The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has chided the management of the University of Ibadan (UI) for rusticating Ojo Aderemi, a 300-level undergraduate of the department of History and the last known President of the Students Union Government of the university.
A statement issued by Adegboyega Otunuga, CACOL’s Coordinator for Media and Publications, on behalf of Debo Adeniran, the Centre’s Executive Chairman, berated the tertiary institution for the action and called for its immediate reversal.
According to CACOL, “tertiary institutions are wont to decry undue interference and highhandedness of political leaders”, while they are “more reputed for such meddlesomeness and propensity to corrupt practices which the students usually feel obligated to react to as first victims of those vices”.
The statement read: “Sometime within the week, the news reached us that Ojo Aderemi, a student of University of Ibadan that was elected as their union’s president on April 29, 2017 and sworn in accordingly on May 8, 2017, was rusticated for four semesters after the sitting of Students’ Disciplinary Committee (SDC) this last Wednesday.
“The purported offences for which he was rusticated include: the claim that he conducted an illegal students’ congress, that he led a protest shortly after his assumption into office and that he requested for the reinstatement of some students that were suspended for protesting over the refusal of the school’s authority to issue them with their students’ identity cards after which money was collected for it.
“It is noteworthy to recall that the students’ Union of the University of Ibadan was suspended barely a day after Ojo led the protest calling for the school’s authority to issue the identification cards to the over 35,000 (thirty-five thousand) students of the university, who had paid about N2,000 (two thousand Naira) each for same material without any response from the school’s management on May 30, 2017; thus putting the students’ union body in abeyance, barely three weeks and a day (22 days) after his swearing-in as the university’s students’ union President.
“Aside the implied case of corruption in the protest, relevant provisions like Section 40 of the 1999 Nigerian Federal Constitution (as amended), clearly confers the rights to associate to all Nigerians, including the students, just like their lecturers and the administrative staff of the university. It is equally noteworthy that the General Abisoye (rtd) panel that was set up during the Ibrahim Babangida era made it plain that the students’ unions are independent and ought not to be willfully proscribed by any school’s management. It went further to recommend that students, as cognate public of the university environment, must be represented at all levels of decision making of the university management, especially where students’ issues are in contention. These and many more were clearly not observed by the UI authority before this arbitrary suspension of their Union and rustication of the only known students’ union president till date.
“Ironically, the managements of our tertiary institutions are wont to decry undue interference and highhandedness of our political leaders, while they are more reputed for such meddlesomeness and propensity to corrupt practices which the students usually feel obligated to react to as first victims of those vices. We therefore insist that, students union governments are veritable field of training and acculturation of Nigeria’s future leaders, while the university environment can only thrive as a marketplace of ideas when there is high regards for democratic ethos and mutual cooperation between relevant stakeholders, operating therein.
“In this wise, CACOL calls for immediate reversal of the rustication of Ojo Aderemi by the Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka-led school management while machineries must be put in place to unban their students’ union with no further ado. We insist that for holistic democracy to germinate and fully blossom in Nigeria, our universities’ managements must rid themselves of these autocratic tendencies that were the carry-overs of the ingenious military dictatorship.”