Friday, 30 September 2016


Report of the Closing Ceremony of the 2016 ERC Free Holiday Coaching

By ERC reporters, Ajegunle

After six weeks of intensive teaching by a committed team of volunteer teachers, the eleventh edition of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) free holiday coaching organized for indigent secondary school students in the Ajegunle community of Lagos state came to a colorful end with a closing ceremony on Friday 2 September, 2016. This year’s coaching commenced on the 25th July, 2016.
The ceremony witnessed the attendance of 350 students from both public and private secondary schools who participated in the coaching as well as the volunteers’ teachers who once again rendered their community service to the success of this year’s coaching. In addition, representatives of Youth Empowerment Development Initiative (YEDI), Special Olympics Fitness (SOfit) and Actionaid Activista were on ground to grace the event.

Equally, present as guests and speakers to the program were the Head Mistress of Anglican primary school II: Mrs. Simeon Durojaiye Cinderella, Dagga Tolar: NUT chair AJIF, Wole Olubanji (National Mobilization officer, ERC), Emmanuel Adikwu (member of Democratic Socialist Movement, DSM), Mr. Rasheed from Actionaid Activista etc to discuss the theme of the day: MASS FAILURE AND THE CHALLENGES FACED BY THE NIGERIAN STUDENTS. Also, reporters from Vanguard and Guardian newspapers were on ground to cover the event.

Underfunding to Blame for Mass Failure
The discussion started with an introductory speech from Bestman Michael (the Branch Coordinator of ERC). In his speech, he made it clear that the ERC free coaching that was initiated in 2005 has recorded a huge success in these past years in the Ajegunle community. The coaching, he continued; has over the past 10 years been able to record more than 4000 students in attendance attending from different streets and working class homes in the community.

Some of the students who have participated in the free coaching have gained admission into Universities and other tertiary institutions. This for the ERC is a plus to the success of the lesson organized all these years. Furthermore, Comrade Bestman Michael stated that the mass failure experienced in public senior secondary schools has been alarming and this is a result of the failure of government to fund public education appropriately. Many times, public school students find it difficult to cope with the crisis they have to go through especially the poor learning environment. He cited one of the public schools situated at Tolu Complex in Ajegunle as an example. This school is highly populated with students overcrowding the classrooms while there are no enough teachers to cover the various subjects.

Immediately after the introductory speech, other speakers mounted the rostrum. Emmanuel Adikwu (member of Democratic Socialist Movement, DSM) equally made the point sharply clear that the government has failed to improve the condition of public education with pro-masses policies like increase in the budgetary allocation and provision of teaching facilities. Instead, what we have seen so far is that government has continued to attack public education with neo-liberal policies of privatization and commercialization while refusing to fund education adequately. This has created huge pressure on students from working class homes all of which can affect their ability to excel.

According to Emmanuel Adikwu, policies like privatization, commercialization and underfunding are the worst enemies of public education. However through the free holiday coaching, the ERC is trying to make the point that free, public funded and democratically-managed education is possible in Nigeria if society’s wealth is democratically and judiciously managed.

Other speakers like Wole Olubanji Engels (national mobilization officer, ERC); NUT AJIF Chairman (Dagga Tolar) also further exposed the deplorable state of public education in Nigeria and the government negligence towards it. Wole said that in all these years the various governments who came to power have not added to the budgetary allocation to public education. What they have successfully done is to continue to cut down the life span of public education in Nigeria while shifting the blame of poor academic performance on the alleged inadequacies of students. Against this background, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) on the various campuses and communities have to continue the campaign for proper funding of education by demanding that the government should fund public education with at least 26% budgetary allocation. This can be a starting point to eradicating the growing rate of illiteracy in the country. This is what ERC has always stood for all these years since the inception of this organization and the commencement of the coaching in Ajegunle community.  

On his part, the NUT Chairman, Comrade Dagga Tolar also gave insight to the condition of the various public schools situated in Ajeromi Ifelodun LGA. A lot of the primary schools do not have adequate number of teachers to teach the pupils. In fact, he continued, some of the primary schools only have five teaching staff which includes either the Head Mistress or Head Master to cover up the scheme of work for the whole term. This is a huge problem confronted by teachers unable to cover the whole topics in the scheme. That is why students experience decline in performance which results in failure in their exams. Dagga also made the students who have participated in this year’s edition of the coaching to understand that why in their various senior secondary schools there were inadequate number of teachers is because the government has shut the door close for employment in the education sector.  

Representatives from Special Olympic Fitness (SOfit) Mr. Sylvester Oboh and Mr. Rasheed from Actionaid Activista also made comment sabout the need for students to be diligent in their studies so that they can succeed and be in a position to make a difference in the society. 

There were gift presentation like exercise books, biros, literary books, and other educational materials to the students in order to help them as they prepare for resumption into first term of the new academic session. 

About 14 students who did well in the test conducted at the end of the coaching were presented with these gifts. Also, all the volunteer teachers who participated in the coaching were duly awarded the ERC certificate as a token of appreciation for their efforts in making this year edition a success. 

Also, certificates were presented to thirty (30) females by Youth Empowerment Development Initiative (YEDI). The girls participated in a program called SKILLZ GIRL for five (5) days from 22 August to 26 August, 2016 during the free coaching exercise. The purpose of the program was to educate them on Female Guide on Sex where a study was given to them freely. 

The ceremony was rounded off by the AJ HOUSE OF POETRY who entertained the audience with interesting theatrical performances. Other activities like music, drama, poem recitation also took place to the delight of the audience.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016




Press Statement

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) demands the immediate payment of backlog of salaries running into 5 months that the joint owners of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) – the Osun and Oyo state governments – are owing academic and non-academic staff of the institution. We also demand the opening of the University which has been shut for about 3 months now.

No doubt, Ajimobi and Aregbesola, the governors of Oyo and Osun states, have gained notoriety for their gross irresponsibility especially when it comes to matters of public education and workers wages. But the current crisis in LAUTECH which has kept the University shut and students idling at home for about three months is a new low. By this latest development, what the Osun and Oyo state governments are demonstrating is that they are among the most education-hostile governments in the country.

We call for immediate joint protest and mass demonstrations of workers and students of the institution to confront both state governments until the salary arrears are paid, University reopened and the Students’ Union which was suspended over allegations of electoral violence is restored so that students can have a platform to fight for their rights.

In this vein, we commend the decision of the institution’s chapter of Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU), early this week, to commence strike action to press for payment of the subventions, salary arrears and improvement in working condituions. This is in addition to workers under the aegis of the Senior Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) who are already on strike. While in full solidarity with the action of the workers, we hereby call on the staff unions not to simply down tools and stay at home. Instead they should organize regular congresses, symposia, joint protest marches and demonstrations accompanied by mass circulation of leaflets and an active press campaign through which they will be able to explain their case and the injustice done to them to the general public.

We condemn the Osun and Oyo state governments for their failure to promptly pay subventions to the University as at when due. The outstanding subvention is running into about 23 months! This situation has adversely affected workers wages and capital projects such that only TETFund projects are the only physical projects taking place on the campus. Workers have a right to their wages. Also students have a right to be in school. Many students, including those who wish to proceed for National Youth Service (NYSC), are undergoing unquantifiable suffering and losses as a result of this crisis. Paying the workers their arrear of salaries is the only way to get the University reopened so that students who are suffering at home can continue their academic activities.

We also condemn the sectarian call by the Ogbomoso Parapo Worldwide, Home Branch for Osun indigenes in the workforce to leave the institution. We urge the unions to stoutly reject this sectarian call and any attempt to sow division among workers and students of the institution. The unions must fight to protect the jobs of all workers regardless of their state of origin. We equally condemn the group’s and others’ crude attempt to reduce the crisis in LAUTECH to the irresponsibility of Osun state alone. According to the group, the root cause of the crisis is the co-ownership of LAUTECH by Osun and Oyo states. But even facts prove the group’s claim wrong. Out of about 23 months outstanding subvention, Osun state reportedly owes 15 months while Oyo owes 8 months.

As far as the ERC is concerned, both the Osun and Oyo state governments and their neo-liberal capitalist policy of education underfunding are responsible for the age-long crisis in LAUTECH. Granted that the Osun state Government led by Governor Aregbesola is chronically irresponsible when it comes to workers welfare and public education. But going by similar anti-poor and anti-education policies of Governor Ajimobi, it is nothing but grand illusion to expect that if Oyo state assumes the sole ownership of LAUTECH that the crisis will come to an end. This is the same Oyo state government that is owing the state civil servants and retirees backlog of salaries and allowances which led to a 7-week strike action. This is the same government that attempted to sell public secondary schools under the excuse that government can no more fund them. Up till today, resident doctors at the LAUTECH teaching hospital are being owed months of salaries by the same Ajimobi-led Oyo state government. So what would become the fate of LAUTECH if handed over to Oyo state alone?

Yes it is true that Oyo state does not have a public University of its own but what is the state of the other public tertiary institutions established by the state? All of them are in different state of abandon with many of them lacking basic facilities for teaching and learning. Therefore it is not only fraudulent to argue that sole ownership of the institution by Oyo state is the solution to the perennial crisis rocking LAUTECH, it is also a course of action which if taken can only  result into bitter disappointment for students and workers of the institution.

It is adequate funding and democratic management, including elected representatives of staffs and students, of LAUTECH  that can resolve the crisis on a lasting basis. However against the capitalist policies and philosophy of both state governments, only the enthronement of working peoples’ government armed with socialist economic policies in Osun and Oyo states can ensure that the public resources of both states are judiciously utilized to fund LAUTECH and other public institutions in the two states.

Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                            Michael Ogundele                          
National Coordinator (07033697259)                 National Secretary             

Monday, 19 September 2016



 Press statement
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns the deactivation of the e-portal page of Ibukun Omole, a student activist, by the management of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife. By deactivating the e-portal page of a student, he or she is technically on suspension as he/she cannot register his courses for the semester or session. But in the case of Omole Ibukun, no official disciplinary process as laid down in the University rules was followed neither was he invited to a panel of any kind to allow him exercise his right to fair hearing.

 We therefore consider this action of the University unjustifiable, illegal, an abuse of office and a flagrant violation of the University rules and the principles of natural justice. We call on the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Anthony Elujoba, to direct that Ibukun’s e-portal page be opened and halt any further plan to victimize him. Not doing this in our opinion would mean that the Prof. Elujoba-led administration, rather than the breath of fresh air it claims to be, is merely a continuation of the despotic past.

 Omole Ibukun, a part five undergraduate student of the Department of Civil Engineering, is the secretary of the OAU branch of the ERC and a member of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM). For more than 3 years, Ibukun has been an active voice on the campus against anti-poor education policies and attack on students and workers democratic rights. He is particularly being victimized for his leading role in the campaign for the probe of the immediate past tyrannical Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Bamitale Omole who was involved in multiple cases of mismanagement of fund as well as attack on democratic rights. Ibukun also played a prominent role in the struggles of the staff unions which forced the Federal Government to dissolve the corrupt Governing Council and terminate the appointment of Bamitale Omole’s protégé, Prof. Ayobami Salami, as Vice Chancellor and his subsequent replacement by Prof. Elujoba in acting capacity.

 This despotic act which was implemented in February 2016 by the immediate-past Prof. Bamitale Omole University administration is currently being upheld by the Prof. Anthony Elujoba administration in a manner that does not portray any striking difference from the structure that was ousted by the struggles of non-academic staff and students recently, for the new administrators to take power.

 While the e-portal access page of a student remains necessary for registering for new sessions, checking of results of past examinations, amongst other uses, the e-portal access page of Ibukun Omole remains inaccessible and keeps stating that he has committed an offence. Meanwhile, the university rules demand that anyone who is alleged to have committed an offence will be required to reply to a query first, and if the reply is insufficient, such students are invited to appear before an investigative panel before any letter of suspension or other disciplinary actions can be issued. Yet, the Obafemi Awolowo University administration disobeyed this law, as this student (Omole Ibukun) was not invited to any investigative panel for the sake of fair-hearing neither was any letter of suspension or any other form of disciplinary action issued to him.

Instead, Omole Ibukun was queried on 24 February 2016 on account of posts the University alleged he wrote on his facebook wall which, according to the query letter, “were understood to mean that the distinguished members of the Senate of the University are men and women of little reason and are not deserving of any respect”, and that these purported posts are “misconduct contrary to... the Code of Conduct of the University Community”. Omole Ibukun in his prompt response to this query denied authorship of the alleged posts since within the period the said posts allegedly appeared on his facebook wall, he had lost access to his facebook account in a manner suspicious of the handiwork of hackers and he had subsequently warned friends on his contact list not to respond to any solicitous messages from the said account. Since February 25, 2016 when he submitted his response, he has not heard anything officially from the authorities. He was not subsequently invited to an investigative or disciplinary panel as would be the case, in accordance with University rules, if his response to the query was found insufficient. All he realized was that subsequently he lost access to his e-portal page, something which he initially attributed to a technical glitch.

The current effect of this act on the student is demonstrated by his inability to register for the last academic session in the school, and to access and view the results of the previous academic session.

The ERC considers the continuous deactivation of Ibukun Omole’s e-portal page which is tantamount to deprivation of his studentship status as an attempt to keep him at the mercy of the management for the rest of his stay on campus so that he would not be able to continue to challenge the University’s anti-poor education policies. We hereby call on students and workers of the University to oppose this victimization of Omole Ibukun and start to lawfully and politically pressurize the university management to amend its ways.




Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                               Michael Ogundele                            

National Coordinator (07033697259)                      National Secretary

Friday, 16 September 2016

Lautech shutdown and government palaver

By Taiwo Ademola

In 2011, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, described Nigeria’s educational system as a colossal failure and called for the declaration of a state of emergency in the sector. At a later date, Soyinka in fact went on to propose a shutdown of all tertiary institutions for two years to enable the adequate tackling of the ‘inherent rot’. To him, the deplorable state is perhaps irreparable except if given such attention as becoming of sectors where state of emergency is/are declared. 

The erudite professor, though means well, did not take into cognizance how different his understanding and interpretation of such word as emergency is to complacent Nigerian governments (both at the national and state levels). While he and well-meaning Nigerians worry over how illiteracy level has gotten to such disgraceful height; a situation whereby being an artisan is comparable, and even thought of as better than being a university graduate, the latter grossly termed with such unregistered colloquial as graduate illiterate, the governments seems not lose a sleep over the issue. And to think they wouldn't mind permitting any small wind to destabilise the already crumbling system is worrisome. 

It is now close to three months since Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, has been shut down due to the non-payments of the institution worker’s salaries and entitlements for quite some months now. And sadly, nothing hitherto has revealed the genuine interest of the two governments who jointly own the school, other than a statement from the Permanent Secretary of the Osun state ministry of education, Mr Festus Olajide, who in the as- usual-Nigeria-government rhetoric said, the government will see into the issue. Of course, it is everyone’s prayer that Nigeria will one day reach a level where the government will stop seeing into everything without doing something really about it. That statement has been well over four weeks now, and nothing yet has been done to address the situation. 

 The response of the Osun state government to the strike action though lacking in conviction as evidenced in the fact that the strike still linger on, could be lauded if one considers the I-don't- care disposition of the Oyo state government to the situation. 

Or are we to relate this immoral act of neglect and outright nonchalance to the nation's economy since the nation’s economy seems now to be the new reason for every single problem in the country. Even the nation's economic paralysis is in no way separable from the dilapidating education sector, for if the knowledge impacted by universities and other higher learning institutions had been commensurable with the yearly turn outs of graduates, we wouldn't have probably been plunged in such economic catastrophe as we presently are. And it is quite counter intuitive to conceive of it that a government that is serious about economic resuscitation is at the same time crippling the education sector in neither paying education worker's salaries and entitlements as and when due, nor improving the institution's state of infrastructure. 

It is not a sin if the Osun and Oyo governments admit to their inability to rescue the situation. Doing this may attract the attention of the federal government to render whatever help it can, or perhaps, assume ownership of the institution if even for a short term or outright. 

It is now high time successive governments in the two states stop using student's lives to play the game of dice. The constancy of the strike actions by the school staffs mostly due to unpaid salaries and entitlements is merely a reflection of gross impotence which simply could be cured by calling for help or sitting for a review of the university's ownership, or perhaps handing the university over to the federal government. . This strike should not just be called off in a scrupulous manner as typical of others. The key reasons must be considered to forestall future occurrences. If that is not done, it merely reveals how students' interest is after all not important in the decision process, something which naturally should not have been the case. Responsibility demands proactive and sincere actions. So as we to say #Reopenlautech and we want the whole troubles affiliated with the constant strike action resolved once and for all.

Taiwo Ademola, a fresh graduate of LAUTECH, is a supporter of Education Rights Campaign (ERC)