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How ‘Oba Awon Universities’ Is Fast Becoming ‘Omoodo Awon Universities’

“Home is where children find safety and security, where we find our identities, where citizenship starts. It usually starts with believing you’re part of a community, and that is essential to having a stable home” – Matthew Desmond

History teaches what many of our departmental and faculty courses will not teach us. So, by virtue of that, it will interest me to relay to my audience how I fell in love with one time ‘Oba Awon Universities’ (King of Universities) which is fast becoming ‘Omoodo Awon Universities’ (Slave of Universities).  

Arguably, 90% of OAU students mastered the school anthem before gaining admission into the institution; and truth be told, I was taught the anthem before I graduated from high school. Interestingly, l was one of the lucky candidates successfully admitted into the school in 2015.

On getting to the school, we met one of the safest campuses in Nigeria where students can walk anytime of the day. Many of us can remember how often we passed through Awo-Faj jungle and ETF-Awo jungle without any fear of attack in the middle of the night. Many of us returned home after the first semester to boast of how great our dear institution ‘was’. The reverse is the case now as many of us who are students can no longer advise our younger ones to choose OAU during UTME registration. The institution is fast degenerating, and this can be blamed on the faults of both the management and students.

Except a problem is identified, we cannot discuss the solution. On getting to campus to hear the sad story of a man who was stabbed to death on Thursday, I concluded that the security of the institution is too porous. No doubts, the university security unit is the best when it comes to harassment of students without ID cards, which the management fails to provide for them. They are poor at challenging ‘non-students’ who drive recklessly on our roads without bumps late in the night with a weak man without mobile phone as the guard of Bukataria. The SU  security committee is another set of people that threaten students they are meant to secure. They are only good at beating people caught with stolen phones, return some to the original owners and keep some for their personal use. How then can we sleep with our two eyes closed? Shame!!!

One Omoboriowo Olufemi was confirmed dead late Thursday. While some people argue that the deceased and the perpetrators have not for once been students of OAU, we must ask ourselves a simple question which is: where did it occur? An average market woman in Lagere will not mistake OAU for OUI or The Polytechnic when giving her account. This is the bitter truth! The world knows that somebody was killed on OAU campus.

Indeed, thanks to both school management and the students, we are fast making an ‘animal farm’ of the university.

Students’ rights have been substituted for suspension rites by the management and union leaders have also failed to be accountable as they find pleasure in playing Naira bet with the union funds, what accounts for the apathy many students have as far as unionism is concerned. 

Should we keep watching Great Ife degenerate? According to Abraham Lincoln: “It is not by nature, when I see a people borne down by the weight of their shackles – the oppression of tyranny – to make their life not bitter by heaping upon them greater burdens; but I would do all in my power to raise the yoke than to add anything that would tend to crush them”  

Also, section 14 (2) (b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, says: “the primary purpose of government of a country is to provide good welfare and security for the people”. Therefore, security and welfare should not be handled with levity. We must first agree that we are not secured before we sit in a round table to strategize on security.

It high time we kicked against abnormalities and now uphold our once existed genuine legacy for better tomorrow.

Kabir Adejumo is a student of Obafemi Awolowo University and journalist.

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