Friday, 13 November 2015

OAU SU President Challenges The Vice Chancellor Over Poor Welfare Condition Of Students

The Students' Union President of Obafemi Awolowo University, Omotayo Akande a.k.a TY in an open letter written to the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Bamitale Omole has raised some challenging questions as regards the poor welfare state of the students which therefore questions the possibility of running an hitch-free calendar.

Below is a copy of the open letter:




‘There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest it…’ Elie Wiesel

Mr Vice Chancellor Sir,

OAU by default has joined the league of Nigeria universities dissuading Nigeria students from learning due to its discouraging academic ambient. The poor welfare condition, horrendous toilets and bathroom, anachronistic teaching practice, overcrowded lecture theatres, managerial shortfalls, culminate to the inept productivity of Nigeria educational sector which OAU is inclusive. Sir, as your vice-chancellorship tenure comes toward an end, when would you take a practical approach to address and ameliorate students’ poor welfare condition as our hostels are already collapsing on our heads?

An ivory tower is conventionally saddled with the greatest responsibility of enhancing human intellectual output; instil critical thinking, question and shape perspectives with the sole aim of developing new ideologies and innovation for a better society.

In actualizing these, the status quos must be questioned either as a result of failed solutions and prevailing problems or an inspiration from a creative mind. Unfortunately, the Nigeria education sector has offered no such result and obviously, the Nigeria society is bereft of viable, innovative, young economy drivers, not because the human capital and potentials are lacking but our university design at its best capacity will by default limit and distort the embedded potentials of incoming students. This accentuate why even most middle-class and proletarians have stopped enrolling their children in public universities at the detriment of their standard of living. The next question to be put is that, is OAU an exception to this travesty of academic impact in the face poor funding and managerial ineptitude?

On the 24th and 25th of March, 2015 students massively gave the TY-led administration their mandate. This sacred mandate is a symbol of trust and a bestowment of responsibilities which for me is a rare privilege to serve the most conscious students’ body in human race. Generation, therefore, will not absolve me if I don’t fulfil my electoral promises. Many expectations have been met, however, much more are still being expected as a result of the lackadaisical disposition of the management to meet the demands of the students. I have, since my emergence, related with the university management with full diplomacy and tact, I have however concluded that my diplomatic gesture and that of my fellow executives have been misconstrued for docility. For me as a leader of the 30,000 and one great Ife students, mediocrity is not an option. In the face of this abysmal welfare condition, perpetual nonchalance and insensitivity of the management to attend to the basic needs and demands of students, and my resolution to further advance the cause of my constituency in a more radical manner, Sir, do you think we can continue to have a stable academic calendar?

The management intransigence to reinstate Olawale Ogunruku having exhausted all diplomatic channels is becoming overbearing and unbearable. A university should not extinguish the hope of a young vibrant Nigeria youth all because he joined to castigate anti-student policy which till date remains inimical, or his perceived radicalism. Radical youth like Olawale Ogunruku are needed to revolutionize the decaying Nigeria society. A tenet of our Union is that an injury to one is an injury to all. I can assure you, sir, that my left brothers will not cease to agitate for Ogunruku’s reinstatement while my liberal friends will likewise continue to demand for the same. For me, reinstatement is a moral course which every students’ Union leader is historically, constitutionally and traditionally obligated to achieve. I will not rescind the interest of my constituency rather, I will reinvigorate and organise them to advance a just cause.

The assessment of your tenure as the Vice chancellor is best objective from a student perspective, since they are the major stake holders and receptionist of your administrative undemocratic policies. Sir, your Vice Chancellorship has not been on the good side of the students’ history book. Although, all students suspended in your dispensation have been reinstated and the ban on our Union was lifted in your tenure, Kudos! But students have not been given a participative role in decision making process. We have severally demanded for a democratic decision making process and students’ representation in the principal organs of the university hierarchy, rather than the unilateral decision method which lacks feedbacks and students’ consultation. The Students’ Union should not be reduced to the office of Division of Students Affairs, it is an insult on our collective intellectualism and a disrepute of our stakeholder-ship.

The on-going construction of the ship-like senate building is preposterous and a gross mis-priority and further accentuate a faulty decision-making university setup, most especially in the face of ill-fitted laboratories, moribund academic facilities and library-turned museum structure. The unsupportive role by the management for law students who are o represent the university in debate contest in Isreal, and OAU athlete who are to go to Canada where other universities sent in delegate calls for major concern.

The incumbency of my office, my electoral promises and my conviction for a vibrant pro-student Union will not make me jettison students’ demand. The following tw'o other reasons are corroborative:

1. Faith: Although I am not a moralist, but I am not morally bankrupt, our promises must kept. This is in alignment with my Christian values which I, although not so easy, try to abide by. Psalm 89:34 ' I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my mouth(ESV)'

2. Posterity: Our promises to great Ife students MUST be fulfilled to letter because providence is coming to place us at a point in Nigeria where our antecedents as Union leaders will definitely be sought.

I therefore, re-accost you sir, do you think we can continue to have a stable academic calendar? The answer(s) lies in your practical compliance to students demands.


Omotayo Akande (TY)
President Students’ Union
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