I have been a student in Obafemi Awolowo University for more than five years and I’ve been privileged to witness three different student union governments; the Devaino, Alaje Paul and F-jay led administrations. The union was proscribed during the F-jay regime when the management and the student body were locked in a fierce battle over increment in acceptance fees. The students embarked on a series of protest, obstructing activities on campus for two consecutive days leading to the closure of the school for two good months. Normal academic activities returned after the break, some student were suspended and everybody forgot about the increment issue, time had indeed calmed the boiling nerves. So, when this fresh issue of increment in school fees arose, I was afraid we were about to witness a recurrence of history.
OAU students pride themselves in engaging in cultured, intellectual protests, something we proudly call ‘scientific aluta’ devoid of vandalism and pure display of hooliganism common to other institutions. But I must confess this approach by the elected and yet to be sworn-in Ibikunle-led student union government is the most scientific I have experienced. The rounds of protests would be futile if it were centered on campus premises alone and the school might have been closed down by now. Taking the matter outside the four walls of the university makes sense, after all the student leaders had series of meetings with the management which failed to produce any worthwhile result. It is therefore a wise move to get important stakeholders and influential personalities involved because they might be able to get the management to forsake the path of arrogance and tread the more hallowed path of reasoning.
Speaking on Channels Television’s widely acclaimed breakfast program, Sunrise Daily is a progressive step and as a student, I wished a representative of the management was in attendance to speak the mind of the management but upon discussion with an elderly friend I realized it will be ridiculous for the management to send representative from Ife to Lagos just to grant an interview. It will suggest that the management is incapable of putting their own house in order and needs an outsider to help broker peace in her home. Channels and other media outlets have been very helpful in this fight but if we really want to get the management to speak their mind, I suggest we approach them or walk up to them. ASUU and other stakeholders have also joined the struggle and I’m optimistic that in a little time and with the assistance of more people we will be able to reverse this unjustifiably cruel increment.