Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

OAU: One Closure Too Many

OAU: One Closure Too Many

By Adabale Olamide and Omole Ibukun, Coordinator and Secretary, ERC, OAU Branch

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) OAU Branch strongly condemns the decision of the authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to close the campus following weeks of strikes and protests by workers unions.

The announcement of the closure was made on the 21st of June 2016 following another round of protests by members of the University’s chapters of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU).

As far as we are concerned, this is one closure too many. We consider the decision to close the University ill-advised, unjustifiable and a calculated attempt to prolong the academic session to the detriment of students while at the same time avoiding the legitimate demands of the workers unions. We therefore demand the immediate opening of the University so that stale and fresh students can resume for academic activities. We also call on the authorities to immediately meet the demands of the University’s chapters of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) in order to ensure that normal activities return to the campus.

The workers’ unions, among other things, are protesting non-payment of over 76 months earned allowance, nonpayment of over 6 months salaries, and the undemocratic process of the appointment the next Vice Chancellor. Both NASU and SSANU have also initiated legal action at the Federal High Court Osogbo, Osun state to challenge the undemocratic process of the appointment of the VC. The matter has been adjourned to July 6, 2016. Despite the order of the court that the process of appointment should be suspended pending the verdict, the management undemocratically appointed Prof. Ayobami Salami-the immediate past Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Academics – as the new VC. This obvious contempt of court has now being reversed by the dissolution of the Governing Council by the Federal Government. This has been widely celebrated by the workers and students. While the ERC understands the feeling of joy that workers and students who for far too long have tolerated the corruption and anti-poor policies of the University administration, we must however warn that only the full democratization of the decision making organs of the University can ensure full democracy, justice and equity on the campus.

The ERC joins the workers in solidarity to demand the payment of their earned allowance, salaries and for the democratic process of the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor. Historically, it has been proven that only a concerted effort of both the students and workers can expedite the success of any struggle against the common enemy which is the university authority. Hence, we call on the students to join forces with the protesting unions by also linking the struggle with students demands for better welfare condition, reversal of the astronomical fee hike of 2014, reinstatement of the Olawale Owolabi (Ogunruku) who has been on suspension since 2011 and the probe of the out gone Vice Chancellor Bamitale Omole.