THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) branch, held a public meeting on 13th August, 2014 at Urban-day Grammar School, Ile-Ife. The meeting discussed issues ranging from the current struggle against fee hike in OAU to the vicious closure of the university.
1) The current struggle against fee hike was appraised. The gathering maintains that the outrageous increment in fees in OAU cannot be justified by any stretch of imagination. Hence the protest of students against the increment is absolutely correct and necessary.
2) It is unfortunate and callous that the reaction of the OAU management against the legitimate protest of students was to close down the university. Closure of school, following a protest of students, is a clear attempt to criminalise the demands of students. Whereas the demand of students that poor parents and their innocent colleagues should not be held responsible for the irresponsibility of the Nigerian government is justified and morally imperative. Hence the meeting condemns outright the closure of the university and demands that the university management immediately reopen the campus.
3) The meeting observed that the closure of the university is a punishment for students because they protested an unjust policy. In fact it is an antic of the university to frustrate the struggle of students, which would divert the attention of students away from the vicious increment to immediate re-opening of the university. However, the gathering resolved that the closure of school is also an item on the growing list of maladministration of the Omole-led administration. And it must be equally resisted alongside the vicious policy of fee-hike.
4) The meeting recalled that the Congress of Great Ife Students’ Union had already prescribed the method to render impotent the antics of school closure, which is continuous action until victory. However, the meeting was critical of the non-implementation of these decisions by the leadership of the union as no single action has been undertaken since the closure of the university. Observably, the reason for this omission is the recent decision of the union leadership to employ the service of mediators to assist in talking the university into resolving the issues.
5) We are not opposed to any form of discussion with the university administration, but we greatly doubt that such engagements would make the university rescind on its vicious policy of fee hike. In fact, recent experience in LASU, UNILAG and institutions in Ogun State has showed that it is only a tenacious struggle of students that can win them victory from the politicians and their academic stooges who are terrorizing the Nigerian people. We believe this current struggle should not be reduced to how the university would be reopened alone, but it must be connected at all times with the need for the termination of the current policy of fee hike in OAU. The leadership of the union should not portray students’ struggle as merely for reopening of the university.
6) Arising from this, the meeting adopted programmes of continuous actions to agitate for the immediate opening of the university and reversal of the hiked fees. We are greatly motivated by the examples of our LASU colleagues, who showed that tenacious action is capable of embarrassing and exposing an anti-people government, and consequently, capable of winning victory for the masses. The meeting however resolved to start immediate mobilisation for a mass rally of Nigerian youths, students and workers, which would hold on 20th August, 2014. The convergence is Mayfair roundabout, Ile-Ife. Time: 9am. In conclusion, we are aware that the agenda of the university administration all this while is to make doing good unattractive and criminal. But we are certain that the demands of Great Ife students for the reversal of the fee regime is justified and worth fighting for. In this battle, the ERC is committed to support Great Ife students to prosecute the struggle to a logical conclusion.
Issued: 15th August, 2014
Issued: 15th August, 2014