Exactly one week ago, I wrote on the impending doom NASU and SSANU were dragging us to. I didn’t even know that my write-up was actually a prophecy. It was just to me, a random thinking, how I feel, and how things should be done. Unfortunately now, I am now the biblical Jeremiah; the prophet of doom, as this is what most of my friends now call me. Let me appreciate everyone who criticised, commended and at least read the “message from the Lord to the Israelites”.
Well, now it has happened. We are home again indefinitely. The management has used their ever winning tactics on us. They’ve sent us home. Just like the Israelites, we will have to spend extra weeks or months in the wilderness. We are already on a 56 days compulsory lecturer’s leave. Now, it is from a totally unwarranted NASU/SSANU strike. Please, don’t call this a peaceful protest, it is clearly not. It is a self interested para-violent strike. A show of shame of how almost enlightened the present day Nigeria is. As this write up goes on, I’ll explain my self. Before then however, let’s go back to the main issue.
Till date, just like I wrote last week, the particular tangible reason which demands for an agitation is not yet known. Some said it is because of their over 70 months unpaid allowance. Others say they are disgruntled because of the selection process of the incoming VC, Prof. Ayo Salami. Others believed that the incoming VC is not for them, as he is a part of this administration. Some people even said it is a campaign to call for the probe of the incumbent VC Prof. Idowu Omole. The funniest reason, and that which broke my heart was when I met with some men in their 60’s. They explained that the present Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC Academics) spent 5 years in his position, now he wants to become VC again for another 5 years. Is he the only one? Is there no one else? I shall be talking about all this issues, we shall see which of this is worth a call for an industrial action.
About the unpaid 70 months arrears, I think this should be the closest to a call for industrial actions. However, it is a colossal waste of time and lack of foresight to do something over and over again, the same way and then expect a different result. NASU protested last semester on this same issue, they didn’t get a tangible result. They wasted our time. They didn’t even apologise to a so called sister union, so brusque. They have planned another protest in a barbaric, diabolical and unscientific manner. No adequate structural plan. They danced round the senate seven times for seven days, just like the walls of Jericho. And on the seventh day, they rested. Hence they moved on to blocking all road channels on campus. This is after taking off the light and water on campus, and made incisions on certain doorsteps at the senate building. The same archaic way.
In this plan, there is little or no media presence. There is no white paper plan of writing petitions and warnings to places where matters such as this would be treated. All that was done was and is strictly on campus. This makes me wonder who exactly NASU is fighting. Is it the management? Is it the student? Or is it another way to catch fun after a tough half year job? If it is for the first reason, then the protest is a blind one. The management have bosses in Abuja. They are not the grund norm. Protesting is doing the right thing, at a very wrong time. Procedures are yet to be taken. Jumping to the street just the way it is done now is quite unreasonable. If NASU is fighting the students, which is obviously what it seems like,then why? We have done nothing wrong. We are not the ones owing the unpaid arrears. You have people like us too, do you pray for them to suffer unjustly? If it is another way of seeking a holiday after a marathon work time, it should have been stated. But still a protest is not what should suffice. Proper procedure should have been followed just like ASSU did.
About the VC’s selection process, there is no need beating about the bush. I’ve heard several persons saying the process should be democractic. How should it be demovractic? But you don’t fight aimlessly to get what you want. You want a law of selection to change, then you push it the right way. Who has NASU written to for a change in the statute. Infact, why do we have the National assembly? They are to make and amend laws. Which of the honourables have you gone to,to sponsor or amend the selection process bill? If you want to vote for incoming VC’s then fight for it legally, channel your interest in the right direction. If you think the incoming VC is not NASU friendly, then it will be only just to call him to order, not on the streets but on a very large roundtable meeting. This protest is ipso facto a witchunt of a person from getting into office. What is the certainty that another aspirant would do their biddings? Who is reliable amongst them all?
About the probe Omole and his administration campaign, I love this campaign. In fact, I want Omole probed. He should be probed. And I believe he would want to be probed. For as probing is investigatory, it is also an act of cleansing. He would want his name washed clean if he has no secret in his wardrobe. But protest is still a no no. Have we written to EFCC and ICPC? Has any government parastatals been contacted with a sound petition and a copy of that sent to the press? So who will probe Omole if we have not done all this? Is it NASU or ASSU or SSANU or the Students’ union? Again NASU has defiled procedures here.
About the incoming(as at the time of writing this) VC being ambitious, this is hatred and calumny. An average man is a man of ambition. The very reason I and almost every other students are on campus is because we are ambitious. The reason why there are NASU member or ASSU member is because they are ambitious. The ambitions do however vary. While an undergraduate wants to get a job or something else after graduation, a NASU member’s ambition might be for his/children to be learned and become a valued personality. It would be unfair to crucify Prof Salami for his own ambition. He wants to make progress like any other man. He worked so hard for that. I don’t need to explain in details, his résumé speaks for him. Why on earth can’t he become a VC? This is enemity, jealousy at its peak. From me, and for me, NASU is just buying sympathy at a costly rate for Prof Salami. I’ve been indifferent about the man before, but now, I feel he is just been cheated.
Fellow colleagues, I’ve heard different issues flying from certain corners. Do not be cajoled. This fight is clearly not ours. The sanity of protest is in oblivion. The unnecessary delay is sickening. Some persons say why rush to graduate when the labour market is on crutches? It is true the labour market is poor, but let us get there and see how poor it is. I infact want to influence the labour market just like lots of my colleagues. But I can’t do that by wasting away in a classroom in Ife. Do not be deceived, this protest is not for us. As I am writing this, there is no electricity on Campus, neither is water running in halls of residence. And they say they are fighting for us. Is Awolowo hall Senate building? When did Mozambique hall become Quarters? I am yet to confirm the news that ETF is now the new VC’s lodge. I read an article that said NASU takes off power and water during students’ protest because it is a directive given by the management. This is a useless excuse. If the management gives such orders, and they (NASU) are truly in support of us, they’ll keep things running. Who gave them such orders now? The management that has been denied entry into their offices by diabolical incisions? Common Great Ife, let’s think.
Certain persons are calling for a Congress on campus when stalites are not around. The reason is to exploit the naiveness of our freshers to push their own motive. Can’t you see that this is a shame. This people want to get their aim of crippling and extending our calendar at all cost. They have been visiting Angola and Mozambique halls frequently for self interest. I for one would not support this. I fear posterity, and I won’t see our lives crumbled by people who are bereft of moving forward.
Dear FELLOW fresher’s, don’t be confused that I used the word fellow. We are one, I feel your pain. You’ve wasted about three weeks on campus doing almost nothing. Your food stuffs are gone. Your pocket money is depleted. There is no power and water on campus. What else? Go home. They said by travelling you are risking your lives, it is a lie to keep you suffering on campus. God saves us all. People travel every day, do they all die? No. Your stay on campus is not a guarantee to live, infact it is a risk. No water, no power, soon, there will be no food. I am speaking from experience. You could be bitten by a snake, or stung by a scorpion. God forbid, but any thing can happen anytime. People die anywhere and anytime. The safest place for you now is your home.
Do not be deceived by some people parading your halls of residence lying to you that the NASU course is just, it is not. Don’t engage in unfruitful protests. I understand the urge to show how radical we are. I was there too. I loved all sort of protest. But now, I realise that you don’t win all agitations that is void of right procedure. Do not be deceived about been called to a congress, it is a way of cajoling you into doing the biddings of some notorious few who derive relevance from all sorts of protest. I said it earlier that you are naive, I didn’t mean it in an insulting way. The truth is, you’re naive of what is going on.
In your first year, you have the learning process. That is why our union constitution does not permit fresher’s to vote. It is believed that you are yet to be experienced in the different practices on campus. Hence your innocent but natural, normal and understandable gullibility could be exploited. That is what they are doing by calling you for a congress. You would be used for the selfish interest of some people. Don’t fall for it. Go home, get revitalised prepare well again before the next resumption. On behalf of all the partakers in this unwanted holiday, I apologise to you. That is Ife for you. Insane disruptions do come along. But now that you’ve seen it happening, your set should do something about it. I’ve received not less than ten complaimst from different fresher’s stating how frustrated and tired they are, of the incessant holidays in Ife. Please, we are sorry.
To persons who are not happy with the way things have turned out like I am, we must not give up. Proper sensitization must be done. We must continue the good work. A lot of us have been tagged names. The most recent is the title; WhatsApp Comrade. Tell them thank you. I’d rather influence the world positively through social media, than peddle megaphones around on empty heads for the sake of undue popularity. Most of this megaphone peddlers don’t even know the full meaning of NASU. They’ve also claimed that some of us are being paid. I’m actually yet to be paid. But whoever wants to pay me for this, is paying me for what I want to do. Just like paying Ronaldo and Messi to play soccer. They’ll do it because they love to, not because they were paid to. This is what I love doing. Being sincere with the public. And if this is what you love doing too, continue. Don’t be discouraged. Infact be happy. Who knows if they are being paid by NASU/SSANU to push their positions.
TO THE NEW VICE CHANCELLOR
Congratulations sir, on your new appointment. As all institutions are created by God, God is not oblivious of the fact that you’re the new head of this Ivory tower. However, you’re not bereft of the problems on campus. You should have started work by now. First stretch a hand of friendship to NASU/SSANU and other union. We need you to assure us that you’re not a foe. We are partners in the business of making our citadel proud.
Dialogue with NASU/SSANU over their agitations. Most of all, lift the ban of suspension off our Union. Our union should be truly independent. Our halls needs maintenance. We are over 12 persons in a room. We are being treated as if we leave in IDP camps. This is unfair. I will write an open letter to you soon enough to contain almost all (if not all) our grievances. Sir, you’re pretty young compared to your colleagues, and those who have not yet attained your portfolio. You have the rest of your life to either fill it with regrets or happiness. CHOOSE WISELY SIR.
As I round off, I would have loved to leave NASU/SSANU to conscience, but appeal to consciencs might not work.So I’ll tell them to always know that things would not always be in their favour sometimes. When this things happen, you accept things the way they are but then prepare logically for the future. It is clear that NASU needs a legal team/department. You need to get reasonable persons for the Team. And since we have law graduates from OAU all around, I think it is better, cheaper and affordable to work with them. Infact you will be helping the labour market by some certain percentage. Jobs would be created that way.
Hence, you can still sheath your swords and embrace peace. Frying Akara at senate and wearing white dresses on campus wouldn’t solve anything. Learn from the past students protest. Those strategies of war are archaic and now barbaric. Let’s move on, it is never too late. Thank you.
Com. FAKIYESI SAMUEL O
Former Lord Justice,
Obafemi Awolowo University,
Public Speaker | Political, social and legal analyst | moderate activist | comunity developer.
For commendations, criticisms and opinions;
F; Fakiyesi Samuel