*EDUCATION RIGHTS CAMPAIGN* *PRESS STATEMENT* *ON THE STRUGGLE AGAINST OPPRESSION IN THE UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN (UI)* *WE COMMEND THE RANK AND FILE OF STUDENTS FOR CHALLENGING THE DIRTY STATUS QUO AND DEMANDING FOR THEIR RIGHTS* *WE CONDEMN THE UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN’S MANAGEMENT DICTATORIAL REACTION TO THE PEACEFUL PROTEST LED BY THE OJO ADEREMI-LED STUDENTS’ UNION STUDENTS SHOULD ASSERT THE INDEPENDENCE OF THEIR STUDENTS’ UNION AND REJECT ANY FORM OF PROSCRIPTION* *WE CHARGE THE STUDENTS’ UNION LEADERSHIP TO MAP OUT PRACTICAL PLANS TO SUSTAIN AND NATIONALIZE THE STRUGGLE* *THE DEMAND FOR THE PROBE OF THE VICE CHANCELLOR, PROF. IDOWU OLAYINKA SHOULD BE A TOP DEMAND BY STUDENTS*
EDUCATION RIGHTS CAMPAIGN
ON THE STRUGGLE AGAINST OPPRESSION IN THE UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN (UI)
WE COMMEND THE RANK AND FILE OF STUDENTS FOR CHALLENGING THE DIRTY STATUS QUO AND DEMANDING FOR THEIR RIGHTS
WE CONDEMN THE UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN’S MANAGEMENT DICTATORIAL REACTION TO THE PEACEFUL PROTEST LED BY THE OJO ADEREMI-LED STUDENTS’ UNION STUDENTS SHOULD ASSERT THE INDEPENDENCE OF THEIR STUDENTS’ UNION AND REJECT ANY FORM OF PROSCRIPTION
WE CHARGE THE STUDENTS’ UNION LEADERSHIP TO MAP OUT PRACTICAL PLANS TO SUSTAIN AND NATIONALIZE THE STRUGGLE
THE DEMAND FOR THE PROBE OF THE VICE CHANCELLOR, PROF. IDOWU OLAYINKA SHOULD BE A TOP DEMAND BY STUDENTS
The Education Rights Campaign, OAU Branch in the spirit of solidarity with fellow Nigerian students, particularly of the University of Ibadan condemns the management of the University of Ibadan for its crude approach to the exercise of the democratic rights of students which reached its peak in the abrupt closure of the university and the ‘A4-Paper’ proscription of the Students’ Union (the only voice of students). It could be recalled that some few weeks ago, the students’ union of university of Ibadan embarked on struggle when the students were pushed to the wall after the recalcitrant attitude of the management towards their just demands resolved at the level of the Congress of students to take to the streets (on ‘Democracy’ Day). Ironically, the University management threw caution to the wind and made a mockery of the Nigerian ‘pseudo democracy’ by clamping down on the students first through threats by the Oyo State Commissioner of Police who promised to shed blood, and later by shutting down the University (which was against the University’s extant rules), and subsequently ‘’proscribing’’ the students’ union.
We make bold to assert that the approach of the University Management after a protest that lasted for only few hours is vindictive, unjustifiable and dictatorial and is obviously an open attack on education and its essence (which is to ask questions).
We further condemn the Senate’s release giving lead-off to a planned victimization of the Union leadership. The attempt by the University Management to amend the constitution of the Students’ Union is an open show of shame and has made the Prof. Idowu Olayinka led administration a laughing stock in the whole nation.
As students, we recognize that the crises being fought by the University of Ibadan students’ Union is a general crises across all campuses and all responsible students’ unions in the country should get together to fight these crises, once and for all. It is high time all Nigerian students started a national campaign against commercialization of education and all other oppressive policies of the ruling class that has continued to embarrass the country in the comity of nations.
The students’ union protest is fully justified as students are guaranteed a right to protest under the laws of the land. The protest was observed by the media and other independent observers and seen to be very peaceful. Despite the incitement to anger of the Oyo State Commissioner of Police who threatened to shed the blood of innocent students, the students kept their calm and went on street peacefully.
Of course, if the University Management had heeded to the students’ plight before now, students might not be on the streets protesting against the excruciating conditions of their hostels, dilapidated lecture halls amidst others. This shows how cracked the current educational system has pushed the students to the wall.
As expected, the University Management has done its worst, and has launched all the oppressive missiles in its cabinet, save victimization for now. Over the years, the management has not changed its brutal, nasty and archaic tactics of responding to the genuine students’ demands and agitations which obviously will not solve the situation. The launch of these attacks has further expose the autocracy and highhandedness of the university management.
We advise the leadership of students’ union that this is not the moment for unnecessary rhetorics but a period to be pragmatic and ready to make sacrifices.
Worthy to note, the Students’ Union should avoid playing into the hands of the management by making a tactical error of demanding for its own reinstatement; the students’ union is an association of students independent to be proscribed with a mere A4 paper release by the University Management. The freedom of association is the right entrenched in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We hold that the existence of the students’ union is meant to agitate for the demands of the students which the Vice Chancellor is not a member of and as such the management possesses no authority whatsoever to proscribe. In the light of this, we likewise warn the management against the closure of the students’ union building which stands as the shrine of the students. (The students’ union building is quite different from the senate building and cannot be abruptly shut down by the management). The Students’ Union should immediately rally the mass of students and further sensitize the general public on the justification of the struggle.
The Students’ Union after summoning Congresses to chart out plans of actions must link up with Students’ Union across the country, civil societies, sister unions and mobilize their strength to sustain the current struggle.
Mass publicity through production and circulation of leaflets, organization of rallies, press conferences more protests both within and outside campus with the sincerity of the leadership of the union are viable tactics that can guarantee a sustainable victory.
However, the Students’ Union leadership would be making a great mistake if it ceases to carry along the mass of students in the decision making process in furtherance of the struggle.
As a result, the leadership of the union should not hide under the excuse of the closure of the university and the ‘’proscription’’ of the students’ union to cut off the mass of students from the struggle (obviously, this approach will be counter production and may lead to the defeat of the struggle).
Conclusively, the Education Rights Campaign again commends the gallantry of students so far, and further enjoins the leadership of the Students’ Union to rally its strength and maximize all democratic and radical methods and tactics toward the achievement of a total victory.
Emman O. Emma
GistNaira TeaM Reporting