By Bewaji Emmanuel
Following the tactical suspension of Omole Ibukun, a well known student activist in Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria by the management due to a post allegedly written and debunked by him which carries such title – Animals In The Senate” and other controversial subsequent events; the tactical suspension of Omole Ibukun has however been recently lifted as confirmed by the concerned individual.
He in his most recent article addressed his reinstatement, titled:
“MY ‘TACTICAL’ REINSTATEMENT*
(LESSONS LEARNT FROM MY TACTICAL SUSPENSION AND UNCONDITIONAL REINSTATEMENT)
On Friday 30th September, 2016, I was called urgently by the university management for a meeting at the Office of the Vice-Chancellor as regards my ‘tactical’ suspension. This was after a lot of attempts have been made to convince my Uncle to come around, but to no avail, due to his busy schedule. It was in this meeting that the Vice-Chancellor, alongside other principal officers of the university, expressed the readiness to open my e-portal page, *only if I could sign an undertaking to continue to be of good behavior and eschew violence. I joyfully did this as it suits my goal and remains in line with my matriculation oath – an oath I haven’t broken till now. My e-portal page was finally opened on Tuesday 4th of October, for me to register for the ongoing session.
- This process has taught me that no university management (no matter its conditions of assumption of power and reputation) can be pro-student. Every university management, on the basis of the underfunding and mismanagement that has impoverished the education sector, will do everything to force poor welfare policies (mandated by the irresponsibility of the government-their employers) down the throat of students by clamping down on student activists and maintaining a mind-control over students. This, therefore, means that the job of a conscious student or a conscious students’ union is not to praise any university administrator, but to put them on their toes, by checking and putting pressure on them.
That a political suspension is neither a stigma nor a viable threat to genuine-minded students, and reinstatement is not something you have to necessarily BEG for. It is what you do after your suspension that matters. Only the power of mass consciousness and the threat of the demonstration of Students’ power could have made the same university management, who walked out of a meeting exactly two weeks ago for the fact that I refused to admit to some trumped-up charges, to exigently call for a resolution of the crises they refused to attend to in the first instance. Organized student demands must not be limited to lobbying and negotiations (which we did for over four weeks), but must employ confrontational ‘peaceful’ political moves wherever necessary.
That, as against what most representatives of the management always insinuate, the reinstatement of Olawale Bukunmi Owolabi aka. Ogunruku is still very possible and it only takes a replication of genuine agitations and organized political actions, like the one employed in this case, to achieve it. Olawale Owolabi was the aluta songs leader for the peaceful protests that was staged against the 2011 1000% increment in acceptance fees. He was a direct-entry-direct-entry student (no longer a freshman, after years of taking a Diploma course in the school) and an already known student activist, who was directly affected then by the increment in acceptance fees. He was already a matriculated student, who had paid his school fees, before his suspension. He was suspended illegitimately and the letter of suspension was forwarded to him through his Faculty and Department. HIS REINSTATEMENT IS STILL VERY POSSIBLE, IF THAT OF ANTHONY FASHAYO WAS POSSIBLE AFTER ABOUT A DECADE OF SUSPENSION. His reinstatement is not just for his own personal career, but to ensure that the university management stops using him as a point of reference to scare other genuine students away from the genuine cause of activism.
The only way to avoid a future occurrence of this political victimization is to ensure that our Students’ Union is back on its feet, with its independence and vibrancy. This cannot be achieved by the delay tactics of the ongoing undemocratic Faculty Representatives process, but by a General Congress of students to usher in a democratic speedy process of getting a generally elected leadership that will rise up to the issues of poor welfare and poor security on campus.
My sincere appreciation goes to ALL genuine Great Ife students for the support throughout this period of victimization. We have again proven that it is deceit for some people to coerce us with phrases like “Go and dobale; Go and compromise and do what they want, where are the students you are fighting for now?
Obviously, the Great Ife students I fought ALONGSIDE did not leave me in the time of need, not because I have any special personality, but because of the ideal of solidarity and collectivism that we all hold very dear. All these point to the fact that we have not achieved the major victory yet, but we have just started a new struggle to ensure that we take our future into our hands through independent students’ unionism.
Yes, I have learnt my lessons and it is that FREEDOM COMETH… ONLY BY STRUGGLE.
ALUTA CONTINUA, VICTORIA ASCERTA
(Omole Ibukun is a 500level Student of the Department of Civil Engineering, OAU. He is a member of the Education Rights Campaign and the Democratic Socialist Movement)”.