FROM THE LEADERSHIP OF THE UNION (As at the 28th of July,2014)
Revolutionary greetings to Great IFE students in their display of unwavering doggedness ever since the beginning of this million miles struggle to save public education and the future of the poor majority as well as the future of our dear nation, Nigeria. A scriptural injunction made for many starting but few being able to endure to the end. In light of this we unavoidably respect all Great IFE students who have prosecuted this struggle alongside the Union in utmost good faith and perseverance devoid of any ingenuity ever since till this point in history. Doubtless, history will remain kind to you and success of the struggle remains the golden award that can ever be best presented for your display of courage and resilience in the face of oppression.
Ever since the closure of the school on 18th of June, the university management has employed various tactics to force students to pay the unjustified fees ranging from the opening of the E-portal for payment and registration, fixing of a first date for commencement of late registration and an extension of the date to a later date. Beyond the illegality of such dates, consequent upon the closure of the school, the University has decided to make students pay under duress and later tell the public that the fees are affordable having earlier misinformed the general public about the fee regime. The quest to proof the non-affordability of the fees informed the position of the Union that students should not pay. To those who haven’t paid, thanks for defending our argument that not all students can pay. In the fiendish bid of the University management to force this huge moles of fees down our throat, they attempted turning our parent and staff unions against us as our actions went by. Thanks to the intervention of Joint Action Front (JAF) who helped to bring everyone back to a point of mutual understanding. This is against the allegation that the Union rejected the intervention of JAF and its efforts towards a quick and reasonable resolution of all matters on ground.
It is quite unfortunate that at critical historical moments like this, some individuals have constituted themselves into thorns in the neck and saboteurs of the struggle vis a vis their particular display of pervasive comradeship. These individuals will only advocate for trouble other than peaceful resolution of matters. They will propose lines of action and still be the same set of persons to antagonize all when the actions are not yielding results. The same individuals went on to apply for INEC job after criticizing the idea by the Union that it was a political move. These individuals so take pleasure in playing politics with a struggle for the emancipation of the oppressed. Your hypocrisy and banality will be addressed in due time.
Having conducted ourselves as constructive, progressive, matured and peaceful fighters for emancipation, our actions attracted interventions from various quarters both within and outside the university system. ASUU following a directive of its NEC, concerned associations and eminent individuals met us and appealed that we give them room to intervene and mediate so that the whole issue will be resolved on the table and early re-opening will be ensured. Our refusal to entertain peace moves would present us as the belligerent party- an image which will make us lose sympathy before our teeming supporters and strengthen the blackmail from the University management that we are not open to discussion when they have actually refused to call for one. As a Union we remain committed to quick and holistic resolution of the matter to allow our students to resume the campus again. J.F Kennedy said ‘Civility is not a sign of weakness and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us not fear to negotiate’. The hapless condition of market women, okada riders, commercial bus drivers and business owners whose livelihood depends on students being on campus renders quick resumption more exigent.
We remain resolute in fighting for the poor, indigent and general downtrodden of the nation who education remains their only route to good life. The fees regardless of the amount is out of the reach of the indigent and we cannot afford to see our friends drop out of school due to inability to pay fees. It is important that the government at all levels (University administrations inclusive) to note that the best security measure that can be put in place in a capitalist society like ours is to cater for the poor and vulnerable in the society. For if a free society cannot help the many who are poor it cannot save the few who are rich. Making life more difficult by making an essential commodity like education exclusive to the indigent is a fast route to the destruction of the capitalist society. Cater for the poor and you have peace is the rule else according to John F. Kennedy …until this is done, the struggle continues as our aluta train is still very much alive.
It is sardonic that some students at the call for late registration went on to pay the fees. The question is if the OAU situation were to be like that of LASU where fees were jacked up from NGN25, 000 to like NGN300, 000, would you have paid? Even if it is the reduced fee of LASU now between N85, 000 and N130,000 would you have still paid? Would you have betrayed the order of the union not to pay? It’s certain that many will still obey our directive if these had been the case!
The idea of late registration with the current status of the varsity is not only illegal but also laughable! It is to us ridiculous that people that cannot afford to pay an increased fee is being compelled to pay late registration fee especially when controversies on the fee regime linger. How can such person afford the late registration fee? Thousands have not paid including the leadership of the union, Great IFE, let’s see who will truncate our studentship for astronomical increase we cannot afford! Moreover, the University calendar is no more operative since school is shut down. A new calendar presupposes the re-opening of the school and a senate meeting to approve new calendar where late registration will be explicitly stated. Late registration at this period is nothing but an attempt to punish us for exercising our right to protest against obnoxious increment. It cannot stand! Time will tell!
Conclusively, being the alternative to the status quo, we are committed to quick resumption and we are doing everything possible to achieve that but not at the expense of the indigent students. We are employing all strength available to ensure that we achieve a holistic resolution of all matters including a review of the fees, instalmental payment, work study and grants for the indigent and scholarship for the brilliant among other issues. The last three we had proposed during the pre-action negotiations but they refused then. Why is it that it is now they are now informing us at the panel that they are ready to accept that? We implore Great IFE students to remain resolute with us in this struggle for the liberation of the poor Nigerian child. Education must not be out of the reach of the poor. Great Ife, if this is the only thing our current generation can do for subsequent ones, we must achieve it!
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Bamidele Oludare J.
Ibikunle Isaac M.