Monday, 4 August 2014

Bus Gift Reception Is Condemnable -Vice President, OAU Students' Union


“Tell no lies, claim no easy victory; just say it the way it is… (Amilcar Cabral)”
“We must speak the truth even if our voice shakes… (Olori)”

The receipt of the recent gift of bus from Senator Iyiola Omisore, by the leadership of the union, has generated a number of deserved criticisms on the social media – especially Great Ife facebook page platforms. Several have accused the leadership of the union of shameful conducts and condemned the gift as a Greek gift. I wish to state clearly and officially that the reception of the bus was not discussed in any leadership meeting of the Union known to me, especially the CEC meeting. Hence, no responsibility can be apportioned to me as part of the elected leaders of Great Ife Students’ Union who received the controversial gift.

On principle and personal opinion, the collection of this bus is condemnable and brings to mud the values of Great Ife students’ union. In fact, sober lessons from our struggle against current fee regime instruct that such a bus should have been rejected on ground of commonsense-judgment, at least not during this electioneering period. Besides, a receipt of such gift requires SRC ratification and patronizing inscription should not be seen on the body of such gift.

Before now, I have held the view that it will do lesser good to express some of my dissatisfactions and agony on the social media because of my direct constitutional responsibility to the Congress of students. But it is clear that with the continual closure of school, things will only be drifting from worse to worst if students are left in the dark.

I stand with Great Ife students on the reproach of the gift and its receipt. Leadership is only meant to succeed on discipline and focus. The “Union Bus saga” to me speaks more of the state of our current struggle than the bus itself. The same method which has grounded our struggle for a while now precipitated the receipt of the bus too. New methods that have been announced by the union leadership are only pronounced at meetings, without room for debate because they are inviolable. In fact I get stunned coming across most of these decisions and methods on the social media. This particular practice has hindered critical debates and intellection over strange positions of the union “leadership”. At times, my confrontation with other executive council members of the union over new methods were greeted with the most ridiculous accusation that “I wanted to be President or that I am used by the Ideologues”. My new nickname in CEC meeting is Judas or Students’ informant (But I wonder who to inform, if not Great Ife students themselves).

At this point, I believe students should mount calls – more resonant than the bus cries – that the leadership of the union should re-open the struggle against fee-hike and for reopening of the university, instead of selling us cheaply to everybody who has cash at hand. The closure of the school as I believe is a tactic to frustrate our spirit at home and create confusion over the correctness of our battle. Great Ife, we are correct that poor parents should not bear the brunt of a failed government. We are also correct that we will not service the pouch of our second “parents” whose offices are in the Senate building. We are correct that the tradition of Great Ife Students’ Union for the defense of the future and upholding of societal ideals must be reiterated again this time.

But to achieve this, we must look beyond the ‘maradonic’ updates that confuse the state of the struggle. As a union officer, I have been asking these questions from my colleagues in the CEC: “Why are our plans for externalized actions struck out? Why do we have to shelve an Ibadan planned action for a grandiose protest in Abuja (which has remained as a mere imagination)? Why must ‘leadership’ distant itself from the NANS ultimatum to OAU management, when we all attended the Zone-D congress in Ibadan and were quite aware of the debates and resolutions of the Congress among other questions?” The frequent answer I get is: “we will rather beg, crawl, lobby, to achieve negotiation, reduction or re-opening of the school.” While I am not against negotiation and reopening, I believe management is not stupid to severe their self-satisfying interest only because of our wails. Only our tenacious action – the type which threw the university echelon into confusion during our protest in June – can force these elements to meet our demands, or even respect us on the negotiation table.

In conclusion, I do not believe this is the end of the road for the values of our union. We are only being tested and we will come out victorious as usual. However, my current disagreement with some of my colleagues in the leadership is not a ploy of division; rather it is a clear stance of principle which will be judged by posterity and future history.

“My time will pass, your time will pass, but the history we make as a generation will remain long after we are gone… (Great Ife paradigm)”

Oladejo Olori Funmi
Vice-President, Great Ife Students’ Union
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