STOP DISQUALIFICATION OF RADICAL STUDENTS
FOR INDEPENDENT STUDENTS’ UNIONISM
Following a protracted and spirited struggle by students of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, the Professor Tale Omole-led administration was recently forced to lift ban on the Students’ Union activities which had been illegally proscribed for over three years. It has however become clear that the plan of the management is to install a pliant, lapdog students’ union that will be useless to the mass of students.
The university authorities, through the Division of Students Affairs, have sent to the students’ electoral commission a list of five names whom they directed not to be allowed to vote, be voted for, or act as agents in the forthcoming union elections. Incidentally, the offence of these five radical students was their active participation in the struggles of students for unbanning of their union.
For us in the DSM, this undemocratic action of the management is aimed at preventing genuine student activists from holding students union positions. This is part of agenda to create a weak students union which is tied to the apron string of the university management while the right and interest of students are trampled upon.
Besides, the management does not want on the students’ union leadership radical student activists that can challenge their characteristic misappropriation of the university resources. For instance, the management that cannot guarantee potable water for students and other members of the university community spent N500 million to construct a swimming pool. They want such profligacy to continue unchallenged and criminalize the right to protest their obnoxious policies and conducts.
We condemn this undemocratic and unlawful interference by the OAU management in the internal affairs of students’ union. We call for the conduct of elections in line with the provisions of the union constitution and decisions of the Congress of students.
For us in the DSM, a union exists to represent and advance the interests of its members. This is one of reasons the affairs of such union must be determined by members, and not forced down their throat by external elements like self-serving university authorities. The OAU students’ union has a constitution which articulates procedures for election, and supreme legislative organ which is the congress. Hence, the right of members to vote or to be voted for is a subject for determination by the students, and not the university administration.
We call on students to hold different legitimate actions to protest this attack on their right to independent students’ unionism and elect the leaders of their choice.
We also call on the staff unions, human rights and pro-democratic groups, alumni and ex-students’ leaders to mount pressure on the OAU management to stop its interference in the students’ union elections and the witch-hunting of radical student activists.
We call for protest messages and petitions to the university management.
You can send your messages to the management of OAU through these phone numbers: Vice-Chancellor: 08037211502; Dean, Students’ Affairs: 08037271817; Vice Dean, Student Affairs: 08066066540; Registrar: 046-550180; V.C’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DSM OAU Branch