By Tobi A.
When Ojo Aderemi and his Patriotic Intelligentsia team were about to be inaugurated on May 8, unknown to all was the official drawing of a battle line between the school management and students. This war began when Ojo Aderemi in his inaugural speech read out a provision in the Students’ Information Handbook, which allowed the use of electrical appliances, hitherto forbidden by the Management and went on to declare its usage in female halls.
It was obvious that the management, particularly the Vice Chancellor was angered by the audacity he had to have made such pronouncement in his presence after several warnings by the management against the use of such appliances. He was indeed fearless!
The management failed to understand that as the Students’ Union President, Aderemi has the freedom to address all issues bordering on the welfare of students on campus. He didn’t do anything wrong, he only brought the students to the consciousness of the rights they have been deprived of.
On the issue of the students’ Identity Cards, it is still unbelievable that the first (and maybe not the best anymore) University in Nigeria expected to set the pace was shut because students voiced out their displeasure in being denied what rightfully belonged to them.
Whereas, I must say that the mockery of Ojo Aderemi as “a 200 level boy without beards” is uncalled for. The fact that the Vice Chancellor resorted to the abuse of his personality underlines the impeccable leadership style of Ojo Aderemi and maybe exposes the unprofessionalism on the part of the Vice Chancellor. It shows that the Vice Chancellor has tried looking for a fault in the boy but all to no avail.
Before the election and inauguration of Ojo Aderemi, Uites were already facing a lot of issues. The students faced issues such as a lack of valid identity card, poor living conditions in the halls of residence, ban on the use of hotplates and victimization of students. It was crystal that it would only take a brave leader to confront the school authority. Then came Ojo Aderemi.
It is no longer news that on the night before the May 29 peaceful protest, Ojo Aderemi’s life and the lives of other students were threatened by the Oyo state commissioner of police. It is appalling for such a threat to come from the police that is ironically charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties.
Or what shall we call someone who is supposed to be a ‘friend’ but ends up making provocative statements, as though he is a ‘fiend’?
However, irrespective of the threat from the police, the beardless but fearless Ojo Aderemi stood his ground and went ahead with the resolution of the congress held on May 27. With hands raised to the air, the president led Uites to the road to make their grievances known to the world, not deterred by the heavy presence of the police. During the course of the protest, Ojo declared to Uites that, “even at the cost of my studentship, Ojo Aderemi will never be known for betrayal.” Indeed, he is yet to betray Uites.
After the Vice Chancellor had declared a compulsory 7-week break and had ordered the vacation of students from their halls of residence, Ojo Aderemi summoned a congress for 5pm that same day. At the congress he reiterated his stance by declaring that “the resolution of the congress (of May 27) still stands”.
However, it is hoped that at the end of this 7 weeks, Ojo Aderemi grows some beards in order to get a little respect from the honourable Vice Chancellor. The story has not ended, it continues.