MY LATE WELCOME
Greatest UItes!!! In times of despair and immense disappointments, it is not uncommon to find solace in a handful of loyal friends – after all, a friend in need is truly a friend indeed. Over the last few months, I have realised that all students in this great University are friends. Friends to one another, friends to the authorities, and most importantly, friends to me. Greatest UItes, thank you for your friendship.
I will refrain from evoking unpalatable memories of the sordid happenings that led to the shocking suspension of our Union – the only organ of the University set to actively defend the rights and advance the interest of students in the University. I dare state that rather than endlessly speak about past pains, we ought to pick lessons from the past in anticipation of future gains. Since the 30th of June, 2017 when the proposed July 4 protest was suspended and students were advised to return back to their normal school activities, student leaders including myself never relented for a day in our efforts to bring back the Union.
We have met several senate members who pledged their support to the Union and promised to stand with us on this good cause. Labour Unions on campus have also actively intervened in the struggle for the reinstatement of the Union. Very recently, ASUU commendably sent a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, expressing dissatisfaction with the University’s continued clamp down on Students Union activities. We will also recall that the Joint Action Front of NASU, SSANU and NAAT also publicly expressed, unreservedly, their dissatisfaction with the suspension at their last congress. These and many more potent promises and apt assurances are what informed my strategic silence, and the relative calm experienced all along. We are not unaware of the various challenges students have experienced as a result of the lacuna the prolonged suspension of the union has caused.
I am devastated by the poor security on campus, evident in the recent robbery attack on Obafemi Awolowo hall, the prolonged scarcity of drinkable water on campus, and the irregular hike in transportation fares, which are just a few of the numerous challenges we students have been facing. I wish I could instantly say that the Union will be brought back, and these challenges would be a thing of the past, but unfortunately, I cannot. Not because our struggles have been fruitless, not because the promises we hold are in vain, nor because I have given up on the Union, but because quite honestly, only the University management can truly bring back the Union. And irrespective of what we do as student leaders, we can only hope and wait for the authorities to give back to us that which was swiftly stripped away from us.
We made a decision to remain calm but resolute, peaceful but with the unquenchable determination to get our Union back. While we stay true to those words, I implore every student to not give up on the reinstatement of our Union. Comrades, now more than ever, I am convinced to agree with Martin Luther King Jr that ‘truth, trampled will rise again!’ We March on to the days ahead with renewed energy. Let those who seek to divide us know that the cord of a common purpose unites us, and our fates in this are intertwined. That we rise and rise with unity and we fall and fall with discord. Right now, let everyone know as a matter of right and as an update that all efforts are currently concentrated towards October 18th, when there will be a Senate meeting. Then, we hope and pray that the authorities return the Union back to its original status quo. We ask that you join us in pressurizing personalities towards this date.
Trend it on Twitter, share on Facebook, talk to your Dean, bother your H. O. D, bother mum or dad (provided they are members of the Senate) let our voices once more unite as we request for what is our right. On this note, I say welcome to this new semester. There is a lot to look forward to this season. >Jaw War – the biggest debate competition in Nigeria is back, and I can assure you that it will be bigger and better. It is another opportunity to debate and provide answers to global questions, and I hope to represent my Hall/Faculty as we win the much-coveted trophy; >The Union week is also another arena where we relive traditions, relax and share ideas; >I am personally excited that Kenneth Mellanby Hall and Lord Tedder Hall will be 65 years old this year, it is indeed a great celebration of excellence and rich legacies.
Finally, the sincere efforts of every Executive member, Legislator, Faculty/Hall head, Student Leader and the generality of the students’ mass movement is requested, let every failing heart receive courage, let every doubting mind receive hope, let every fleeing foot receive purpose. Let us march on to days ahead with unshaken resolve, let us march on with awakened consciousness, and let us march on with renewed activism, realizing that this hurdle can and will be crossed. This struggle is not for self-vindication, individual remuneration or personal glorification, it is for students’ emancipation. Join us if you care, watch us if you wish, mock us if you will, stop us if you want, but know that the man dies in him who keeps mute in times of inequity! Viva Aluta