To an extent, I would say that everyone within the four walls of the University of Ibadan is a democrat. This is due to the fact that everyone would love to be given an opportunity to speak or air his or her view(s). On one of the famous holidays in nigeria, which is tagged democracy day- may 29th to be precise, the principle of freedom- freedom to speak or to express one’s view, which is seen as one of the vital doctrines of democracy was trampled upon, courtesy of the peaceful protest that led to what most uites call forceful break.
The welfare status of Uites, given the prevalent economic condition of the country has on one hand been compromised, coupled with the inadequacies of the management in keeping up with the demands of the students of the University of Ibadan. This had led to strikes, and also, the currently so called forced break.
Throughout my stay in the University of Ibadan, as a fresher and currently a 300level student of the department of economics, the 2017 Presidential election to me, is the most fascinating Students’ Union election I have witnessed. This is due to the huge margin of votes between Ojo Aderemi and his opponents.
The Students’ union President’s speech on the day of his inauguration meant that there will surely be a clash of interest- the interest of the management and that of the ‘representative’ of the students of the University of Ibadan, Ojo Aderemi. One of the notable speeches on the day of his inauguration was on the issue of hotplates in female hostels.
In the words of Ojo Aderemi “Chapter 6 of the student information handbook under the heading ‘Electrical appliances’ paragraph (1) acknowledges the use of electrical appliances (hotplates) in the kitchenettes. As from today, ladies go to your halls of residence and use electrical appliances (hotplates) in the kitchenettes”. This immediately led to the ban of hotplates in both female and male hostels. Some students of the University of Ibadan are of the opinion that the statement he made during his inauguration triggered the decision taken by the management on the issue of hotplates.
The SU president, Ojo Aderemi called for a press conference in May in SRC chambers at the student’s union building. He briefed the press on the issue of hotplates and student ID card; generally, he spoke on the issue of student’s welfare. On the issue of the ban of hotplates, he pointed out that “no bulletin, correspondence or official publication of any sort whatsoever, duly signed by any Member of University Management has been received or at least glimpsed.
To this end, any publication purporting to originate from the ‘University Management’ without a duly stamp of authority should be disregarded. On the issues of ID card, he pointed out that he met a resolution on ground, and he was going to stick to it. The resolution of the congress on the 22nd April, 2017 was that student’s of the university of Ibadan must receive their valid student ID card before the commencement of the first semester Examinations.
The resolution of the congress on the 27th may 2017 was, NO ID CARDS, NO EXAMINATION.
On Monday 29, 2017, students of the University of Ibadan with the presence of the Students’ union President, Ojo Aderemi went out to protest. In reaction to this step taken by the students, the Vice Chancellor announced that the school will be closed down and will be resuming on the 17th of July 2017. On the 30th of May 2017, the senate meeting held at the senate building banned the Students’ union activities.
The future of ‘uites’ pertaining to the resumption of school activities looks bleak; especially with what I call the ‘media war’ ongoing between the school management and the student union. The next question here is, whose interest prevails? The interest of the school management or the interest of the students union, only time will tell.