THE INAUGURAL SPEECH OF THE PATRIOTIC INTELLIGENTSIA.
It is a historical privilege to stand here and address the gathering of dignitaries, members of the global academia, Greatest Uites and individuals from different civilizations on this occasion of my inauguration as President of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union. I do also acknowledge the presence of my ever-supportive Executive Council.
On the 29th of April 2017, students trooped out in their thousands to the polling units in their halls of residence to democratically elect a new set of leaders they believe can restore Students’ Unionism as required in a third-world country like Nigeria back to the University of Ibadan. The outcome of the election was astonishing, University of Ibadan Students gave us a protest vote.
Basically, the reason for the massive vote for us was the general belief that we will not betray struggles and will always be the voice of students even when it is hard to do so. OUR UNION TODAY The Students’ Union of the University of Ibadan is as old as the University itself.
From 1948 up till this moment, the Students’ Union has performed several historical tasks. One is the resistance and eventual defeat of the Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact that was in 1962. It saved Nigeria from a possible nuclear bombing because of the global situation of the time.
However, due to years of proscription and the ever-rising quest to suppress the power of our Union by both the University management and the federal government, a repetition of what students did in 1962 might not be possible. Fear was injected into the system; activists were suspended and the vibrancy in students was crushed by victimization when University administrators increasingly became intellectual defenders of the principalities and powers that govern the high places of Nigeria.
However, we will be watchful, we will protect the independence of our union and affiliated associations and we will ensure that Students will manage student funds with monitored transparency. OUR PLANS Firstly, we need to acknowledge why there was a Union in the first place. According to Section 1(d) of the Students’ Union Constitution, the Union is meant to foster the interests of its members.
With the power of the Union, we pledge to defend the right and interests of our members to any length by every legitimate means necessary.Ojo, aderemi
We are aware of the degenerated welfare condition on campus. Our living condition in the halls of residence is bad as well as our learning condition in our various lecture rooms. Our halls of residence are suffering from a poor plumbing system, poor sanitation system, poor water supply and also outdated facilities. Likewise, our lecture rooms are suffering from poor ventilation systems and also a poor Public Address System.
All these listed problems have subjected our members to pain and suffering. With the power of the Union, we will push for the review of the welfare condition on campus through the Student Welfare Board. Mind you, we will push for it.
We are also going to check the exploitation of our female colleagues in their various halls of residence. A single person will offend, and the whole block will be fined. THIS MUST STOP. Also, our ladies are being denied their right to use electrical appliances (hotplates) in their halls of residence. Chapter 6 of the Student Information Handbook under the heading ‘’Electrical Appliances’’ Paragraph (i) acknowledged the use of electrical appliances in the kitchenettes. A
s of today, ladies, go to your halls of residence and use electrical appliances (hotplates) in the kitchenettes. If anyone stops you, report to the Union, we promise to be responsive to salient issues.
In cases of victimization of our members, as a Union, we will never tolerate attacks from anyone on our members. However, we are aware of several cases of victimization which transpired during the last Students Disciplinary Committee sitting where students were not represented as the Students’ Union President was walked out. I will like to state our stand as a Union in the following cases; The expulsion of Obilade Damilola and Egbinola Olayemi who were implicated in the recent sexual assault trial. Despite the fact that the police report exonerates these students, they were still expelled. As a Union, we will never take this. The expulsion of Kinsley Chinemerem who expressed his view of the degenerated system in the University. Mind you, the members of NASU and SSANU carried the casket of the Vice-Chancellor during their last industrial action, nothing was done to them.
WHY THE ATTACKS ON OUR OWN MEMBERS?
We will never close our eyes to this injustice. The expulsion of Phillip Olatinwo and the rustication of his colleagues due to a student-student fracas that has already been settled among students. The Dean of Students, Professor A.T.P Ajuwape in 2015 assured students several times that nobody will be punished with regard to this fracas.
WHY THE SUDDEN RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD CASE?
We understand the political view of this resurrection which can be attributed to the political activeness of these students, most especially the active role Okunlola Oluwafemi played during the Late Mayowa Alaran Protest in 2015. As a Union, we will never agree to this injustice.
We are aware of several social vices on campus. The security of students lies, majorly in the hands of students. We will introduce and empower an expanded Student Security Committee which will respond to various security threats to our members both on-campus and off-campus. We will empower our students with security tips and improve their consciousness of the need to be watchful and vigilant.
We will incorporate our special persons into the scheme of things by signing the SPECIAL PERSON BILL into law. ANTI-CORRUPTION WAR OF BUHARI In as much as we applaud the anti-graft war of Mr President, we are intellectuals and we will not fail to point out the lop-sidedness of the war. There are still many corrupt individuals who should be in prison already. Many of them will be cross-examined during our administration and will be declared persona non-grata by the Students Union. We will make sure the Union leads the public by example as regards transparency.
UNDERFUNDING OF EDUCATION AND INCREMENT OF FEES
Under Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory, the Western regional government-funded education with nearly half of the budget. Today our politicians can only steal nearly half of the budget. The budgetary allocation for education in 2013 was 8.4 per cent, the same as in 2015. University managements around the country often turn to attack poor Nigerians and make them pay more with the high level of poverty, unemployment and hunger in the land. This is in lieu of harnessing the power of academia to pressurise the Federal Government to fund education properly. Ibadan increased its acceptance fee this session from 20,000naira to 30,000naira although we didn’t see any commensurate development in the University. Another wave of increment was slammed on our Post Graduate students.
According to Section 7AAA of the Nigerian Universities Act 2003 as amended, students must be represented when decisions have to do with the affairs of students. Before the increment policy was promulgated student leaders were not carried along and if there was any student leader that was carried along, the Union does not know about it because the policy was not ratified by Congress.
We simply will say that the people of Biafra have the right to self-determination. We advise that there should be a referendum to determine how strong secession is on the minds of the people. We feel their pain and we will watch closely should any violation of their democratic rights happen again, our Union will respond.
Our Union also feels disturbed as regards what the future holds for these innocent girls. If we are financially robust enough, we will give scholarships to some of them to study down south. We applaud organizations that have shown concern for them and we are showing this concern too. Dignity must be restored to them. It is time to restore the vibrancy of our Union, it is time to let the oppressors be fearful of our Dear Union. It is time to give power back to the people who own the Union through periodic congresses and sincere struggles. Together, we can restore the lost dignity, fear and glory of our Dear Union.
Join OJO ADEREMI and other members of the PATRIOTIC INTELLIGENTSIA as we lead the progressive minds at the University of Ibadan.