Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)

For struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

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Socialist Democracy March 2004




Between 12th and 14th December, 2003, violent clashes took place between the students of University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD) and indigenes of Iworoko, a community outside the campus where most of the students reside. For 22 years of the existence of the university, Iworoko has been the host community to many students.

The crisis started on the night of 11th of December, 2003, when some students residing in Iworoko community wanted to get fuel from "black marketers" in the community for generator in order to watch the football match between the Enyimba of Nigeria and Ismail of Egypt. This demand for the fuel degenerated to misunderstanding and subsequent clash between the students and the "black marketers". In the course of the clash, two male students were wounded while two female students were striped naked.

In response, on 12th December, students launched a counter attack on the perpetrators of the attack on the students in the previous day. The counter attack of the students led to a further attack on the students by the indigenes where guns, machetes and charms were freely used. At the end of the second attack on the students by the indigenes, about 10 students were critically wounded. On Monday, under the guise of maintaining law and order, another set of four students were shot including a DSM member, Olumide Adelugba and seventy (70) students were arrested by the police and security men attached to the office of the governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose.

The fundamental cause of this crisis is the failure of the government and university authorities to provide enough hostels with basic facilities like water, electricity, etc on campus. However, it becomes pertinent to point out that the crisis was unnecessary and could have been averted. Both the students and indigenes suffer from the problem of endemic poverty caused by the same neo-liberal policies of privatisation, deregulation and commercialisation of education, inflicting enormous pains on the working class and students alike. If there had been constant supply of electricity and enough bed spaces in the hostels, the idea of students residing outside the campus would not have arisen in the first instance and such clash between the students and host community could not have occurred.

A major factor, which has allowed things to degenerate in UNAD, is the absence of viable and independent students' union in the past four years. The struggle for independent student unionism, therefore, needs to be intensified, where true student leaders will be elected by the students and union controlled by the students without any undue interference from the University authorities.

But in the last union election, the authorities controlled electoral panel illegally and unjustly screened out radical student activists, whom the authorities felt could stand for the interests of the students and organise struggle against the deteriorating welfare condition on campus and commercialisation of education among other things. Students should, therefore, be prepared in the future to resist undue interference in the students' unionism by the University authorities. This is the only way to have a virile and independent Students' Union.



Socialist Democracy March 2004