Ibadan Poly – ERC supports students’ agitations against hostel refusal fee hike and calls for their immediate scrapping.
**Workers’ unions and students within the institution must be united in a struggle for proper funding and democratic control of the institution
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) commends the mass of students in the Polytechnic of Ibadan, who were led by the leadership of their Students Union in the early hour of Monday, 9th January, 2023 in a protest against the decision of the school administration to hike what is known as hostel refusal fee from N5,000 to N15,000
The so called hostel refusal fee is an obnoxious charge often imposed on students who are entitled to accommodation on campus and but choose to stay in private hostel mostly outside the campus for the reason best known to them.
As far as we in the ERC are concerned the introduction and continued imposition of the so called hostel refusal fee is callous and an affront on mass of students in the school. It is within the democratic right of any student to choose whether or not to stay on campus.
This is more so when the so called hostels on campus are in decrepit condition and devoid of necessary basic facilities like regular supply of water and electricity. Rising cases of insecurity of life and property on campus is another big issue that often prompts most students to prefer accommodation off campus to the one claimed to be provided by the school administration.
Again, this kind of hike at a period like this when most students and their parents are grappling with consequences of rising cost of living and inflation, will no doubt compound the economic hardship and suffering among mass majority of students within the institution.
It is in the light of this background that we hold that there is no basis for the introduction of the so called hostel refusal fee in the first instance let alone the decision for the hike.
The argument that the so called hostel refusal fee was conceived and introduced to boost the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR of the school is untenable. In fact, any argument that suggests that the institution faces a challenge of insufficient funds is an indictment on Engr Makinde-led government and a mockery of the 23% budgetary allocation the regime claimed to have invested on the education sector in the state
The claimed 23% budgetary allocation to education sector has failed to translate into any meaningful improvement in the life of workers and students including the facilities for learning and teaching within the institution.
This is the same way, consultants imposed on the institution by the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government has failed to guarantee the judicious use of the resources of the institution. The fact that the institution postponed its first semester examination owing to the lack of funds for the logistics is an indication of how worse the institution has become under the reign of the consultants imposed by the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government.
Given this situation, there is no better way to best situate the role of the consultant in the institution than just a dubious mechanism for a self-enrichment rather than curbing corruption which is the purported for the imposition.
As far as we are concerned in ERC, corruption and misappropriation of funds across Nigeria public institutions including the Polytechnic of Ibadan is a graphic manifestation of the absence of democracy in the management and control of the resources at the disposal of these institutions.
This therefore suggests that any approach to end corruption in the public institutions that fails to include a democratic control and management of the resources and funds of the institution by an elected representatives of workers and students within the institution will end up being a fiasco.
It is in the light of this, we of the ERC demand an end to the continuous use of consultants as the sole manager of the resources at the disposal of the Polytechnic of Ibadan and seek its replacement with the a committee of an elected representatives of workers and students for a democratic and effective management and control of the resources of the institution.
Again the ERC notes the reversal of the hiked hostel refusal fee from #15,000 to #5,000 though as a positive outcome of the protest embarked upon by mass of the Polytechnic Ibadan’s students. However, we strongly hold that the reversal is not enough as we believe that there is no reasonable justification and basis for the imposition of the hostel refusal fee in the first instance. Therefore, we call for its scrapping.
Finally, the ERC cautions against any attempt to victimize any student who chose to be part of the protest and calls for a united front of all workers unions and students in the school for effective struggle against any obnoxious policy and for proper funding and democratic management of the institution which remains the only ways to end most of the crisis bedeviling the institution at this present time.
Coordinator, Oyo State ERC