Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

OAU: Campaign For Union Restoration Continues

OAU: Campaign For Union Restoration Continues

By Odun, Secretary, DSM, OAU Branch

Few weeks after resumption into a new academic session, student activists in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) including members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) organized a bonfire/pubic rally on the evening of March 16 2012 to step up the campaign for the restoration of the banned students’ union.

According to reports, over 500 students, many of them fresh students, trooped out for the event which took place at the Anglo-Moz car park. The public rally was used to reinforce the demand for the restoration of the union and reinstatement of all victimized activists including Wale Owolabi a.k.a Ogunruku.

The OAU students’ union was proscribed last year following student protest against fee increment. A year before then, the University management had carried out blistering attacks on socialist groups like the DSM as part of the preparation for the ban of the union. Radical and socialist students were criminalized and victimized in the attack that had the connivance of the then pro-management leadership of the union. The campus secretariat of the DSM was vandalized and afterwards seized by the school management while members were driven out of their hostel rooms.

The whole purpose of the attacks is to cripple the ability of students to independently organize to fight back against anti-poor education policies. Striking at the radical base of the union, the University management was effectively killing radical consciousness and the tradition of fight back which socialist groups and radical students’ organizations have sustained for many generations on that campus. Contrary to speculations last year, it is now becoming clear that the new Vice Chancellor, Prof. Tale Omole, is only paying lip service to students demand for restoration of the union.

Activists that spoke at the event included past union leaders and members of the DSM. A special leaflet was circulated by the DSM calling for a programme of action to fight back. The OAU branch of the DSM is playing a crucial role in the one-year old campaign to win back the union. We are arguing within the circles of student activists and among the generality of students for a sustained programme of action like public meetings, symposia and rallies all leading up to a one-day lecture boycott and mass protest.

We also argue for the linking of the struggle for union restoration with a campaign for improvement in the condition of teaching facilities like lecture theatres, library and laboratory, electricity and water supply and hostel accommodation. We call on all students wishing to fight for the restoration of the union and respect of democratic rights to join the DSM. DSM meetings holds regularly on the campus every Sunday and members can be contacted through: E-mail: [email protected].