OAU SU Inauguration: Full Text Of TY's Presidential Address
- The University Visitor
- The Chancellor
- The Pro Chancellor
- The Vice-Chancellor
- The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic
- The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration
- The Bursar
- The Librarian
- The Provost
- The Deans of Faculties
- The Directors of Centers
- Heads of Department
And to the major and number stakeholders on this campus the GREAT IFE STUDENTS
All other protocols as severally being enumerated duly observed.
OUR MANDATE AND THE DELAYED MANTLE
It is an historical privilege to stand here and address this gathering of dignitaries, academics, intelligentsia and progressive-minded students on this epoch-making occasion of my inauguration as president of Great Ife students' union and that of my highly supportive members of CEC, SRC and HEC. I see it as a great honor to serve the entirety of Great Ife Students.
It is indeed a life time opportunity to register a legacy and make mark of indelible impact.
The orientation of leadership that we carry is that of service and not privilege, that of responsibility and not opportunity, that of learning and not looting, that of conscientisation and not connections. Unfortunately, this generation sees leadership as a privilege to harness, acquire, and accrue ephemeral wealth and fame. In our time we see it as a God-given privilege to serve, love, and to leave a legacy.
On the 24th of March, 2015, Great Ife Students out of a longing for a pro-student Union went to the poll to make new political bounds with the new set of leaders they believe can give our union a new and befitting image.
Students have longed for genuine, progressive, radical and vibrant Students’ Union which have being in abeyance for a long time. The bond made on that faithful day is not based on the fancifulness of posters and banners, the political expenditure of candidates, or any form of oratory dexterity, that bond is genuinely formed on the basis of conviction that their new leaders will not betray their struggles, will champion their cause, will assert their needs, will not jettison their welfare challenges and will advance the rich traditions and values of our union. I am reiterating this so newly sworn-in union leaders and the management will understand why students gave us such a popular and protest vote.
In a nutshell, our mandate is based on the yearning not for a reactionary, pseudo-progressive, or management subservient union.
THE STATE OF OUR UNION
Our union though may share a similar organogram to that of a government but is ideological, constitutionally and historically a pressure group that has a sole obligation to advance the cause of its members. This fundamental rason de’tre of a student union, should I say Great Ife Union, must be entrenched into the consciousness of every union leader and the state (management and government) must accept this reality.
The Great Ife Student Union used to have a sharp dissenting characteristic from that of NANS, our union is synonymous for its revolutionary struggles, national intervention, solidarity spirit and historically progressive stance. Nonetheless, in recent years, our image has been seriously soured for two reasons;
• Union Leaders are becoming partisan, greedy and disconnected from the tenets, principles and traditions of students’ unionism.
• The management undue interference, attack, proscription, victimization, criminalization of our struggles and other deliberate attempt to debilitate our Union and weaken the consciousness of our members in an attempt for us not to challenge their anti-student policies and agenda.
We are going to commit ourselves to the long term resuscitation of a vibrant student union with an ideological alignment to that of our founding fathers.
STUDENTS BODY: NANS
The Union is the fifth estate of the realm. The executive, the first, who have shown serious incompetence to execute, the legislators, the second, who loot money into their pockets, the third, the judiciary with bench full of justice that perpetrate injustice and the fourth, the media who have been seriously compromised with conscienceless pen.
For us at Ife we have two alternatives for NANS. First is to go back to NANS, and fractionalize out a progressive wing that will advance students interest. Second is to demand for proscription of NANS and formulate a new student body whose constituent will be matriculated student and not some ‘over-graduate’ called ‘irunmole-in-NANS’ otherwise known as stakeholders.
Our struggle to earn the independence of our union has been deliberately sabotaged and misconstrued. Yes, no state or system can be independent. That the university management disburses funds to our union through government subventions (our parent tax payer money) and our students’ due is a valid argument to say the vice chancellor is not the sponsoring authority. For us, our autonomy is non-negotiable.
INCREMENT IN SCHOOL FEES
Let me be quick to admit that the Nigerian education sector is abysmally funded, the vision of the founding fathers of this prestigious University and their commitment to free qualitative education e.g. the 1955 Awolowo free education policy, is not in conformity and clearly deviate from that of the modern day government. The current leaders have no vision for the sector. The budgetary allocation to education in 2013 and 2015 are 8.4% and 10.1% respectively as against the recommended 25% for developing countries by UNESCO. However, no reputable public institution can survive without funding from external bodies. But whenever the university management claims to look inward they look into our parents’ pocket.
Our Students cannot continue to pay for the increment in school fees having not yielded any commensurate improvement in the welfare condition. This has made the increment itself questionable and unconscionable. The 2010/2011 obnoxious and preposterous increment in acceptance fee from N2,000 to N20,000 has not yielded any substantial achievement before we were inflicted with another in 2014. We have two problems with these:
1. The last increment has yielded nothing in terms of improved welfare
2. The student’s union was not duly consulted and if some executives were consulted and played the role of fifth columnists then that means the increment was not ratified by the congress.
We hereby demand for a committee of students and management to be called the School Fees Review Committee that will investigate the justification of last increment and analyze the university funding and expenditure. The committee will come out with a report to tell us if the university management is indeed broke and if they are, have they exhausted all other channels of generating funds? After their findings, they must initiate the procedure for a review.
DEMOCRATIC DECISION MAKING PROCESS
A democratic state should have all its parastatals epitomizing democracy. Nigeria being a democratic sovereign should ensure that all institutions follow suite.
By population, by essence, by importance and long term contributions (being the Alumni), the students are the major stakeholders in this institution, it therefore faults natural judgment and rationality if decisions and policies are made on their behalf in their absence. Students have deployed a high sense of ingenuity and fecundity to be given such a pivotal role. No doubt, some student leaders have abused every small opportunity for some pecuniary interest or displayed porous representation but this should not stop the proper student representation hence having a stake in decision making.
The appointment of Vice Chancellor, disbursement of funds, execution of major projects, construction of time table and expenditure profile and other salient decisions need student’s lion input.
We demand for the immediate students’ representation into the department board, faculty board, major committee, the senate up to the Governing council.
The welfare of the people is the ultimate and prime consideration.
Despite the much promised improved welfare out of the increment, after the increment, the welfare condition on this campus is 'animalistic', horrendous and not palatable for human survival. The disguised renovation by the University management is laughable. After fumigation and some superficial land clearing, they declared resumption. While the slum-like, dilapidated structures, decayed toilets are left untouched. The congested rooms due to the lackadaisical gesture to build more hostels for students have registered no attention. Water is a colorless, odorless, tasteless solvent, an amphoteric oxide with two lone pairs of electrons in a molecule. The water supplied in our halls of residence is uncharacteristic of the above features. The health center has a constantly long queue and apparently short-staff with very poor human relations of the few ones present.
For a 21st century University, alternative power supply should not be a challenge for the professors in elect-elect to put together while the management provides the necessary fund. OAU should generate its own power and even supply for the immediate community, not now to depend on the mainstream Nigeria sector.
One thing I can assure the management is that this administration will not condone the welfare of our student taken with levity. We will not succumb to learning under inhabitable condition. We hereby give the management an ultimatum of 3months to provide new generators to each Hall of residence, expansion of the water dam and the laying of the foundation of new hostels within the campus.
I personally want to commend the security unit for their collaborative effort with that of the students’ union. I want to say they remain the most student approachable unit and I appreciate the special support of Mr. Paul Ogidi, the C.S.O.
On this campus, security is a collective responsibility. The autonomy of the student security committee must not be disrespected. We understand the importance of teamwork and intelligence information in which we will not hesitate to collaborate with the University management.
To the students, we will not stop the flushing of some neo-fascist elements. Some of them we have identified, some we have followed and we have surveillance on them. July 10, 1999, while we cry we manage to see. This administration will do everything to deal with culprit of theft case.
To the cultists, we are giving you a 2 week ultimatum; a book will be open at SUB for you to renounce your membership. Some of you were forcefully initiated when there was no Union or from other higher institutions. The number one Alero, Aye and Eye we know you all and this administration will not condone your actions. OAU is not a fertile ground for cult activities as our zero tolerance on cultism stand vehemently.
Suspended students should rise and keep standing.
These people are not rapists, they are not cultist, they have not committed any form of examination malpractice, to us, they are comrade that fought for a just cause. Their parents are expecting them to come back home with a B.Sc. The management should certify them with certificate of merit for their courage. We beseech the management to ensure that these ones do not spend an additional session outside campus because their genuine cause was criminalized and they were consequently victimized. The tailored case of abduction is very unfair and easily refutable. They have spent more than one session and we want you to help bring them back as we begin the 2014/2015 session. We will do everything diplomatically to gain their reinstatement and when diplomacy fails we are ready to go confrontational though we do not pray it leads to that.
The Ken Saro Wiwa building is a very sacred place to us as a Union. The encroachment of CARTREC undermines our authority to manage, organize and control price of products and services at SUB. Though the former union leaders might have mismanaged and over allocated the building making it unkempt. The management of the building by CARTREC has not brought any improvement.
We hereby demand for the immediate renovation and takeover of the Students’ Union Building by students who are the original tenants.
The outdated academic syllabus needs urgent review and we call on ASUU, NUC and the University Senate for immediate upgrade of the syllabus. The syllabus is outdated, un-holistic, and anachronistic and cannot help our student compete the 21st century job market.
Lecturers’ ineptitude and intransigent have to be seriously checked. We commend the University for the Lecturer Assessment Questionnaire on the e-portal but we demand that the result of such assessment should be public to expose the incompetence of some lecturers. We request for the pasting of result break down as e-portal enhance the clandestine atrocity of mass failure by some lectures.
Students should be free to assess marking guide to enhance grade transparency. Indiscriminate grading of scores will never be tolerated any more. Our administration will ensure we expose such indolence and stringent measures will be taken.
This exploitation tendency of the university management has to be seriously addressed. That of school fee increment has been earlier addressed. There are three types of exploitation; Exploitation from above in term of increment in school fee by the university management, exploitation from within in terms of exorbitance annual due across faculties and departments and exploitation from below which comes from transport and buttery operators. The administration will checkmate all these forms of exploitation scrupulously.
We appreciate your solidarity in our past struggles. We also want to acknowledge the role you are currently playing as regard the reinstatement of our comrades. We will continue to extend our hand of co-operation. We have common challenge and common enemies, if we come together in the spirit of oneness we can conquer the state.
ON THE DELAYED OF WORKERS PAYMENT
For the past 7 months, workers in some states, State of Osun for instance, have been exploited in terms of labour without payment of their salary. We give a 7days ultimatum for the immediate payment of all unpaid workers. We have issued out press statement to this effect and we will always be together in struggle.
ON BUHARI’S EMERGENCE
We must congratulate General Mohammed Buhari and his epoch-making electoral victory, we must say we are impressed with some of his intended plans such as collapsing the number of ministries from 31 to 19 to cut down government expenses. However, we are not carried away with the euphoria of change. We demand for:
- The immediate review of the Nigeria education constitution……
- The funding of the education sector up to 26% UNESCO recommendation.
- The immediate review of allowance and payment of public office holder in the three tiers of government.
- The probing of all government official from 1999 to 2014 including presidents, ministers, governors, senators and even Vice Chancellors.
- The tackling of the Boko Haram issue and guarantee of a safe Nigeria state.
- We condemn Xenophobia and killing in South Africa and demand for immediate evacuation of all Nigeria by the Nigeria government. However we dissociate from the NANS press release declaring South Africa students persona non grata.
1. IMPROVED GENERAL STUDENTS’ WELFARE
2. HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES
3. RESUSCITATE POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND INTERVENTION
4. CAPITAL PROJECT
I want to enjoin Great Ife student to give us a benefit of doubt. We are here to epitomize astute leadership and make indelible impact. Thus, we will not fail to address welfare issue, ensuring not to compromise our struggles. We believe we have inherited a new responsibility as a 21st century students union in a developing country where unemployment is a challenge. We want to add value of human capital, we want to give our students a competitive edge,
I will thank God Almighty for the opportunity to serve and will be indebted to Great Ife students for bestowing on me their mandate. I specially appreciate all members of TEAM TY, friends of TY both in Nigeria and the diaspora who practically supported my campaign without making me spend much. You did this because you believe in me. I promise not to betray that trust. I want to appreciate members of Sanctuary of Hope Church for their awesome support. My class mates, department colleagues and everybody that played an impressive role that saw my emergence.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who make History and those who watch History being made.
Today, Great Ife made history and we will ensure to continue in the history making. Thank you for your audience.
God bless. you all.
Omotayo Oluwadamilare Akande (TY)
PART V Chemical Engineering Department
OAU Students' Union President
Photo Credit: Lukmon Fasasi