WE ARE ALMOST THERE
Education Rights Campaign (ERC), OAU branch, Ile-Ife
ON RESTORATION OF OUR UNION:
WE ARE ALMOST THERE
We in the ERC believe it is important to salute the resilience and determination of Great Ife students. The bold activity of students to implement their congressional resolutions has obviously sent the right signal to the right quarter. Students have on 5th December, boycotted lectures to push home their demand for the immediate restoration of the union.
As far as we are concerned, the actions of students have won them concessions from the management, which normally would not have been gotten without struggle. It was the movement of Great Ife students that forced the Registrar to deny the management’s plans to increase fee. Similarly, it was the tide of our struggle that forced the DSA to set up a transition committee. However, despite the fact that these developments are products of our struggle, Great Ife must also note that the objective of our struggle has not been achieved- Students’ Union restoration. This means we must employ continual resilience to avoid being fooled again by the university management.
On the day of the lecture boycott, the DSA in a circular named 15 students as members of Students’ Transition Committee. In a similar manner too, the registrar has on the same day denied attempts or plans to increase fee next session. Though these developments may depict management’s “readiness” to concede to students’ demands, but evidences from experience will compel students not to relax the tempo of their campaign. We must continue to assert our major demand, which is the restoration of a students’ union and not a transition committee. Students must not at this time forget the role of transition committee in the history of University of Ibadan Students’ Union- where STC lasted for 11 years. And if care and vigilance is not employed, the case of OAU may not be any different, given that the management wants STC “to interface between the students and the management until swearing-in”. Common sense demands that STC stops to exist immediately Electoral and election petition committees are set up, and not after swearing-in.
Though we in the ERC believe that a transition to a new union is not a bad idea after all, but we likewise view that such transition be guided by the resolution and principles of Great Ife students. The fulcrum of our struggle is the immediate restoration of our union, and since STC cannot and does not replace the Union, then a process that will bring about the union must be immediately started. This calls for the immediate, and democratic constitution of electoral and election petition committee this semester. Now that a transition committee has been set up, students must ensure, through their campaign and agitations, that the transition committee is not used by the management to prolong the setting up of electoral committee. But that at a gathering of students, electoral committee be set up this semester.
For us in the ERC, the reason why we are warning against the danger of protracted STC is based on its evil antecedents. The STC has in the past been used by the University management to damage our students’ union. For instance, the undemocratic introduction of 3.5 CGPA as requisites to conduct of elections was a product of Awosusi’-led STC in 2007. Traditionally, STC are used to implement the anti-students policies of the management. What this means is that STC are more loyal to the university management than students. And this is because they are always handpicked by the management, instead of being elected by the students they claim to represent.
Even now that the management is claiming to have formed the committee from the faculty congresses, ironically most members of the committee were not elected from their faculties; but as usual handpicked. We are not saying this to nullify the STC, but to draw students’ attention to dangers-in waiting. It is not impossible that these individuals will aim at stamping management’s vulgar election procedures (CGPA requirements) and obnoxious amendment of Union constitution. Therefore students must scrutinize and agree to their own principles at a congress and not based on management’s doctored communiquÃ©. It is important we clearly state here that we are not oppose to a transition process, but we demand that such process be done in line with students’ resolution. This is the reason why we have warned Great Ife of the dangers of a STC that is not responsible to a Students’ Congress will cause.
In conclusion, we want to remind Great Ife students that it was their struggle that has won them these concessions. And that the struggle will only be fully won when the students’ union is restored. Based on this we urge great Ife students to be vigilant and prepared to attend all congresses called by the struggle committee so that collectively we can ensure that the union is completely restored.
Sales of nomination forms and lifting of bans on campaigns should be kicked-off this semester