Saturday, 11 March 2017

Full Text Of Inaugural Speech By OAU Student's Union President, Oyekan Ibukun


The Visitor, the Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, all principal officers, distinguished
guests, alumni associations, staff unions, members of staff, and members of the press, all pressure groups, comrades, colleagues, security officers, students and all other protocols duly observed.
I am here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust put on me and careful of our true values
as a union. Allow me begin by being grateful to Almighty God who has made us all gather here today peacefully to witness this great occasion which marks another watershed in the history of our union.
Each time we gather to inaugurate a President, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution
and we reaffirm the promise of our union. What brings us together as a union is not from the faculty we belong nor the department we come from but from the enduring spirit of achieving a common goal as intellectual fighters for emancipation. What makes us unique, what makes us intellectuals, what makes us
Great Ife is not in our numbers when we gather, rather, it is our allegiance to an idea of equality, an idea to intellectually fight for emancipation and an idea to always stand for what is right. Today, we move on towards ensuring that these ideas live on to future generations. Today, we affirm our unity, our strength and our intellectuality as a union.
In reaffirming the greatness of our union, we understand that greatness is never given, it is earned. Our history has never been one of settling-for-less, it has not been a journey for the weak. But it has been a story of the courageous, book of the bright, thoughts of the thinkers and insight of intellectuals. This is the journey we continue today as a union. What cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our union is too big or too small, but whether it works for us and serves us, whether it protects us, whether it assures us of the promises it holds. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, we find a solution – which has made us come together today. And those of us at the realm of affairs of our union will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits and do our duty in the light of the day – because only then can we restore the vital trust in our union.
Today’s inauguration is very special as we are not merely having new leaders but we are transferring authority form the Students’ Union Building and giving it back to the students. Over time, as a union, our strength has been limited in the Students’ Union Building because some selected few whose studentship cannot be ascertained have always seen themselves as cabals who can make decisions for us. But today, 6th of March, 2017 will be remembered as the day the students became the owners of their union again.
The hallmark of our campaign was “Rebranding the Students’ Union” and this shall remain the guiding principle of our administration. This administration’s rebranding agenda will focus on ensuring a stable academic calendar in a conducive environment by being proactive, working towards an improved academic; welfare of students, construction of students’ union hostel, establishment of students’ union health committee to improve health delivery, improving the transportation system on campus by incorporating campus shuttle into the university, being diplomatic about INTECU such that each student is allocated a specified amount of megabyte daily for academic purpose and ensuring the feasibility of work and study for students. The blueprint to achieve all these has been given in the manifesto. To bring about the expected result, we will work with the management and not for the management.

It is so sad and disheartening that in the latest World University Rankings 2017 by Times Higher Education, no Nigerian university is among the first 100. This is evident of the fact that our universities are not well funded by the government and the little fund given to the universities is being mis-managed by university authorities through corruption and misplaced priorities. Our lecture theatres are not sufficient such that lecturers now fight on who to use a lecture theatre and students now run like antelopes due to unnecessary change in venue because of inadequate lecture theatres.
The few lecture theatres we have lack Public Address System, projectors, good seats and adequate ventilation system. Students are now faced with the hardship of always contributing money in this period of economic recession to buy Public Address System and projectors because of the failures and laxities of the system we find ourselves. Students now stand in lecture theatres for lectures because of bad seats in lecture
Laboratories are not well equipped, students now cram practical because they cannot perform it not because they do not have the intellectual ability to perform it but because the laboratories are not equipped with necessary apparatus and reagents, yet we say we are great. Our laboratories have now turned to museum whereby the only things you see there are old and non-functioning equipment of the last generation. Now we are now turning to the sad state of ‘’Alternative to Practical’’. An end must come to this insanity. Mass failure remains unabated, continuous assessment tests have been turned to examinations and wickedly made impromptu, lecturers now harass female students sexually, among other frustrating gestures.
Admission racketeering gradually is becoming the order of the day. Admission is now being determined by
‘’who you know’’. Majority of diploma students hardly get admitted, yet they pay heavily. Light remains epileptic despite over N40 Million reportedly spent on electrical bills monthly. Water is not regular, while the
elementary theory that water is colourless has been rendered useless. Roads are badly lit as such, the security of lives and property is hardly guaranteed in the night.
It is unfortunate that students now live like animals in halls of residence. A room of 8 is now a room of 18 yet the management keeps on increasing the number of students they admit without being mindful of where they will accommodate them. The saying that freshmen and finalists will always get bed spaces is now abolished such that students now sleep in lecture theatres, common rooms, TV rooms, butteries and corridors – posing a threat to the security, health status and academic performance of students.
Obafemi Awolowo University cannot continue this way. This worm that has eaten deep into the fabric of this
system must be removed and these anomalies be fixed to maintain the greatness of our university. We; hereby demand that the university management should embark on capital projects such as construction of more and modern lecture theatres, construction of new hostels to decongest the crowdedness in our hostels,
improving on the supply of electricity on campus, provision of street lights on all roads on campus, expansion of the university dam and digging of boreholes in all halls of residence for adequate and efficient supply of colourless, tasteless and odourless water.
We demand that the university management look deeply into cases of mass failure because it has always
been an act of victimization by some lecturers. We demand that the university management set up a well known disciplinary panel so that lecturers that harass female students can be reported and properly disciplined. We charge the department of works and maintenance to be proactive in their dealings with the supply of light and water for students’ use. As a union, we are ready to work with them.

It is unfortunate that this great university of ours does not have her own transportation system. We have allowed ourselves to be at the mercy of these drivers. These drivers now determine when we move, how we move, where we move to and why we move. As a union, we have dialogued with them, no result. As a union, we have confronted them, no result. And now, we have come to the conclusion that these drivers are running a system of monopoly, and to break monopoly we need competition and effective regulation. The current
Students’ Union administration is ready to give them that competition and effective regulation they need.
The hardship students experience during rush hours on mobility to class during the day and back to their hostels at night can no longer be tolerated. This current Students’ Union administration has the quest to fix the foregoing. We demand that the management release all our Students’ Union buses in their possession to
us because it belongs to the students and not to the management. It is high time we stopped management from controlling and determining our limits under the disguise of ‘’proper management of buses’’. We are not saying that the university management should not provide such competition by starting their own
internal transportation system, but what we are saying is that we cannot leave it alone in their hands, the Students’ Union need to have her own internal transportation system because this current hardship affects us – the students and that is why we demand that all our Students Union buses be handed over to us totally
with no string attached.
We also request that alumni, Federal Government, State Government and notable personalities who have the means should graciously help these projects.

The highest form of independence is financial independence. Over time, the management have always put
the Students’ Union under control and regulation by being in charge of our union dues. Prior to 2008, the Students’ Union used to collect her dues. It was in 2008 that the union wrote to the university management to help in collecting union dues from students so that all students will always pay. But the management has used this avenue against us over time. It is so sad that as a union we beg before our dues are released to us, and when the dues are released, they are released in accordance to the wish of the management such that whenever we are not on the same page with them, they frustrate us by not releasing our dues. This is a slap to us as a union when we have to beg before we get our rights.
For the period the union was suspended, students have continued to pay their union dues since such is part of their school fees. This fund running into millions has not been remitted to the union account; we demand that the fund with its accumulated interests be remitted immediately for we have projects such as internal transportation system, self-help accommodation projects to use the fund for.
For total independence of our union, we demand that all union dues should be remitted immediately into the union account after the collection of school fees from the students. And if this is not followed from now, the union is ready to stop the management from collecting our dues for us because we do not recognize the essence of management collecting our dues for us if they cannot remit it to the union account fully.
Anytime the Students’ Union is not on the same page with the management and we resort to protest and confrontation, the next thing management do is to proscribe our union or suspend our union unjustly. Let it be made clear that the Vice-chancellor is a member of ASUU, the Registrar is a member of NASU and the President of the Students’ Union is a member of the Students’ Union such that ASUU is not superior to NASU, NASU is not superior to ASUU, ASUU is not superior to Students’ Union, Students’ Union is not superior to NASU. None is superior to another. We are all sister unions and we are all answerable to the management.
Why is it that out of these unions, the one the management victimize always is the Students’ Union? Today, as a union we stand against victimization in any form. This union has come to stay and it will be forever as measures will be put in place by this current administration of Students’ Union to prevent the management from victimizing the Students’ Union and the students.
The Students’ Union Building belongs to students. We hereby demand that the university management stop
collecting any form of rent from those using our property for business activities. It is time the students took
total control of the Students’ Union Building.

The University Health Centre has not been serving students effectively in terms of health delivery. The crowdedness and long queues in the Health Centre is not encouraging. Most times, students are being misdiagnosed, sometimes students are not been attended to early and sometimes drugs are not available for students. As a union, we cannot allow this to continue.
We demand that the university management increase the number of staff at the university health centre and the pharmacy section should be well supplied with drugs so that health delivery will be effective. We also demand that staff of the university health centre should treat students with utmost care as we will not tolerate any form of laxity in the system.
As union, we shall establish the Students’ Union Health Committee that will be saddled with the responsibility
of monitoring the activities of the university health centre and getting complaints from students as regards the university health centre.

The Great Ife Students’ Union has been known to always take a full stand against cultism, rape, physical assault and threat. This current administration of the Students’ Union will continue on that full stand against
these social vices.

We sound a great warning to all students who belong to any cult group to renounce their membership now and to those who plan to involve themselves in the act of rape, we say to you today to have a change of mind as this administration is battle-ready to wage full war against you.
To those who have taken physical assault and bullying as their hobby, we say to you today to stop it. And if you do not listen now and you continue in the act, this current students’ union administration will fight you, discipline you and return you back to your Great Ife Senses.

To students that drink and smoke in the academics area and halls of residence, we sound a great warning to you against such act. Anyone that wants to smoke and drink should go to the designated places for such.

To those that over-speed on all our campus roads, enough is enough. We are tired of your insanity. We are tired of your madness. No one is allowed to go beyond the speed limit on our campus roads, anyone caught
in the act of over-speeding will seriously pay for it. Because it is time the union took a full stand against over-speeding. We demand that the university management make speed breakers (bumps) available on all campus roads to reduce the rate of over-speeding on our roads.

I implore all students to be security conscious and always be at alert because our security lies in our hands.
Let us not play with it. Always report any strange face you see around on campus or any strange gathering in
strange places to the Students’ Union Security Committee and University Security.
To the management, we demand that the security network on our campus be improved and made less
porous. We charge members of the university security committee to be more proactive than ever and also
work effectively with members of the Students’ Union Security Committee. We also demand that members of
the university security committee should not harass students nor assault them as being reported in the past.
That era is gone.

We strongly submit that legitimate students who are elected by students be involved in all decision and
policy making committees in the university. Decisions on campus, especially those relating to students should be made after consulting with elected student representatives. We demand our right of membership in university committees�

Many students have continued to complain about how staff in various offices in the university treat them
with disrespect. We plead that all staff in all these offices have a good and friendly mind towards students or
else we will demand their removal. We respect you, we therefore demand respect in return.

All corporate bodies on campus (banks and telecommunication companies) should be ready to return to this
community what they have been getting from this community since they have been around here. We are not
going to listen to complaints of the current economic recession as an excuse for them to run away from their
corporate social responsibility because they did not just start here during this period, they have been around
here for more than 15 years and have done nothing for the student community. Now is the time they will
return back to this community.

We demand that the Federal Government adequately fund education and direct the university management
to generate funds in an innovative manner without adding to the economic hardship of the poor parents
through request for tuition fee, or what our management calls charges. We demand that the Federal
Government openly come out and stand against any form of fee increment which is common to university
authorities in the country.
We demand that the Federal Government diversify the economy and make the nation depend less on crude
oil. The current economic state of the country is unbearable and lamentable. Our parents are being owed
salaries and this is affecting our academic performance on campus.
The rate of unemployment in the country is alarming. We demand that the Federal Government declare
unemployment a case of emergency that needs urgent solution so that youths will be gainfully employed.

We congratulate the Gambians on their new elections. We commend ECOWAS for ensuring that a new
Gambian President, Adama Barrow was brought into power peacefully even when the former president,
Yahya Jammeh decided to go against the election result.
We also congratulate Americans on their peaceful transition of power early this year. We implore the new
President, Donald Trump to work more on fostering unity in USA and with other countries, and review some
of his campaign statements which appeared divisional.
The war in Syria has gone on for over five years and has claimed the lives of more than a quarter of a million
people. The trouble began in 2011 in Deraa when after a peaceful protest by people, the government
responded angrily, and the army opened fire on protesters. The current war in Syria is being fought between
Soldiers who support the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, and a group of fighters known as rebels, who donot want him to be in power anymore. We call on powerful nations like US, Russia, Britain and France to work �out peace in Syria and we also demand that Federal Government of Nigeria should work with other World
Governments to ensuring peace in Syria.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon
which our success as a union depends – equality, honesty, courage, hard work, loyalty, patriotism and
intellectuality – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress
throughout our history as a union. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us
now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every Great Ife Students, that we have duties
to ourselves, our union and our university – duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly,
firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving
our all to a difficult task. This is the price and promise of our studentship and membership. This is the source
of our confidence. The source of our strength. The source of our greatness. This is the meaning of our liberty.
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled as a union. Let it be
said by future generations that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn
back nor did we falter; and with our eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that
great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Greatest Ife! Articulate Ife!! You have given me this mandate to serve you for the next academic session. As
ever, I promise to always protect your interest and I will never disappoint you nor let you down. Greatest Ife!
Articulate Ife!! Let me use this medium to inform you that all existing standing committees stand dissolved, a
substantial security committee has been formed and will assume work with immediate effect. All union
documents should be handed over to the Secretary General of the union, Mr. Boluwajaiye Adeoluwa.

In conclusion, I appreciate all university officials, all CEC members, leadership and members of the SRC,
members of the HEC, leadership of all faculties, departments, religious groups and other associations, the
entire Great Ife Students, my lecturers within and outside the College of Health Sciences, my parents, friends,
critics and everyone present here to witness this great occasion.
Thank you for your rapt attention thus far. I wish you all journey mercies back to your various destinations.
Thank you all and God bless.


The President,
Students’ Union, OAU.
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