Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)

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4 June 2017

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DSM CONDEMNS THE ARBITRARY CLOSURE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN (UI) AND THE SUSPENSION OF THE STUDENTS' UNION BY THE DESPOTIC PROF. OLAYINKA-LED MANAGEMENT.

Workers Unions (ASUU, NASU, NAAT & SSANU) and Parents must condemn administrative highhandedness and attacks on democratic rights of students

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) University of Ibadan Branch condemns in totality the arbitrary closure of the university; forceful eviction of students from various halls of residence and the suspension of the students' union activities by the Prof. Idowu Olayinka-led administration. We demand the immediate and unconditional re-opening of the university and the reversal of the suspension order placed on the students' union activities.

We also caution the University authorities not to embark on victimisation of students' union leaders over the protest. The right to peacefully protest is a constitutionally-guaranteed right. The culture of victimising students and staff union leaders for embarking on protest is tyrannical and shall be resisted. The DSM at the same time declares its support to all forms of legitimate political actions and agitations necessary to force the university management to accede to all the demands of students.

The protest was called by the Students Union in a bid to express students' dissatisfaction against the failure of the Prof. Olayinka-led management of the University to carry out its basic and fundamental obligation viz-a-viz issuance of ID card to students for two consecutive academic sessions having forced them to pay a sum of N650 and N2, 000 for the same purpose for the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 academic session respectively. Other key issues fuelling students' anger are the refusal of the administration to allow the use of electric stove in the hostels and the continued victimisation of student activists

We strongly hold that the closure of the university is not only condemnable but also unwarranted as the students' protest was peaceful without any record of destruction of property or loss of life. Besides, the closure also violates the university rules and regulations which stipulate that university can be closed if a so-called unrest lingers beyond 72 hours and that the University Senate has to meet to take such decision. None of the conditions was met before the Vice Chancellor callously closed down the university and ordered students to vacate halls of residence within 6 hours over a protest that lasted for less than 12 hours.

We therefore condemn the inglorious role of the University Senate which did not only turn a blind eye to that brazen infraction of the university rules by the vice-chancellor but also worsened the draconian action by suspending the students' union activities, something which is attack on democratic rights of students.

We also condemn the Senate's attempt to hurriedly and autocratically amend the students' union constitution at the instance of the VC is a ridiculous attempt to subvert the independence of the union. This is because for almost four years now, the same Senate has refused to approve the amendment of the constitution by the Students' Representative Council (SRC) – the parliamentary arm of the union.

The DSM calls on the workers union on campus SSANU, NASU, NAAT and particularly members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to come out in a principled opposition to the Prof. Olayinka-led administration's deliberate attack on democratic rights of students. Olayinka-led administration must be told that he lacks the right to suspend the activities of the union. Such an attempt is tantamount to a conscious violation of section 40 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

Again DSM commends the entire rank and file students of the University of Ibadan as well as the Ojo Aderemi leadership of the union for the kind of exceptional courage and resilience that has been so far demonstrated in the bid to resist and defeat all form of anti-students' policies of the Prof. Olayinka –led administration of the university.

However, we warn that to be able to deepen and sustain this kind of resilience and commitment being exhibited by the entire students the Ojo Aderemi leadership of the students' union must as a matter of urgency come up, beyond media propaganda, a programme of actions This should include mass meeting of students within and outside the campus, rallies and protests; production and circulation of mobilisation materials like leaflets and posters with a view to build more public support and sympathy for the campaign to force the Olayinka-led management to respect and accede to the students, demands.

As for us in DSM, we will always be ready to work with Ojo Aderemi leadership of the Students union in a bid to ensure that the Prof. Olayinka-led management is forced to accede to the following demands:

  • (1) Immediate and unconditional re-opening of the university
  • (2) Immediate and unconditional reversal of the suspension of the Students' Union
  • (3) Right of students to use electric stove in the kitchenette in their hall of residence
  • (4) Immediate and unconditional reinstatement of all the politically victimised students
  • (5) Immediate public panel including elected representatives of staff and students to probe the finances of the University which include: Bursary department, UI Venture, UI microfinance, office of the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-chancellors and Hall management committees
  • (6) Immediate probe panel including elected representatives of staff and students to investigate Prof. Olayinka-led management over the misappropriation of the money received from students for the purpose of production of ID
Ogunjimi Isaac
DSM IU Branch Secretary