Tuesday 26 January 2016


The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) welcomes students back on campus after the unnecessary ‘mid-semester’ break. The break was a response of the management to the struggle against the bad welfare conditions and high handedness of the management which has subjected the entire students to untold hardship. We view this tactic of the management as inhuman and absolutely out of place as it cannot in any way serve as a panacea to the lingering crisis in the welfare conditions of the students. We urge Great Ife students to ensure they do not make the error of believing that the struggle is not justified because the University authorities closed down the campus and forced us on a mid-semester break. Yes! Much of our demands have not even been met. But the reality also is that things would be much worse than they are now without the tradition of struggle established by succeeding generations of Great Ife students.

Of course, the closure of the institution under the guise of a ‘mid-semester’ break is apparently a ploy by the Tale Omole administration to quell students’ legitimate demands. These include demand for a better welfare condition; the reinstatement of Olawale Owolabi (Ogunruku) suspended since 2011; the downward review of the 2014 fee hike; the probe of the financial state of the university, to understand why despite hundreds of millions of student fees, the welfare conditions continue to worsen; amongst others. More importantly, we feel it is necessary to reassert that the demand for a better welfare condition transcends the epileptic and erratic water and light supply. Rather it is inclusive of building of more hostels, lecture theatres and the renovation of the dilapidated ones, well equipped laboratories and libraries as well as clean toilets and bathrooms.

We in the ERC are not oblivious of the fact that the university management will continue to explore all tactics and weapons at its disposal to quell such genuine students’ demands. We hold that such antics of the management should be resisted by the students. One of the ways to resist this antics is to ensure that the struggle for all these demands continue until victory. If this happens, the authorities would quickly realize that nothing can stop us from demanding our right to decent living conditions and welfare provision on campus. We cannot continue to accept a situation in the 21st century male and female students are forced to bathe in the open and defecate in the bush because of poor lavatories! Instead we should ask for what happened to our fees as well as allocation to the University given the horrible conditions under which we are made to live as students!

The downward review of the 2014 fee hike which likewise constitutes the major demand of the students is equally paramount. This is borne out of the fact the increment has not in any way translated into a better welfare condition contrary to the argument adduced by the management while imposing the fees about 2 years back. This has further justified our position in the ERC that increment in the school fees constitutes no panacea to the legion of crises in the education sector; instead the government should assume its responsibility by ensuring the proper funding of the sector. To curtail the misappropriation and embezzlement of the institution’s fund which has eaten deep into the fabrics of the university system, the ERC shall continue to demand the democratization of the decision making organs of the institution comprising the staff unions and students’ representative.

We further seize the medium to answer the argument of the management that Olawale Owolabi’s (Ogunruku) name is not in the students’ data base of the institution. This argument is spurious; as the student followed the normal processes of admission given by the management making it easy for his suspension even though was based on undemocratic and kangaroo procedures. At this stage, the probe of the VC as regards the appropriation of the university fund is another very crucial demand that students must continue to fight for. From our position in the ERC, we have always agitated for the proper funding of education by the federal government. However, the paltry allocation is being siphoned off by the institution. Obviously from all practical fact, this corrupt practice is unbefitting of institutions of learning. Holistically, all these demands from all stances are justified by the students.

We deem it necessary to first vehemently condemn this undemocratic method of proscription of the union by the management. Hoping that the management would have understood that the crises still linger this is no means to solve the problem. The only way to resolve a crisis of this nature is to create a means to dialogue with the union with a view to acceding to students’ demands. We commend and boldly identify with the position of the entire Great Ife Student taken on this question. Defying the order of the suspension of the activities is both a bold and democratic step towards the campaign for an independent student union. But this should not just remain a political statement by the students rather instigation of political action should be placed at the front burner towards effecting this brave stance helping in a long way towards pressing home all the demands. This is the only way to effect the independence of the union.
From the wealth of our experience in the students’ movement, this is a period where students need to organize themselves to resist the management tactic of victimization. The management will stop at nothing to employ its devilish methods capable of dividing the rank of the students in order to create an easy avenue for its anti-poor policies to sail through unchallenged. Balance of forces will necessarily determine to a great extent the level of resistance of the management leading to the success of the students in their demands.

As already asserted, the union leadership must resume the responsibility of raising the consciousness of the students which is of paramount necessity. With the level of the organization of the authority, the students must neither rest on their oars. With no hesitation, the Union executives should convene an emergency congress towards reviewing the activities of the union and eventually mapping out strategies in the prosecution of the struggle to a logical and reasonable conclusion. Only the congress possesses the legitimacy and ability to map out well organized and consistent actions that can bring the struggle to victory. THE EARLIER THE BETTER. We opine therefore that a synergy should be drawn amid the rank and file of the staff unions (ASUU, SSANU, NASU and NAAT) in a bid towards exerting pressure on the common enemy of both students and members of staff which is the University Management. In this manner, it makes easier the success of the struggle. Conclusively, we once again advise the leadership of the union with immediate alacrity to swing into practical actions in order to avoid being tied to the apron string of the management and for the success of the ongoing struggle of the students.

* The management should accede to the demands of the students.
* The union leadership should convene an emergency congress to resist any form of victimization and map out strategies towards prosecuting the ongoing struggle
* For the students union to write an open petition to the government and its agencies including EFCC, ICPC, NUC, ministry of education, national assembly, presidency, e.t.c. On the misappropriation of university fund by the management and to demand the reversal of fees imposed on students, proper funding of the university and education sector, and end to all forms of undemocratic tendencies in the university.
* Democratization of the decision-making organs of the university comprising the elected representatives of staff and students’ unions.

 Com. Olamide                                   Omole Ibukun
COORDINATOR                                   SECRETARY

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