Saturday, 23 May 2015



In as much as dialogue is very essential, the rights of individuals to agitate for their rights must not be taken for granted. We make this assertion due to recent developments on campus. 

A few weeks ago, electricity supply to the campus deteriorated terribly. Both students and members of staff were adversely affected. As it was close to examinations, students were understandably anxious. Expectedly, they looked towards their newly-inaugurated University of Lagos Students Union (ULSU) executives to lead them in struggle to the University administration to demand an explanation as to the reason for the power cut two weeks to the first semester examination of 2014/15 academic session. Surprisingly, the ULSU executives decided to keep mute on the issues that affects the generality of students they represented. This attitude of the ULSU executive however propelled some group of concerned students to mobilize for a peaceful action considering the weakness of the executives to act. To show that struggle pays, the electricity situation improved after the protest and the examinations were further postponed to allow students prepare adequately. 

However, surprisingly after some days, there was a report that some of the students that participated in the protest were summoned to face a disciplinary panel for mobilizing protest without the consent of ULSU executives. 

 Based on our findings, these students have been charged to face a disciplinary panel for trying to form a parallel union, by mobilizing a protest when ULSU had not given them the consent to do so. We in the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) consider this allegation unfair, vindictive and outright condemnable. In the first place, the internal affairs of students (whether or not they have the consent of ULSU to take action) should not concern the University administration. That issue should be sorted out by the students themselves through the internal democratic structures of their union. What should concern the administration are the grievances and demands of students regardless of the circumstances or means through which this is communicated. How does the circumstance through which the displeasure over power outage was communicated to the administration affect, diminish or delegitimize the demands for restoration of electricity supply before examination commences? 

By making an attempt to victimise for the slightest expression of defiance, the University administration is embarking on a ruinous path trodden severally by authorities in the past. Unfortunately, the history of the University system in Nigeria shows clearly that such method of witch-hunt, reminiscent of the Inquisition, is an harbinger of crises and instability. However this allegation only goes to confirm what the ERC has always suspected, which is that even while the administration agreed after protracted struggle to restore the union, it is on the basis that it would be able to monitor and control the affairs of the union.

With what is going on right now, many students are beginning to think that perhaps this union is not what they expected during the whole period of the agitation for the restoration of independent unionism. Equally, many believe that the union leaders have a hand in the attempts to victimise these students and are disappointed that a supposedly independent union would rely on the power of management to discipline their fellow students who have not committed any crime but only trying to defend their interests and that of their colleagues. These same executives have failed to call for a congress of students to inform them of their position about the numerous welfare problems on campus.

As far as we are concerned in the ERC, students would not have gone out of their way to organise protest if the ULSU leaders had been proactive. So the lesson ULSU leaders must learn is that the students they lead are not going to be docile and quiet while they are being oppressed and exploited. They will rise and fight to defend their interests at all times.

The ULSU leaders need to sit tight now in order to win the hearts and minds of students many of whom are beginning to voice their disappointments in the leadership. The starting point here is for the ULSU leaders to publicly defend the students who have been invited to a panel. This is because an "injury to one is an injury to all". If ULSU secretly supports or look away now while students are being victimised for protesting for their rights, the repercussion would be that ULSU leaders themselves in the coming period would risk suffering the same victimisation whenever they have to lead struggles against anti-student policies of the University administration. Equally if these set of students are successfully victimised with ULSU not raising a finger, the immediate repercussion is that many students would be frightened of ever fighting for their rights; something which would affect students participation in ULSU activities in the coming period. So in whatever way we look at it, it is the union which is just coming out of a decade of proscription rather than the individual students that have the most to lose if this victimisation is not resisted. This is why we call on ULSU to publicly condemn the allegation and also make representation to the University administration to argue for the discontinuation of the disciplinary process.

(1) Discontinuation of the disciplinary process against students that participated in the protest against power outage.
(2) For the recognition and defence of the right to protest
(3) For an independent, democratic and accountable students' union
(4) For a congress of students to discuss how ULSU should respond to the many welfare challenges students face on campus
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) is a campaign platform of the Democratic socialist Movement (DSM). We stand for struggle against fee hike and for a free, functional and democratically-managed education. We also stand for an independent, democratic and accountable union that can defend the interests of all students. We hold our branch meetings every Wednesday. Call the phone number below to join and participate in our activities.

Comrade Gbenga Opasola


Appeal for Donations and other Forms of Support

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) annual Free Holiday Coaching is here again. The commencement date for this year's edition is August 4, 2015. We appeal to members of the public to render whatever support possible to this year's edition of the project. Cash donations and material supports in form of books, writing materials, food and drinks are welcomed.

The Free Holiday Coaching is an annual project of the ERC to enable poor and indigent secondary school students (from SS1 to SS3) who may not be able to afford the cost of private coaching to be able to receive free but quality teaching during this summer holiday. As everyone knows, teaching condition in public schools is so bad that students need extra classes during the holiday especially if they are preparing for external examinations.

Through this project, we also help to highlight government criminal neglect of the education needs of the poorest of the poor living in disadvantaged communities. Our belief in the ERC remains that until government deploys the vast resources of the country, which is otherwise looted, to invest in public education up to the point of provision of free and quality education at all levels, our education sector will continue to be the exclusive preserve of the rich few. This is why together with the free holiday coaching, the ERC is active in the advocacy and struggle for funding of public education.

Since 2005 and at an average of 300 annually, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has provided teaching free of charge to over 3000 secondary school students in Ajegunle community of Lagos State. Many of the beneficiaries are now graduates and in many tertiary institutions across the country.

We could not have achieved this feat without the incredible sacrifices and contributions of our team of volunteer teachers (most of whom are fellow youth with hearts large enough to render their service free of charge). Also crucial to the success of this project is the support of the public as well as organisations like ActionAid Nigeria, media and individuals too numerous to name. This same support and more would be needed for the success of the project this year.

The economic crisis ravaging the country has adversely impacted on low-income and vulnerable families who are the targets of this project. The consequence of this crisis is that poor parents more often than before now have to make a choice between their children's education and how to stretch the family's tiny income to cover food needs for the month. We therefore expect a far larger turnout of indigent students this year.

For this, we are assembling a bigger team of volunteer teachers who can take various subjects. If there are more resources this year, we would like to introduce computer training which has been a dream for years now. Given the conversion of the Universal Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to Computer Based Test (CBT), our ability to provide training in computer would be of invaluable help to the students. Therefore, the support of the public in whatever way possible is urgently needed.

Once again we will like to thank all those who have supported us in any way in the past including all those who have visited the coaching to speak at the Friday Career and Counselling Talk or just to see at first sight what we are doing on the ground.

From the ERC team and on behalf of the Volunteer Teachers - Our heroes, we say "THANK YOU!"

For further enquiry, please call 07033697259 or send a message to

Read below the reports of some of the past editions of the Coaching

2006 ERC: Ajegunle Chapter Holds Free Coaching Classes

2012 ERC Free Summer Coaching Ends withSymposium

2013 ERC Rounds Off Free Holiday Coaching


H.T Soweto
National Coordinator
Education Rights Campaign (ERC)