An open letter to OAU school management

This is an exclusive blog post by OAU student, Micheal Lenin. "...The state of the toilets and bathrooms is disgusting to the sight. This is a great threat to the health of students..."

Obafemi Awolowo University

The burning fire of frustration in me will make salutations impossible. The lamentable state of welfare of students coupled with the criminal fee that you tyrannically imposed on innocent students has made me to conclude with no doubt that you duped us. Reality has shown that the 2014 increment, which you masterminded was nothing but an exploitative fraudulent act. The chief reason you gave for the inevitability of the increment was the need to develop the university. But this is erroneous. Fees should not be increased on the basis of infrastructural development. In fact it should not be increased on any basis at all. It is the duty of the government to fund education and develop schools; this duty should not be imposed on children of the struggling masses.

To be precise, the masses should not be held responsible for the negligence of some political warlords who are hell bent on looting the nation dry. It is very laughable and ridiculous that you even tag part of the fees paid by fresh student as ‘developmental levy’ (18,000) yet these innocent students lived in dilapidated and congested hostels, is there a better definition of fraud than this? This I guess is a practical definition of fraud and criminality.

The horrible condition of hostels and lecture rooms has shown that the 2014 increment that left many hopes shattered is not just criminal, and cannot be justified by any shred of reason.

Hostels are still overpopulated due to insufficient hostels; students are subjected to live like refugees with residents ranging from 16-20 students ‘awaiting’ in a single room –in fact, it is safe to assert that Syrian refugees live in better condition than Greatest Ife students. The hostels are in their dying days and are thus too risky for human habitation.

The state of the toilets and bathrooms is disgusting to the sight. This is a great threat to the health of students because innumerable number of diseases could be contracted from these disease reservoirs. It is lamentable that you have denied over 40% Great Ife students the chance to live on campus due to your refusal to construct new hostels which has led to insufficient hostels, the safety of these students who are scattered in dilapidated houses that luckily survived the Ife-Modakeke war cannot be guaranteed. Aside that these historical relic houses could join there long gone colleagues anytime, these students can be victims of any violent clash that may erupt between the two communities. It is unacceptable that you choose to neglect the plight of the students who are the largest shareholder in the university community.

It should be noted that even after the2014 unjust increment, over 55% of the students living on campus are still squatting. Yet you refused to construct new hostels and renovate the existing ones. The recent outbreak of bedbug bears witness to the abysmal welfare condition of students, but you did not battle the root cause of bedbug invasion, which is the lamentable state of the hostels. Your administration rather went on a dramatic show with bedbugs. Poor welfare condition does not begin with bedbug infestation and will not end with it. It is vivid that you are not concern about the welfare of students but that of yours and members of your administration. No wonder you are erecting a ‘Mount Everest’ on campus when half of that fund can be used to significantly improve the welfare of students.

Call it “CBN fund” or “IMF grant”, my contention is that funds should be judiciously spent on items that will lift students out of this current quagmire. This is a master stroke of cruelty!

Despite the existence of the problem of accommodation, what have you done? Of course you punish students for selling bed spaces. You and the Nigerian government should be punished for creating the crisis of accommodation in the first instance. While it is wrong for students to exploit his colleague’s plight, by selling a bed space for outrageous amount, sometimes as high as N70, 000, the university authorities that continue to waste university funds on frivolities are the creator of this crime. If there is enough bed space for students, there will be no one to buy bed space and thus no one to sell it too. But the big question is who made hostels to be insufficient? You and the Nigerian government are responsible for this hardship, our hardship. You did not renovate the hostels; you did not build new ones yet you admit more than enough students yearly just to make more money. Honestly sir who is the real criminal to be punished? Innocent students or university management?

Aside the infectious living condition on campus, the learning condition is nothing to write home about. The deplorable state of the lecture theatres is a manifestation of the negligence of your administration. The major lecture theaters are in an abysmal state; most of the seats are missing like an aged man’s teeth. Students are left with no choice than to sit on the floor in most cases. Learning was not like this when you studied on this same campus. Aside the bad state of the existing lecture rooms you did not deem it fit to build new ones. Laboratories are as dry as desert with nothing for students to study with, even the library is nothing but a museum of old books. Sir, you did not studied under this callousness, why then OAU students? The Health Centre which I would love to refer as Death Centre is still at its all-time worst. The Health Centre also had its own share of your negligence as it is understaffed and poorly equipped. Just this year, members of NASU went on a powerful protest because of your failure to pay their long arrears of allowances. In actual fact the protest was as a result of the irresponsibility and cruelty of the university management to the toiling workers. Although the university

PRO tagged it as ‘causing violence in the university community’ I do not need to laugh because that seems to be his best phrase. It is not only students, but also workers, that are victims of your gross negligence. The inanimate things are not left out, if buildings and toilets in Awolowo hall could speak they will protest their state of rottenness!

I will love to inform you that the struggle for the reversal of the fraudulent fees is not over. In fact the increment is a TIME BOMB, ticking and ticking, that will soon explode. It will surely explode soon. Greatest Ife students are not fools, we understand the criminality behind the outrageous fees and that it has been of no benefit to students but of immerse demerit, how many admissions had to be forfeited because of the killer fee? How many hopes were scattered? How many future and hopes were murdered by the killer fees? Just too many! The criminal increment which is a time- bomb will explode soon, and when it does OAU students will no longer be sacrificed on the selfish altar of profit.

I will like to draw your attention to your refusal to reinstate OLAWALE OWOLABI aka OGUNRUKU, a great activist that is worthy of eulogy. A man who stood for the truth without backsliding for once. He has been placed under suspension since 2011. Your claim that OLAWALE OWOLABI is not a student is equally erroneous and contradictory. How can the university management suspend someone who is not a student? Let me remind you sir that your predecessor sent a letter of suspension through his faculty (EDUCATION), yet you claim he is not a student. Sir you have turned activism into a crime just as you have turned learning into hell.

I will state clearly here that when the time bomb explodes, neither OGUNRUKU nor any OAU student will ever be the sacrificial lamb of victimization, oppression and exploitation. You only took advantage of the ’21st century’ leaders of our union who are deluded with wrong perspective of unionism,‘political vegetables’ who see the union as a way to eradicate poverty in their lives and thus see no reason for the struggle of students. I will be concluding by stating it emphatically that the fight against increment in fee, poor welfare condition, suspension etc goes beyond these, it is a fight against oppression, victimization, violation and exploitation, it is a fight for justice, a fight for the truth, it is a fight for FREEDOM

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