems
are also emerging. Not addressing these issues
would imply that ”we will only continue to run
the 360 Degree race of students and workers
unrest, to school closure and thus unstable
The political sin of the proponents of the #
ReOpenOAU is that, they not only dangerously
narrowed the demands of Great Ife students but
also ”use the plight of the students to cover the
criminalities of the school authorities while
omitting the real students demands.” This was
explained in my last article and must also be
explained here too. ”The proponents of the #
ReOpenOAU trend have not the interest of the
students in mind. It intentionally choses the
trend because it would be a popular position of
students but the aim is anti-student. The trend is
a disguise towards hoodwinking the students to
supporting a pro-management position. The blunt
synonym is “quickly solve the crisis from the
surface, in order for our masters to go scot-free,
students can continue to wallow in their
horrendous condition, who cares? All we want is
that our masters go scot-free! This is the plain
truth. Students must look beyond the surface of
this trend, as it is an endorsement of the
imposed VC. This fact was exposed
unintentionally by the main proponents of the
trend- ACJ-OAU PRESIDENT.
REACTIONS AND CONFESSIONS
The #ReOpenOAU trend saw a lot of reactions
from students; I have stated earlier that the
proponents deliberately chose the demand and
cloud other demands. The reopening of the
campus is a demand that students would support
without a second thought- this is why it was
chose. As expected, some students were unable
to critically examine this trend, unable to reason
without sentimental attachment. After the
criticism of the trend, the ACJ-OAU president
was forced, by popular reactions, to confess and
expose the motive behind such trend- he might
not be brilliant enough to notice.
Larry Sam- The ACJ-OAU president- said he
received a call from ‘someone’ asking him to
support Prof. Salami- the imposed VC- according
to him the call lasted for 32 minutes and a lot of
promises was made to him. Notably, this
happened a day before he kick started the #
ReOpenOAU trend! Again, he never mentioned
who called him, he did not mention to students
what his position was (His actions after that did)
, and he fails to state why he kick started such
trend a day after he received a call from the
quarters of the imposed VC. I have stated that
the trend on the surface is pro-students, but
indepth it is anti-student, to put it clearly, it is an
anti-student trend in disguise.
Larry Sam said ”They (some students) want him
to support NASU and SSANU” he conceives the
struggle as a fight between the NASU and
SSANU and Prof. Salami- the imposed VC. But
this is not the case; it is obviously a fight for
justice and not against personalities. However,
Larry Sam is free to support either the
Management or the students’ interest, TY made
that decision a long time ago, but he should not,
while supporting the management, drag the
generality of Great Ife students along, for we are
also free; free to fight for our rights. Notably,
Larry Sam did not commit this crime alone; he
has as an accomplice, the notorious Omotayo
Against the backgrounds of these atrocities and
the obvious stabbing of students in the back,
students should modify the #ReOpenOAU trend
in their full interest. It should encompass the
broad demands of students. However, the futility
of an uncoordinated and haphazard media
campaign must be stressed. Students who are
able to resume to campus should come and in a
coordinated manner place pressure on the
Federal Government to meet the demands of
ALUTA CONTINUA VICTORIA ASCERTA
Consequently, the leadership of the ACJ OAU had issued an open letter to this effect signed by her PRO, Abegunde Cephas, Gen.Sec, Adebayo Faith and President, Olanrewaju Samuel:
Association Of Campus Journalists, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife
Pressroom: Fajuyuhall, Block 2,Topmost Floor, OAU Ile-Ife
AN OPEN LETTER
We write to inform you of the current shut down of Obafemi Awolowo University located in Ile-Ife,Osun State Nigeria.
Obafemi Awolowo University was shut down on 22nd day of June, 2016, two days before the Varsity was meant to resume for her 2015/16 session.
It is with Great concern that we write this letter not just because of the current closure but also because of other issues that have remained unsolved over the years.
In Obafemi Awolowo University, Students are always at the receiving end of constant crisis that has always threatened their future.
This current shut down can be traced to alleged illegality in Appointing a Vice Chancellor for the institution and the over 76months Allowance that the University is owing Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities which they have protested.
As Students we have endured the constant closure of our citadel which has caused Psychological trauma to us from time to time.
We have gone on strike every year in the last five years and this has led to untold hardship even on our parents who struggle to ensure we get qualitative Education.
Anomalies that have rocked our institution has made mockery of the Greatness of Obafemi Awolowo University which Students, strive to protect.
This closure is coupled with the current state of hostels in the University which has not received attention for years now even after Students protest and Campaign demanding for better welfare, some students have suffered victimization fighting for this cause but due to the undying love we have for the citadel even with the current state of welfare we have always defended the sanctity of the University with the best of our abilities as Students.
The current shut down has left many of our students abandoning Education due to situations beyond their control and even situations caused by idleness.
The Federal Government of Nigeria dissolved our University Governing Council and has failed to reconstitute another one, the same Federal Government failed to fast track appointment of an Acting Vice chancellor for the institution , not considering the fact that Obafemi Awolowo University Students have been at home for over 90days doing nothing.
Obafemi Awolowo University in its glorious days prides itself as the most productive University in Nigeria but when Students are not even allowed to graduate our productivity becomes questionable.
We find it important to write this because we are tired of been reduced to the streets due to constant closure of the University, whenever we attend a lecture we always have fears that the next day might come with no lecture because the school may have been shut suddenly.
We believe that if issues surrounding dilapidated structures,Workers welfare, Poor Hostels, Epidemic Calendar, Victimization of Students, appalling welfare are looked into, Students would not have to go home and abandon their Education involuntarily.
We have started a Social media Campaign to air our grievances, we have started trending the hashtag ReopenOAU but we believe that if Obafemi Awolowo University is managed very well, it has the potential to become one of the best around the globe.
We want to use this medium to ask that the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency constitute a New Governing Council for the institution and immediately appoint an Acting Vice Chancellor for the institution so that Students can resume.
Students have been at the receiving end of the mismanagement in Obafemi Awolowo University and we do not want to be used like slaves anymore,we are human too and we have a future to protect.
The Federal Government of Nigeria should also look into the administration of the University in the last five years, Students believe that the University was poorly managed and Students want the Federal Government to set up a panel to thoroughly investigate how OAU has been managed from 2011-2016.
We are in the month of July,2016 and we are yet to commence 2015/16 session, with the current conditions in the labor market, there are bracket and age limit to employment opportunities , and we are falling off the age bracket .
Our Students have lost out in internship programs and scholarships due to the constant shut down of the University.
Conclusively, we believe that Education with quality is our right, the Federal Government of Nigeria needs to always put future leaders first in their plans.We also want all quarters involved in affairs of the University to put Students interest at heart and ensure that they play their part without selfish motivations or individual glories.We are interested in making our citadel return back to its former glory.
Meanwhile, as efforts continue from various angles concerning OAU, the case between the management and NASU/SSANU OAU involving the appointment of the new VC has been adjourned yet again to October 5, the Senate in a tweet by the Nigerian senate president, Sen. Bukola Saraki has however mentioned that the house will look into the matter in the plenary session which has been reported to hold today 12 July 2016 by 10am in response to #ReopenOAU.
© CoNnect Media House