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UI sets for 70th anniversary without Students’ Union

The University of Ibadan is set to celebrate her 70th anniversary without the existence of a united body of students, the Students’ Union.

The celebration of the 70th year of academic excellence is set to commence from the month of November 2018 to November 2019 without the Students’ Union, SU, which has been suspended since May 31, 2017, after the leadership of the Union spearheaded a peaceful protest by students along Mokola-Ojoo road.

The peaceful protest which took place on May 29, 2017, was the sequel to the students’ union congress which was summoned on 27th May 2017, where it was resolved among other resolutions that the students’ identity cards, which students were earlier denied of, must be received before the commencement of first semester examinations.

While the Students’ Union has been nonexistent since it was suspended, CAMPUS REPORTER correspondent gathered that the university management has no plan to restore the union before the commencement of the 70th-anniversary celebrations which will include convocation ceremony.

According to a telephone conversation with the Director, Directorate of Public Communications, University of Ibadan, Tunji Oladejo, the university shall begin the celebration proper in the month of November, with the commencement of UI Research Development and Fair.

“It is going to be a one-year celebration starting from November (2018) to November, 2019.,” said Mr Oladejo. “Although we have programmes which are already running, the real thing will come in November.”

“We normally have UI Research Development and Fair around November 8, also there is a tendency to have a lecture (this week) as part of the anniversary lecture. We want to showcase most of our research activities, innovation, the entrepreneurial skill of both our staff and students. And we normally bring in all the stakeholders to see what we are doing”, the director said.

While reacting to questions on the status and prospect of the students’ union, Mr Oladejo said nothing has been done to students’ representatives, in the Executive Council and the 7th Assembly of the Students’ Representatives Council (SRC), under the suspended SU.

“They have not done anything on them,” he said. “It is a process. They would be invited, they would listen to all of them and that’s all. It has not got to the central disciplinary committee. It is a process, they just have to listen to all of them and that is all.”

However, CAMPUS REPORTER correspondent reliably gathered that members of the 7th Assembly of the SRC and members of the executive council (patriotic intelligentsia) have been invited to the Students Affairs disciplinary panel to defend their actions of protesting.

Our correspondent saw the text message sent to the students’ representatives of the suspended union from the Students’ Affairs division

“You are hereby invited to appear before the Student Disciplinary Committee for jointly committed offences scheduled for Wednesday, 19 September 2018 at 10:00 a.m in the Student affairs conference room. Please, be punctual and well dressed,” the text reads.

It was gathered that members of the panel included the Dean of Law, Prof Olatunbosun; Prof Sangodoyin from Faculty of Technology; The Deputy Registrar of Students, Professor Etadon, the university’s Chief Security Officer, among other officials.

The correspondent also found that while other executive council members and SRC members were addressed by the panel in groups on Wednesday, the president of the suspended union, Ojo Aderemi, had been invited individually by the panel, a day before (Tuesday).

The major questions during the panel were centred around the students’ view on the demonstration, their actions/inactions in furtherance of their views and their recommended punishment. The panel promised to get back to the students 3 weeks after the date of the sitting.

Following the recent developments and the unfolding of events in the university, it is clear that the university has no plan to reinstate the Students’ Union anytime soon. Particularly as Mr Oladejo had told CAMPUS REPORTER that “at the appropriate time, the university will decide”.

It should be noted that the University of Ibadan Students’ Union had earlier been proscribed for several years until 2010 when the then Vice-Chancellor of the University (now Minister of Health under the current administration), Isaac Adewole reinstated the Union.

The Union had existed since then, until May 31, 2017, when the University Senate, under the leadership of Mr Adewole’s successor and current Vice-Chancellor of the University, Abel Olayinka, suspended the Union after the new leadership had spent just 23 days in office. Since then, the Union building has been placed under lock and other properties have been seized by the university management.

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