Denial Of Students’ Rights And Implications For Nigeria’s Democracy
It doesn’t behoove the front page of a newspaper any longer, that the student unionism in university of Ibadan has been shot dead by the compendious powers that rest at the helm of affairs. However, the fact that it is archaic does not stop the gullet from regurgitating it. And since it is purposely for the sake of preliminary clarity, it is definitely not out of the brain box to give an impetus to the Memory Lane.
It is almost close to five months that a Congress held by the humongous number of students of the University of Ibadan, which was spearheaded by the suspended students’ union president himself, Mr Ojo Aderemi, led to a public protest. The Congress held on the 27th of May 2017 however, had in its agitations, the immediate need for the university management to provide identification cards for students after spending three semesters without one. Also, the Congress kept the school management abreast of the need to address the poor welfare condition of students on campus, and, to include the students in the decision making process of the university, as constitutionally stated in the university handbook.
More so, students also legitimately asked for the lifting of a purported ban placed by the school management on the use of electric cooker (hot plate) in the halls of residence – especially the female halls, which according to the school handbook is only legitimate to be used in their kitchenettes. Then, the indiscriminate expulsion and suspension of fellow students due to trivialities was also called to the room of stoppage by students, among others. To cut the story short, students went out for protest on 29th of May 2017 (democracy day) to show and articulate their grievances to the general public, though, after some enormous threats from different quarters, including the commissioner of police and students death threat (CPSDT) Oyo state. The aftermath, however, was the suspension of the Students’ Union.
A clear derivative picture could be easily through the totality of the scenario that happened not only in UI but also in a similitude of it that happened in Obafemi Awolowo University, where some students were suspended. In fact the not too long expulsion of a law student out of the Nigeria law school is also there, among others.
It is therefore obvious that democracy in Nigeria is absolutely a facade, which is better called a perspicuous autocracy. A democratic setting is known to give room for all voices to be heard and put into consideration irrespective of how silly or wise it is, but in Nigeria the case is different. It is only the voice of the powers blown by the powerful that is heard and put into substantial consideration in this nation. What a pity! If this is happening in the academia which hosts people who often come out to lambaste and condemn nature of Nigerian politicians, then Nigeria is fit to be called NFAC (No Future Ambition Country).
Moreover, another spinal cord in the skeletal system of this suspension is a systemic imprisonment and death of the future intellectuals. Students have now been denied their right to expose to system of government through campus politics. They have now designed students to make them the less useful products of the society, whom the society detects for, but unable to dictate for the society, let alone initiating a change. Students have no option henceforth than to subscribe to the usual societal advice of “Go to school, get a good grade, and get a well paying job.” Little wonder, when the suspended student president wrote in his late welcome address to students that “irrespective of what we do as students leaders, we can only hope and wait for the authority to give back to us that which was swiftly stripped away from us,” a bitter truth, that shows the level of disenfranchisement and injustice piercing and sucking the blood of students’ right to expression and basic things from the constituted authorities.
Furthermore, the non-challengeable oppression and corruption across Nigerian higher institutions are the seeds that yield the products of the Nigeria’s bad political and economic society. In fact, it is also a death to any revolutionary action of changing the poor state of the system and a rigorous poison to the work of the communal activists, who always dream of ideal Nigeria. But, there is no power to challenge the wrongdoing of the authorities, therefore, the masses are now welcome back to more sufferings! The greatest Uites are welcome to greatest cheating! And, nobody dare say NO, except he’s ready to take out his load from the university’s fold. What a true monarchical democracy!
Unlike the real Nigerian politics, where religion and ethnicity are the basic impediments of unity, the atmosphere of the University of Ibadan is quite different from that, because all these are temporarily neglected for the sake of unity. But, in a bit far away from the aforesaid dividing agents in Nigeria, parental and societal influence through the popular known advice of “Go to school, get a good grade, and get a well paid job” has divided the students into incompatible divisions. In spite of the tremendous increase in the rate of students exploitation on campus, stupendous jeopardy and egregious dictation by both lenient and gargantuan power; students find it difficult to come together and refute it in a voice and say NO to the oppression. This is so because, there is an existence of division due to diversity of purpose which has now been fantastically catalyzed by the disastrous suspension of the Union. If you dare talk or react, you get expelled out of the university. How horrendous!
In spite of all the outcries by students, no success was recorded for the whole struggle. Neither ID card is collected till date nor the welfare condition of students improved; it was rather from fry pan to fire. But the truth is that the enslavement of some brainy students while going abroad to felicitate with biological child is nothing but a total injustice. Nigeria is no where to be found today in the world of science, in the world of technology and even in the current most selling world commodity for self defence (nuclear weapons), because of the wastage of intellectuals, who wish to initiate change within the society. But we should all take note that according to Professor OBC Nwolise, the day Nigeria will boil, we shall all be here to boil together, that day no airplane will work, no motor will move, we shall all here to boil together.
Finally, just like Prophet Muhammad has said, it is necessary that anybody who takes the position of power should be ready to welcome all sorts of criticisms, abuses and even insults, because, in all these aforeoutlined, lies a right direction for the intended progression. And, everyone should also be remembered that irrespective of the academic achievements, our final name and tittle is “Late, copse or deceased .”