The decision of the Federal Government to ensure academic activities continue in public schools across the nation has been greeted with so many criticisms from students of Obafemi Awolowo University.
The honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau after his meeting with commissioners for education nationwide on Monday decided to dump the idea of giving students election break so as not to further disrupt academic calendar. The minister cited the impromptu Ebola break whose effect is still been felt in the sector. Students of Obafemi Awolowo University have however chided the minister and those who sat with him to take such decision as not weighing arguments properly before making their pronouncements. Even as the Students' Union leaders of Obafemi Awolowo University continue to dance to the gallery on their own opinion about the much talked about election break whenever they are asked, the Union President, Ibikunle Isaac Motunrayo confirmed to the media yesterday that students of OAU do not need to be given any election break.
Ibikunle’s comment of ‘no election break’ for OAU students has further heightened and heated arguments among students as to why the Students’ Union president has to say such thing without consulting the students as such matter relates directly to their welfare. “This is a criminal way of supporting the disenfranchisement of Great Ife students in the coming elections” a student said. Other argument raised by students is that they are involved in the electioneering process. For those that are not part of the electorates, they will be serving as electoral officers in their various states. “I registered for the INEC adhoc job because of the money involved so that I will be able to pay the increased school fees come next semester but with the no election break announcement, I am seriously confused” another OAU student lamented.
Some other students who expressed fear over what may ensue after the February 14 poll believe it is not sane for any authority to keep her students in school when the Federal Government will not be providing additional security to protect lives and properties. “I pray we have a peaceful election but anything can happen and so, we should see beyond now. 2011 is still fresh in memory! What will the school authorities do if any violence breaks out after the election? Disperse students into the violence? You see the decision to keep students in school is not making any sense” a student said.
The Obafemi Awolowo University management as at the time of filing this report is yet to say anything on the election break as the Senate plans to meet before Friday. However, there are fears that the management might adopt the Federal Government’s decision not even when the Students’ Union leaders are supporting the same idea at the expense of popular demands of the students. Some departments have however scheduled their tests to hold on February 28.