UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN: ERC welcomes remembrance activities of Kunle Adepeju but urges students union to always stand for what he stood for!
By Ben Taafe, Coordinator, ERC, UI
The Students’ Union (SU) of the University of Ibadan in February 2020 organized activities for remembrance of Kunle Adepeju who was killed on February 1st, 1971 by soldiers invited to campus by the then Vice chancellor of the university, Professor Adeoye Lambo, to suppress the legitimate protest of the students. The protest was against the decline in efficiency, quality and managerial competency of the cafeteria system within the university following the reduction in the Federal government subvention to the Nigeria universities.
Kunle Adepeju stood up till the point of his death against the consequences of administrative failures of the then Lambo-led administration of the university. Unfortunately, the objective reality within the campus today is that the kind of consequences of administrative failures which Kunle Adepeju fought against during his life time has significantly deepened in many respects.
It is a common knowledge today that the living condition on campus has gone from bad to worse. Students study and live in dilapidated infrastructural facilities like poor toilet system, bad sewage disposal system, unhealthy cafeteria and buttery while power supply has become more erratic than before. Water supply is also very eratic and unhealthy for drinking.
The attack on democratic rights under successive university administrations is a common feature. A classic example of this is the recent expulsion of Mr Ojo Aderemi, the immediate past president of the SU by Prof Olayinka-led administration. Ojo Aderemi was expelled for providing leadership to a protest of mass of students against the failure of Olayinka –led university administration to issue students ID for two academic sessions after they had been forced to pay for it.
Many other students who were also given queries because of their involvement in the said protest were later pardoned though with a ridiculous and obnoxious condition that they must never participate in any students’ activity for the entire period their studentship in the university..
There is also an indiscriminate imposition of fee hike and introduction of new fees without anything to show for them. The situation is so bad now that materials for courses like GES which students are often forced to pay for are not normally given to them until after the exam in some cases after the session.
It is in the consideration of this that we of the ERC strongly believe that the best way to remember and celebrate the life, legacy including the heroic death of Kunle Adepeju goes beyond just a mere visit to his graveyard or organizing a gyration but by ensuring that the platform of the students’ union is consistently used to advance and defend the interest of students
This will mean that Akeju-led SU should begin to mobilise and organize students in order to prevail on the university administration to improve both living and learning conditions of students including unconditional reinstatement of Ojo Aderemi and all other students’ activists that are victimized for one political reason or the other.