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Socialist Democracy Aug - Sept 2005



But Not Yet Uhuru

By Stephen Alayande

As the protracted struggle for Independent Students' Unionism continues in the University of Ibadan, a partial reprieve has come to two of the politically victimized students union leaders.

The Students Disciplinary Committee (SDC) of the University of Ibadan met in July21 and 22, 2005 and let off the hook Ibrahim Lawal (Ibro), former speaker of the students' parliament and Ajala Folorunsho (Father folly), former majority leader in the parliament, after being held down on politically related allegations.

This act should not in anyway be regarded as benevolence of the Prof. Ayodele Falase led UI Administration. The partial reprieve is a product of the unrelenting, resolute, committed efforts and struggle of the UI students and other committed activists across the campus. The conscious efforts of the NANS/JCC, Oyo State, DSM and Education Rights Campaign (ERC), UI branch and the aftermath intervention of the UI Students' Union Transition Committee through the July 10-12, 2005 remembrance rally cum reinstatement solidarity campaign are what have cumulatively yielded this result.

The next task ahead is to ensure that the rest of the student activists that are politically victimized by Prof. Ayodele Falase led administration i.e. Alayande Stephen T. (ex-NAN, Zone D Coordinator), Ola Adeosun (ex-speaker, Students' Union), Lawal Akeem (ex-president, UISU), Olawoyin Akintunde (Struggle, ex-PRO, UISU), Hon. Ali M.O. Ayodeji (Honour), Oluajo S.B. (Sankara), Oloko Afolabi (ex-PRO, UISU, TC), etc are reinstated with release of withheld certificates so that these students could participate in the September, 2005 NYSC programme.

The crisis which is dated back to year 2000, has at its central point, issues revolving round Independent Students' Unionism in UI. These student activists were alleged to have led peaceful protests against increment in school fees in 2001 and 2002, campaigns against authorities' sponsor of cultists against student activists, demand for transparency and accountability in the use of university fund, campaign against imposition of stringent and undemocratic rules as yardsticks for students' union elections amidst many others.

All things being equal, by September 25, 2005, Prof. Ayodele Falase's crises-ridden leadership will officially end in University of Ibadan. Already, the Governing Council has put in place the selection committee for the selection process that will eventually present a new Vice-Chancellor (VC) who is meant to resume officially by September 27th, 2005.

The task before the students and staff in University is to sit and work together with the purpose of drawing a clear agenda for the incoming VC especially on the use of cultists and drafting of armed policemen to the university anytime there is a protest; victimisation of activists (staff and students), reinstatement of Dr. Doyin Odebowale (High-Priest), students union leaders and other staff unjustly sacked; arbitrary increment in school fees of students (post-graduate, under-graduate, primary and secondary staff schools), Independent Unionism (students and staff); democratic rights of students and staff on campus amongst others.

This blue print must be set now. All the staff unions: SSANU, NASU, ASUU and Students' Union Transition Committee must rise up to the occasion and save the university community from further ruins.

However, the lingering crisis in our premier university and other universities cannot but be situated outside the crisis endangering the country and global capitalism. This is a system with mad drive for profit and money making through all possible means and our universities are not spared which informs why the government will not want to fund education, resulting into dilapidated infrastructures, brain drain, administrative and academic sadism, corruption, mis-management, incessant strikes, hike in tuition fees and other charges, lack of quality teaching and non-teaching facilities, outdated books and materials in our libraries, etc.

The ultimate way out of this endemic crisis is a democratic socialist system where production, as against capitalist profit, will be based on needs, with public ownership of the key sectors of the economy, democratically controlled and managed by the working people themselves, where free and qualitative education will be possible for all and sundry.



Socialist Democracy Aug - Sept 2005