Editorial: Truth Be Told, OAU Belongs To Nobody & Belongs To Everybody
The recent trend in Nigeria's foremost institution, Obafemi Awolowo University seems to portray the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) as monopolizing the institution's control in their hands. If this situation is not immediately checked, it could mean OAU taking one step forward and two steps backward. Most importantly, the silence of students who are the suffering grass should not be misconstrued for stupidity or gullibility.
Today, some members of NASU and SSANU reportedly stormed the Senate building to protest and demand for their unpaid allowances, a situation which allegedly deteriorated the security condition at the institution's administrative block. In fact, some reports even have it that the Universe's Registrar and Bursar did not have it all to be a rosy day. The reason for their protest has been the same reason given for the incarceration of students 3 months ago. That period remains an unforgettable moment where students were subjected to emotional and psychological trauma for about 100 days; a condition that was eventually prevailed upon by President Muhammadu's approval of Professor Anthony Elujoba as the varsity's acting Vice Chancellor last month, after a vigorous #ReOpenOAU campaign.
The students, who still await their promised meeting with Elujoba seem to have their wings currently clipped, since their right to associate as a Union was seized towards the unpopular end of the former Vice Chancellor, Bamitale Omole's administration. Or maybe, students prefer to watch from the sideline for the mean time; a well calculated grace period to trust the new administration of the university to restore its glory as promised. If the major victims of these untold academic fluctuations are giving the leadership of the varsity a benefit of doubt to act, should NASU and co now turn OAU to their secretariats where they can choose to close down whenever they deem fit?
Where is ASUU? Its silence at the moment is not unexpected though, considering the alleged role a section of the Union played in the botched selection process of a Vice Chancellor for the institution. Perhaps, the 'superior' Union is still taking time to recover from the shock that came with President Buhari's intervention. Whatever the case may be, it is very important that Odewunmi-led NASU and his counterpart in SSANU know that enough is enough, and at same time understand that the future of innocent OAU students is already bleeding in their hands. Elujoba's time as the head of the institution looks promising and that is why the students are keeping their cool. OAU is neither NASU's property nor SSANU's property because it belongs to nobody and it belongs to everybody.
It is definitely not time for stories that touch yet, nevertheless, it is imperative to note that if the University is shut down once again as a result of the manner in which these staff demand for their entitlements, it won't be surprising to see students mount a formidable resistance in self defence against the deliberate bastardisation of their future with unnecessary breaks. Remember, a law of motion says "for every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction." We are all watching!