It will amount to betrayal of our revolutionary ideas if we allow bad things to continue just like the ordeal of Ifemosu Michael, a student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, who was unjustly suspended by the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Felix Salako, who often prides himself as the ‘Buhari of FUNAAB’. Michael was sent on an academic exile for writing to express his opinions on the issues happening in the country.
Since the whole saga began, Michael has faced so many threats from different quarters. Just few days ago, Michael was attacked in his apartment. These armed men came at the wee hours of the night, tore his window nights in a bid to perform their vicious act. In fact, a gun was pointed but luckily for him, with the aid of his neighbours who raised alarm, these individuals escaped. To make matters worse, Michael has been under surveillance, he receives several private calls of threat for daring to speak up against the anomalies in the country.
It is embarrassing and appalling that Professor Salako and other academics in the University Senate is interested in suspension of Michael for merely expressing his views.
I think I will have to adopt the opinions of critical Nigerians who have described most managements of the Universities as set of people who aren’t capable of managing a poultry successfully without having eggs stolen, which is why the country still has Buhari as the President.
One of the salient points addressed by Ifemosu is the degeneracy in the transportation system of the university. In contrast to Ifemosu’s opinion, the Vice Chancellor made the analysis of the traditional yearly purchase of school buses to be impossible in his administration because of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Federal Government.
However, the Vice Chancellor, sometime ago said that when he became the vice chancellor there were only four functional buses available which his administration increased to nineteen functional buses within six months of emergence in office. A question begging for answer is ‘when did the Vice-Chancellor begin to finance the institution with his personal money?’
Clearly, the Vice Chancellor stabbed logic in every sense because the project was constructed from the university’s purse. In fact, according to reports, the project was done secretly as due process was ignored.
Also, the Vice-Chancellor, made mention of shifting lectures from 8:00am to 9:00am because he wants to decongest camp. The Vice-Chancellor should bear in mind that without necessarily shifting lectures, a mere increase of the handful operational buses he claimed to have achieved or building more conducive hostels for students within the campus would be more effective.
FUNAAB is a federal university, it is expected to be one of the least affordable for children of the masses, but out of poor funding and personal interests of the university management, students are faced with pocket-tearing school hostel fee, which is as costly as N200, 000. This is one of the underlying factors that pushed numerous engage in various vices as a means of survival. This is even happening in a country where the government finds it impossible to implement the thirty thousand minimum wage.
This case is not only about Ifemosu Michael, the university management is gradually waking the consciousness of FUNAABITES, thousands of Ifemosu Michael will one day, rise up to challenge and demand for their entitlements as students and Nigerians.
Lastly, it is said to note the acceptance of the students’ union of FUNAAB on Michael’s suspension. The acceptance is gullible and a betrayal of students mandate. In a situation where it has degenerated to the extent that the Students’ leaders are now being sworn into offices in the Vice Chancellor’s office, one doesn’t expect them to perform miracles as it symbolizes engulfment of the mountain by fire for the rank and file of students which is happening in Ifemosu’s case. Little wonder, the Vice Chancellor indicted the union leaders to have agreed to the increment in transport fare having had several roundtable negotiations as a form of dialogue.
Students must begin to organise in their numbers to save themselves as it is often said that saviours don’t exist, the students will have to save themselves.
Owoeye Olaoluwa Olamarx writes from Obafemi Awolowo University