Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Editorial: Operation No Election Break

By Gbadamosi Elias

Finally, all rumours have been dispelled as regards election break for Nigerian academic institutions. Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Nigeria’s Education Minister has made it clear that the forthcoming elections will not ground academic activities in schools across Nigeria. He made the pronouncement after a consultative meeting in his Abuja office with the 36 state Commissioners for education and other education stakeholders.

On ObafemiAwolowo University campus, the news has generated divergent views and opinions among lecturers and students alike. Ibikunle Isaac, the Students’ Union President opines that closing OAU down for elections will further disrupt the school’s academic calendar which has already been badly affected by the ASUU and school fee hike strikes of last year. While students like Adewale Yusuf, a 400 level student of the department of Physics also shares Ibikunle’s sentiment, some others, especially those that have been recruited by INEC as ad hoc staff envisage and engender the fear that the “no election break policy” will have detrimental effects on their schedules as it won’t be easy combining rigorous academic work with their INEC jobs.

Another student of the University who prefers anonymity, while voicing her opinion says the decision is not a very good one as no one knows what will happen after elections owing to Nigeria’s volatility as regards post-election violence. She further states that for someone like her and other OAU students who did not register in Ife, the decision will rob them the opportunity of voting in the forthcoming elections.

As a student of this University, I posit that going home at this period when our mates in other Universities have concluded or are in the process of concluding another session will in the end not be in our best interest. Also,protests and agitations against the decision of the federal government will definitely not mean much for the decision does not affect OAU alone and the probability that the school management will go against the decision to please us is almost impossible. Any attempt to become rebellious on the issue will only result in another protracted closure of the school which is in no way good for us.I therefore beseech us to take this decision in good faith.

The divergent views held by students on this germane issue cannot be overlooked and none of the arguments put forward can be dispelled as they all hold water.Regardless of our view on the issue, we must endeavor to play our part during and after elections. We enjoin those of us that registered in Ile-Ife to turn out massively to print our thumbs where our hearts belong. However, for the bulk of us that unfortunately did not register in Ife, we can also not afford to be silent at this crucial period in the history of our country. We can always fashion out ways of contributing our own quota in ensuring a fruitful and hassle free election.

To wrap it up, as students and leaders of a fast approaching tomorrow, let us vote wisely and peacefully. Let’s try as much as we can to be of good conduct and eschew all immoral and despicable acts before, during and after elections. Subscribing to the “political booty ltd.”, stomach infrastructure and primordial sentiments that do not mean much will only worsen our situation as a country. A new Nigeria is possible and it begins with YOU.

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