The Obafemi Awolowo University chapter of the Take It Back Movement has demanded the reinstatement of student union activities in the institution.
The group described the action of the Vice-Chancellor, Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede, as unacceptable and against the fundamental human rights of students and intellectual freedom.
In a statement, it also condemned the recent transport fee hike imposed by the bus drivers on students.
It claimed OAU students were being victimized, harassed coupled with a poor state of hostel and accommodation policy.
The statement below:
“These present days have been a great challenge to every Great Ife student in one way or the other. Looking at several incidents happening on campus, one would wonder if this was the same university in which greatness once transcends all the earth. The students of Obafemi Awolowo University have been left to face their fate by the tyrannical management which has failed to provide students’ adequate needs and would still go the extra miles to ensure their voices are totally silenced when students attempt to speak up.
“After a long Coronavirus break, which was almost close to a year, Students were made to resume into virtual learning without the school management providing any means to make the new learning process easier for students, despite the numerous obvious challenges posed against the learning system. Hopelessly, we had no choice than to find a way of entering into the system, knowing full well that we will be the ones to suffer the brunt of the school unpreparedness.
“Classes, assignments and even tests were held virtually without anyone minding if all the students were able to attend these class sessions; we could only imagine how students with inadequate material to attend to these class sessions will cope at the end of the day. It’s not out of place to expect a mass failure from this ongoing session if things are not corrected in time.
“Added to this is the recent transport fee hike imposed by the bus drivers on GREAT IFE students with the help of some unscrupulous elements within the management. The transport fare hike crept in under the disguise of COVID19 preventive measures where bus drivers can only carry two passengers.
“It’s wrong for such to have happened without carrying the student body all along. Well, they argued we do not have a union!. That aside, surprisingly, the bus drivers now carry three passengers per seat and two at the front for the same price as when they carried two per seat!. This height of wickedness and audacity was only possible with the help of some unscrupulous element within the management, who would surely be exposed to the world one day at the right time. At this point, It’s evident that the silence of Great Ife Students is no longer golden.
“Victimization, harassment, hikes, poor state of the hostel, accommodation policy, to mention but few, are the challenges that the students of Obafemi Awolowo University are facing as we write and, of course, the only way out of all this is A VIBRANT and RADICAL STUDENT UNION!
“Recently, the Nans Zone D President, in his release, condemned the suspension of students’ union on campuses and also stated the association stance in ensuring the reinstatement of the unions. While the association in recent times has failed woefully at many of her duties, however, the recent release by the association is commendable and also the way to go.
“The absence of students’ unionism on our tertiary institutions is a big blow on students and also the primary reasons why students are being placed under in-conducive learning environment. Without much ado, the need for a radical, vibrant and pro-student students’ union is overdue on our campus (GREAT IFE).
“We warn that Students must reject, in all totality, the flimsy promises by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ogunbodede, who kept using his sweet tongue to sing praises of the very union that he has banned for years on the claim that some members of the union were involved in misconduct. The probability of these promises coming into reality is slimmer than the probability of Chelsea winning the Uefa Champions League.
“Moreover, students must begin to draw lines for the management on affairs that concerns their union, but this might not be possible if we allow the management to turn our union into what they can dissolve and crystallize as they so wish.
“In clear terms, students must prepare to stand up for their union and demand for it with all means necessary. TAKE IT BACK, OAU is as well using this medium to encourage the leadership of NANS and other radical students’ movement to look into the long term suspension of the Great Ife Students’ Union, so that effort can be pulled together to ensure the immediate reinstatement of a vibrant, conscious and radical student union on our campus.”
SaharaReporters, New York