OAU Students Hold Peaceful Protest Over Death of Miss Adesina
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife was shut down by the management led by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Eyitayo Ogunbodede on October 1, 2021 after a protest by over a thousand OAU Ife students led by the Electoral Commission, Central Executive Council-elect, Hall Representative Council-elect and Students Representative Council-elect over the demise of one of us, late Miss Aisha Adesina, a final year student of Foreign Languages department, Faculty of Art as a result of the alleged negligence as well as inadequate facilities, personnel and medical supplies at the university’ Health Centre.
By an Education Rights Campaign (ERC) reporter
This ugly incident happened on Thursday September 30, 2021. Late Miss Aisha was an asthmatic patient who had gone to the health Centre to complain of a sore throat. She was reportedly given an anti-malaria medication which the late Adesina’s friends confirmed did not work for the deceased noting the pains had persisted for three days before she was rushed back to the health centre on 29th of September 2021. She died at Seventh Day Adventist Hospital where she was transferred from the Health Centre after her condition had worsened and apparently got out of hand
STRENGTH OF THE PROTEST
The peaceful protest was a demonstration of the undaunted determination of the mass of students to stand up against every injustice from the management of the school. The students arose in the spirit and tradition of struggle and we showed the world how clear-headed we are in our coordination of the protest as no public property was destroyed in anyway during the protest. This is very commendable given that many of the present generation of students on the campus did not have any experience of struggle because of the prolonged proscription of the Students Union. In fact, the union was only recently reinstated and the first election to choose a leadership was conducted only few weeks before the October 1st protest. In fact, the elected leadership has not yet been sworn-in. The ploy of the management was to remove the Aluta spirit from the school by the proscription of the union in 2016 but OAU students showed them we can always stand up against every draconian policy from the school management.
CAMPAIGN FOR REOPENING
The Senate had a meeting on the 5th of October which reaffirmed the decision of the VC to close down the university. It unequivocally condemned the students’ action including the blocking of both Ife/Ibadan and Ife/Ede roads and resolved that the swearing-in of the newly elected students’ union officers be put on hold. This is an attempt to blackmail the newly elected leadership and force them to be compliant towards the management if they wish to retain their position. This must be rejected by the mass of students.
Above all, there is also a need for a mass campaign to begin to demand the reopening of the University and the meeting of all students’ demands as well as warn against any planned victimization of students. The university was closed in the middle of an examination! This campaign can start by calling online and offline meetings in Lagos, Ibadan, Osogbo, Abuja and other cities where OAU students can be found to discuss the situation and map out a plan of action. The action plan can include petitions to the Governing Council and visitor to the University, protests to radio and television stations as well as print media. Such activities can help to expose the management and pile pressure on the Senate and Governing Council to reopen the University.