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SPECIAL RELEASE: INFORMATION ON THE STUDENT UNION CRISIS
1 year, 11 months ago Posted in: News 0
SPECIAL RELEASE: INFORMATION ON THE STUDENT UNION CRISIS

1. By a letter dated 17th November, 2015, the Student Union Executive requested for a meeting with the University Administration.

2. As it is the procedure, the Acting Dean, Student Affairs, and her team called a meeting and had several interactions with the Student Union leaders, i.e. the Central Executive Council (CEC), the Student Representative Council (SRC) and the Judicial Council and the Chairpersons of all Halls of Residence with the Security Committee in attendance.

3. At these interactions, the Acting Dean, Student Affairs, discussed the welfare problems of students extensively and the efforts and challenges being put in place to ameliorate these.

4. Subsequently, the Acting Dean, Student Affairs, directed the Hall Management Committees to commence action on the very urgent repairs that should be addressed in the Halls of Residence, e.g. repair of toilets, leaking roofs, and general environmental repairs.

5. However, earlier last week, there was an electrical problem at the University Dam, which prevented the pumping of water continuously for 24 hours because the generator at the Dam had to be allowed to rest intermittently. The worst hit Halls, (Angola and Mozambique) were supplied with water by tankers.

6. The electrical fault at the Dam was eventually fixed by Wednesday, 25th November, 2015. Unfortunately, on Thursday, 26th November, 2015, the electricity supply to the Campus was cut off from Oshogbo and was restored on Friday, 27th November, 2015. However, the line to the Halls of Residence had a fault and the Electrical Section swung into action immediately and got it rectified that same day.

7. The supply of electricity to the University generally was cut off only for ONE DAY.

8. That same Friday morning, students were already agitating that there was no electricity supply, and drove other students from the Library and some Lecture rooms, and also decided to hold a Congress by the evening of that day.

9. Despite these interactions with the Ag. Dean, Student Affairs, the University Administration scheduled a meeting with the Student Union Executive for Sunday, 29th November, 2015. Surprisingly, the Student Union Executive refused to attend the meeting called by the University Administration and kept the Principal Officers waiting only to send in a letter to inform the meeting that they would not be attending.

10. The letter from the Student Union Executive stated that their attendance at the meeting with the University Administration would be a betrayal of their cause and frustrate their already planned lecture boycott and protest. Indeed, the Student Union Executive stated further that their attendance at the meeting would put a big question mark on the integrity of the leadership of the Union and as such the planned lecture boycott and protest are not negotiable. They also added that the boycott and protests would go on despite the availability of light and water.

11. By a letter dated 29th November, 2015, the Student Union Executive informed the University Administration that it had resolved to embark on a lecture boycott and protest from Monday, 30th November, 2015. It should be noted that this action contravenes the University regulation which stipulates that the Student Union must give at least 48 hours’ notice before embarking on lecture boycott.

12. Among the Union’s demands are the following:

1. Constant and uninterrupted supply of electricity and water;
2. Renovation and RE-FUMIGATION of all halls of residence, laboratories and lecture theatres;
3. Proper funding of the education sector in Nigeria;
4. Reinstatement of one ‘Olawale OGUNRUKU’.

13. At this point, attention is also drawn to the fact that on 17th November, 2015, members of the Central Executive Council of the Student Union, led by the Public Relations Officer, and subsequently, the President, assaulted Professor Y. K. Yusuf, a former Dean of the Faculty of Arts, because he refused to allow the PRO of the Student Union to interrupt his class; the students disrupted the lecture that he was delivering. The matter is still being investigated.

14. In his account of the incident, Professor Y. K. Yusuf stated as follows:
“While the lecture was in progress, a student who was not taking the course walked in and asked me to stop the lecture so that he could make an announcement. I told him that it was not proper for a student to interrupt a lecture for that purpose and that he would do well to leave the class. He then informed me that he was the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Obafemi Awolowo University Student Union. I told him that, that notwithstanding, the sanctity of a lecture in progress ought not to be undermined and that he still had to leave the class. His response to this was that whether I liked it or not, he was going to make the announcement. I insisted that that would amount to an affront on discipline. In spite of this, he started to address the students in the class with the public address system he had brought with him.”

15. Thereafter, the President of the Student Union sent a message to the Vice-Chancellor and some other Officers of the University as follows ‘Good evening Sir, a lecturer assaulted the PRO of our Union. This to us is a profound insult on our Union that is currently generating serious uprising among student on campus. We have demanded for an open apology letter within the next 24 hours from the lecturer after which I Student Union President cannot guarantee the outcome of students’ grievances as I may not be able to pacify the student body. Thanks”.

16. In regard to the demands of the Student Union, it should be noted as follows:

(i) Constant and Uninterrupted Supply of Electricity and Water

The University Administration wishes to place on record that the University Campus is an estate that has enjoyed the best supply of these municipal facilities compared to anywhere else in the country as it has a dedicated line from the National Distribution Centre. Nevertheless, the reliability of these services is beyond the control of the University and should be considered in the context of the national situation. It should be noted that the continuous flow of water is related to availability of electricity.

(ii) Renovation and Re-fumigation of all Halls of Residence, Laboratories and Lecture Theaters

It should be noted that the Halls of Residence were fumigated in October 2015. Since the students have requested for re-fumigation of the Halls, Laboratories and Lecture Theatres, it means that they will have to vacate their Halls of Residence and academic activities will have to be suspended, to enable the University to meet this demand.

(iii) Proper funding of the education sector

The funding of the education sector is beyond the purview of Obafemi Awolowo University.

(iv) Reinstament of “Olawale Ogunruku”

This name does not exist in the student database of Obafemi Awolowo University.

17. On Monday, 30th November, 2015, the Student Union held a Congress in front of the University Campus gate and came up with the following resolutions:

(i) The Union should embark on a massive media campaign to press home its demands.
(ii) The Union should give the University Administration an ultimatum expiring on Friday, 4th December, 2015 after which, if its demands are not met, the Union would continue with the disruption of normal activities on the Campus.

18. It should be noted that it is apparent from the resolutions of the Congress that the aim of the Student Union is to disrupt the meetings of the Governing Council and the Convocation Ceremonies starting from Monday, 7th and 9th December, 2015 respectively.