On the 2nd of July, a group of students were spotted on the University of Ibadan (UI) grounds, sharing a leaflet bearing demands issued by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). This follows NANS’ previous threat to storm the University of Ibadan to save the students from a presumed tyrannical leadership.
In the leaflet, the association addressed the university’s recent ban on commercial motorcycles, the suspended students’ union and the rusticated student leaders, especially Ojo Aderemi— the suspended president of the now-defunct UI Students’ Union Government.
In a press statement printed behind the leaflet, the student body accused the UI Vice-Chancellor of reneging on his promise of reinstating the Students’ Union, noting that ‘rather than fulfilling the promises, the Vice-Chancellor rusticated the Students’ Union President, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Clerk and Chief Whip for no justifiable reasons.’ The statement also accused the UI Management of enforcing ‘harsh anti-student policies like the ban on the commercial use of bikes, making life hard for students.’
In response to this, the association demanded for the ‘immediate reversal of the ban on commercial use of bikes and other anti-student policies; immediate reinstatement of the Students’ Union; immediate restatement of Ojo Aderemi and other rusticated student leaders.’
Students of the university have since reacted to the association’s demands, picking sides over whether or not they believe NANS is right in its mission to #saveUI.
“It is actually good because they are making us know that the spirit of students unionism can never die nor be banned. But it is not the way to freedom.” said a student who simply identified himself as Orllybam.
“We might be on the verge of another display of lawlessness and unintelligent aluta. It will not pay us and I trust UI-tes will not support their agenda,” a 500 level student of Medicine and Surgery, who preferred to be unnamed in the interview, stated.
“Of course, their presence is sinequanon to our development. It’s a clarion call to the civil society, generally, and not only about NANS alone, for according to Martin Luther King Jr, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Nola Maruf Gbadebo, a 400 level student of Political Science, said.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea. Freedom can’t be assured, judging by the autocratic nature of the institution,” said another student who sought anonymity.
‘It is a fact that we’re in the State of Emergency in UI, but I doubt if NANS can save us from these problems for I see them as a bunch of stooges. Are they not those who give out awards to our unworthy politicians? I doubt, too, if protests will solve the issue for it has never been the solution,” opined Mojoyinola Abd’Afeez, a 400 level student of English.
In the same vein, Iyanoluwa, a 200 level student of LARIS (Library and Archival Information Studies) said: “Freedom is not assured. The University system doesn’t give room for insubordination, as they are trying to curb every form of wahala that will affect the already backward academic calendar. I feel the faculty presidents and hall chairs are pushing for the pertinent issues already. We should note that VC said his contract is with UI and not NANS.”
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