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Socialist Democracy Nov - Dec 2005

 

OAU

Stop Victimisation of Student Activists

There is no gainsaying the fact that the OAU authorities are notorious for victimising student' activists. Between 1995 and 1997, Anthony Fashayo, a former students' union president and 15 others were expelled for organizing a rally against the extra-judicial killing of Ken Saro Wiwa and other eight Ogoni activists under the despotic era of Vice-chancellor, Prof. Wale Omole and the military junta of Gen Sanni Abacha. The students, at that time, were acting according to the tradition of their union, which always responds to issues of national interest. The students were not reinstated until 2001.

Just a session after the reinstatement of Tony Fash and co., the university authorities suspended four union activists - Akinkunmi Olawoyin (President), Ekudayo Fadugba ( P.R.O), Hassan Abbas (Speaker) and Adewale Oluwagbemiga (Chairman, Awolowo Hall) - for fighting against the imposition of astronomical charges on students. The offences authorities proffered against these individuals are stealing of university properties and conducts disgraceful to the university image. This is just to call the dog a bad name so as to hang it. The students went to court and got an injunction and since then, they have been on temporary studentship as the case is still on at the federal high court in Osogbo.

In 2003/2004 academic session however, the university authorities initially suspended Olowokandi Feyi Peter (P.R.O, students' union) and Hassan Taiwo Hussein (Soweto) for fighting against the introduction of yet another obnoxious charges called Faculty charges, wherein students were made to cough out money ranging from N 2,500 and N7,500, depending on the faculties. This time around, the students were accused of harassing the university Vice-Chancellor in the violence that followed the November 3rd, 2004 students' protests. When the students embarked on political action to press for the reinstatement of their victimised leaders however, they only got an increase in casualties as more student activists were either expelled or suspended. For instance, Taiwo Hassan (Soweto) already on four-semester suspension was given another four semesters without being "convicted" by the University Disciplinary Panel looking into the November 3rd, 2004 students' protest. Isiaka Adegbile, expelled since 1997 under Prof Wale Omole, Adenekan Adeniyi (ex-Students' Union President), Akinola Saburi (ex-Students' Union Secretary General), Akinkunmi Olawoyin, Wahab Samuel, Abuchi Okafor and Aderibigbe Muyiwa Liptono were arbitrarily expelled. Alabi Mojeed was suspended. These sets of victimised student activists also went to court and got a partial victory in terms of court injunction. Since then, they have been enjoying temporary studentship.

The reality of the mater is that OAU authorities are only trying to make scapegoats of every student protest arising from their policies and insensitivity to the plight of students and workers in Ife. The November 3rd, 2004 protest, for instance, would not have taken place if the university authorities have paid a positive attention to issues affecting the staff and students like issues of non-payment of lecturers' entitlements which led to the withholding of examination results by the lecturers, degenerate student welfare, and continued victimisation of student activists.

We call on the university management to immediately recall all the victimised student activists so as to allow peace in the university. It is only when this is done that the university can harmonise its human and material resources for academic development. The students' union should initiate a comprehensive campaign for the unconditional recall of the politically suspended/expelled students and an end to culture of victimisation in the university.

We hereby call on well meaning Nigerians to write protest letters to the university authorities via the following addresses:

The Registrar,

Obafemi Awolowo University,

Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

E-mail: registrar@oauife.edu.ng

Or

The Vice-Chancellor,

Obafemi Awolowo University,

Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

E-mail: rogerm@oauife.edu.ng

 

 

 

Socialist Democracy Nov - Dec 2005