OLANREWAJU Olasunkanmi, an HND ll student of the department of Purchasing and Supply is the eighteenth and present chairman of an anti-cultism organization dubbed ‘The Polytechnic Ibadan Students’ Forum’. In this interview with Idowu Ayodele, he explained what the students’ forum stands for, its activities and challenges. Excerpts:
What can you tell us about the Students’ Forum?
Thank you. The evolution of the Students’ Forum, the Polytechnic, Ibadan is essentially characterized by unlawful activities in the institution community and it’s environs in the late 1990s such as student/staff unrest, armed robbery, raping, killing of innocent students and extortions among others. Particularly the ugly incident of cultism which claimed several lives.
However, the situation inspired peace loving students of the citadel of learning, the Polytechnic Ibadan in 1997 with the aim of investigating the remote causes of these problems and to find both short term and long term solutions to them.
After rigorous investigations, meetings with all relevant stakeholders including the students, management and community members. Subsequently, some students on their own volition decided to sacrifice with a view to restore and maintain peace both within the campus and Poly community, discourage cultism, orientate and educate,as well as providing urgent and security information to the management and some other units.
Who are those eligible to be a member of the students’ forum?
Any bonafide, unquestionable character, non cultist students of the institution who shows his or her interest by obtaining the organisation form is a potential member.
In what way (s) has the students’ forum impacted the Polytechnic, Ibadan community and by extension, Oyo state?
During years of black out in the late 90s, the student’s forum was the only group that shouldered the struggle of restoring back the power . The forum has also recorded many achievements, they include drafting of electricity proposal submitted to the then Oyo state government under the administration of Alhaji Onaolapo Lam Adesina through the state rural electrification board.
The second one is security: Because of our zero tolerance against crime. We agitated for police post in Apete community which has now transformed to a full divisional police station.
Can you tell us in a specific term how your forum was able to maintain peace on campus?
Because peace is part of our motto, so we have been ensuring that the students and management enjoy peace on campus, we can emphatically say, that the peace being enjoyed on the campus today is as a result of our efforts, and this was also attested to by the former rector of the school in person of Dr.Jacob Ademola Adejumobi in a book written and published by him which he titled “My years in the Polytechnic”, where he explained in details, our efforts and struggles in the area of security of the school and its environs.
We also arrange periodic meeting with the institution management and host communities with the aim of forming a sound healthy relationship in the institution.
We relate with the security unit and other law enforcement agencies in the state on Issues relating to students and how best to maintain peace on campus.
We also stands as intermediary between the host communities and the students and the management,especially issues of rent between landlords and our students. Making peace among students having any issues between themselves in the institution and in the community.
So, how do you handle erring member who disobey the rules?
We have our own rules and regulations. Is either we let such person to face the SDC or take him to the security post.
That is the Student’s Disciplinary Committee saddled with the responsibility of checking erring students and their activities. Or we suspend them from our organisation if the offense is not that serious.
Despite all these efforts, do you receive any compensation from the school management or you have sponsors that are assisting your forum?
That is the major problem the Student’s Forum is having presently, which is finance.
The organisation runs it programme mainly on little contributions from its members, donations from past members and responsible members of the society.
Due to our day to day running of the organisation and our yearly programme, the token is not enough for the running of the forum. However, we appreciate the management and we still need more of their support.
Another problem is the lack of understanding of what forum is all about. Some student members and staffs did not know what we stands for. This is another area of support we will need from the management of the institution.
We need management support on how best we can sensitize our students, maybe through lectures, especially during orientation programmes for fresher’s, we would be glad if the Student affairs unit can make it compulsory for all departments to allow us deliver lectures during their orientation programmes.
And we even need the help of the government of Oyo state, because we also work in extension with the outside community.
So, what kind of assistance are you expecting from the state government and the management?
Finance is the most important thing that we need to carry out our daily operations, because we can’t provide assistance to the students or resolve any issue and ask for money no matter the logistics involved, we also need a Secretariat inside the campus, to keep our documents and perform more effectively on campus. We need the support of Oyo state government in the area of backing and supporting us against cultist threats for our members. Because some of these cultists too are being used by some unscrupulous elements in the society.
Copyright © 2017| MegaIconMagazine. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.megaiconmagazine.com as the source.