I AM inclined to speak up on the issue of the moment – the urgent closure of the University of Ibadan and the unwarranted suspension of the students’ union leaders therein.
As a fact, Nigeria has the unwholesome history of having the tyrants and dictators as university managers. These administrators are used to the brutal and diabolical repression of the students and workers legitimate aspirations to better living. Right from the protests and demonstrations against the Anglo -Nigeria defence pact of 1963 through the serial fuel price hikes of the 1990s and 2000s to the unacceptable hike in tuition of the present era, the students and their representatives have always been persecuted in Nigeria by their respective management authorities in their schools.
There has never been any improvement. The dire consequences of such highhandedness on the parts of the school managers and their police collaborators are, truncation of the academic careers of many brilliant and promising students, maiming of many student’s lives as a result of police brutality in forms of severe beating and torture among others. Where does this lead us to?
The University of Ibadan (UI) episode is analogous to a situation whereby mountain is being made out of a mole hill. It is the right of the students to have the Identity (I.D) Cards which they paid
for. Most of the students who paid for same have now graduated from the citadel of learning without having the cards. They don’t need it again. Where is their money?
Yes, the students embarked on peaceful protest to express their indignation against the ineptitude and non -transparency of the university management to the public glare. Closure and postponement of their school and scheduled examinations should not be the panacea.
Hence, it is up to the government, enlarged University’s Governing Council and other relevant agencies to prevail on the Vice- Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka to retrace his steps today. The university must be opened and the suspended students reinstated fortwith.
Akeem Adebiyi writes from Ibadan.
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