Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)

For struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

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June 13, 2005

OAU, Ile-Ife

OPEN LETTER TO THE VICE-CHANCELLOR

STOP THE UNJUST PERSECUTION OF DSM MEMBERS!

We write to demand the immediate halt to the unjust persecution of our members by the University administration over their legitimate political believes and activities as members of the Obafemi Awolowo University Students’ Union. For the past few weeks, members of the DSM notably, Fadugba Ekundayo (Ola-Rotimi), a former PRO of the Students’ Union, Peluola Adewale (PELAD), a former coordinator of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS Zone ‘D’), Ayeni Jasper, incumbent Clerk of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), among other students, have been subjected to unwarranted, provocative and criminal persecution by the university administration in collaboration with the Police Force, over unsubstantiated and false charges of assault and threat to life of one Ado Bode, a purported student of the department of Estate Management.

Hiding under the false complaint allegedly made by the charlatan, Ado Bode, that the DSM members together with some other students had accosted him and demanded explanation on why he (Ado Bode) attended the students disciplinary committee set up by the administration following the November 3 student protest and fingered some students including Aderibigbe Muyiwa Adetayo (Liptono) a DSM member, as culpable for heinous crimes, which led to the expulsion of Muyiwa over false allegation that he was one ‘old soldier’ who allegedly assaulted the Vice-Chancellor on November 3, 2004. The Vice-Chancellor instructed the police force to commence unjust persecution of the said students without any effort to verify these wild, shameless and unfounded accusations. Albeit, the student activists are yet to be found guilty of such wild and malevolent claims they are already being disturbed from proceeding with their normal academic activities as departmental authorities are insisting on clearance from the police before the students can be registered for the semester!

When Dayo Fadugba (former union PRO) approached the police on Wednesday June 8 to seek clarification on these trumped up charges, he was held hostage for over eight (8) hours and subjected to the worst kind of humiliation including demands for financial gratifications as a condition for his release on bail, a point which was later dropped because of his ‘intransigence’.

The university administration and particularly the Vice-Chancellor are engaging in diversionary activities. The antics of linking students activists with frivolous and unsubstantiated criminal charges and subjecting them to police persecution typical of the despised military era and the reign of Prof. ‘Wale Omole as Vice-Chancellor of the university, as a diversion from real issues agitating the minds of students, and to cover the track of charlatans like Ado Bode who are haunted by the possible implication of their quisling, belly-crawling activities will end in a chimera.

DSM members are not criminals or terrorists, rather; they are socialist student activists who involve in the struggle of students and workers for better living and working condition, democratically managed and adequately funded university and education system, and for a society free of capitalist injustice. Our organization and members possess impeccable credentials as dogged campaigners against campus cultism and associated brigandage. Basing ourselves on the Marxist method of mass education and mobilization of the students and other oppressed masses and utilizing popular, legitimate means of mass protests, picketing, lecture boycotts, petitions, legal defences, etc. With particular reference to the November 3 incident, our positions are popularly circulated. This includes our unflinching support for the struggle of the students over all issues which formed the basis of the November 3 protests viz reinstatement of suspended union activists, payment of withheld salaries of the university workers and release of rain semester 2002/2003 examination results, and comprehensive improvement of the welfare situation of students. Nonetheless, we dissociate ourselves from the counter-productive methodology of targeting physical assaults on individual office holders e.g. the Vice-Chancellor. We do so because we are convinced of the futility of such approach as a method of struggle.

Vide numerous publications, memoranda and bulletins; we have also revealed our position on how the crises in the university with respect to the November 3 protests can be resolved. It is apposite to reproduce some lines of the open memo, submitted by ‘Dayo Fadugba to the university fact-finding panel over the crisis when he was summoned…

"In my view, the university management must resolve to take the university out of the seeming stagnation it has found itself. This it can do by focusing its attention and resources on how to resolve the original issues that formed the basis of the student protests prior to and on November 3, 2004. The management should pay the lecturers their two-month salaries to facilitate the release of student results. The idea of seizing workers’ salaries for embarking on strike amount to a wicked case of blaming the victims. Or how else do you describe a situation where those who struggle, by their strike, for better funding of the education system and improved facilities in schools are victimized for their action? The management should also jettison the idea of scapegoating any individual(s) as a result of this crisis. Rather, all pending disciplinary cases being pursued against student activists for their involvement in students’ union activities should be withdrawn/reversed. The management should extend an arm of fellowship to all interest groups in the community on the need to remove the university from this contrived state of stagnation. There must also be comprehensive improvement in the condition of living and studying facilities. Also very important is the need to reopen the university without further delay. The continuous closure of the university is a needless diversion that cannot in anyway resolve the issues in dispute."

Clearly, events in the university in the past periods have vindicated us a hundred times over. We enjoin the university administration and particularly the Vice-Chancellor, to desist from chasing shadows and rather mobilize the energy, human and material resources of the university to resolve the contrived crises. The latest decision to expel seven (7) students including a DSM member and suspend two others including another DSM member and the unwarranted and misguided police persecution of our members, after acceding grudgingly to part of the students’ demands for payment of workers salaries to facilitate release of results is tantamount to appearing to take a step forward whilst moving more than two steps backward.

 

A DSM statement, June 13, 2005