Deepening Neglect of Public-funded Education in Nigeria: OAU Students’ Protests as a Metaphor, By Omotoye Olorode

deepening-neglect-of-public-funded-education-in-nigeria:-oau-students’-protests-as-a-metaphor,-by-omotoye-olorode

The twenty years between 1978 and 1998 witnessed an tale wrestle in Nigeria.

The wrestle to rescue Nigeria and, the educational sector, especially the larger training section took on particular class persona in the closing forty years—twenty years (1978-1998) largely below World Bank-supervised protection force dictatorship, and twenty years (1999-2021) below an alleged democracy additionally supervised by the World Bank and dominated by the a connected, and equally deadly, ideological forces unfold all over Nigeria.

The central persona of the four-decade long dispensation is privatisation, huge internal most accumulation of wealth by a little ruling-class, and general abandonment of social products and companies (training, healthcare, typical utilities, and plenty others.) provisioning. Budgetary allocation to training has dwindled enormously despite the struggles of labour, (ASUU in explicit) and the college students’ circulate. The vicious assault on the college students has decimated their circulate by the mid-1990s. From 1988, ASUU used to be banned plenty of instances. The Nigeria Labour Congress itself used to be straight below executive sledge hammer between 1988 and 1999; the NLC had no longer recovered from that trauma!

These are the final stipulations that produced the final crisis of decay in each residing (public carrier, universities, utilities, security, roads, hospitals, and plenty others.) and the innovative and deepening decay in our institutions of larger studying the put workers are owed salaries or paid what they now call amputated wages. But, key resolution-makers and their chums are smiling to their banks every day.

Below the stipulations of frustration, madden, and confusion wherein our folk are living, and on condition that their skill for resistance had been repeatedly stultified for years, any minor trigger, now to not chat of the loss of lifetime of a younger pupil or any human being for that matter, will spark a huge lot of reaction and conflagration!

Where the ruling circles, those whose policies impose the most modern catastrophe on society are untouchable, armed, and “invisible” to the victims, the victims (on this case diversified “hobby groups” in the college community) turn their frustrations against one one other. That used to be the background to my rapid reaction on social media after I heard of our tragic loss of Aisha Adesina at OAU; the post used to be quoted partly on-line by Top price Cases on October 6, 2021.

My real reaction to the assertion by [OAU] Senate concerning the miserable match used to be as follows:

“OAU IFE STILL LOOKING FOR THE IMMEDIATE AND REMOTE CAUSES OF DECAY

Authorities-sponsored DECAY that used to be born bigger than twenty years previously. In actual fact depressing. When the academy dies, nearly ALL will be misplaced. And to hang here’s the a connected Generous Ife whose unflinching tradition of truth and braveness generations of faculty and college students sacrificed time, careers and blood to carry out”.

I acknowledged “depressing”! But I used to be in actual fact embarrassed; because “the faraway” causes of our most modern dispute, on all counts, had been in public peek for no lower than forty years!

Because the swearing in of the [INEC-trained] Pupil Union EXCO has been suspended by OAU (Senate decisions on college students’ protests—Particular liberate by the Registrar, Oct. 5), Management closed OAU on October 2; Senate met Oct. 5; Senate commiserate with the family; condemns the college students’ action and frowned on blockading of Ife-Ibadan and Ife-Ede roads; commended the Vice-Chancellor for “the instructed and proactive decisions to suspend college students activities stressing that treasured lives would possibly per chance additionally secure been misplaced if actions had been delayed”, [Senate] affirms its strengthen for decisions taken by management:

  1. That college students vacate campus
  2. Swearing in of newly elected pupil union officers ought to unexcited be keep on relief.

Earlier in the year, I even secure learn “As OAU ready for its 60th Anniversary (1)” by Mr Bola Bolawole [Wednesday. 14th April, 2021: reubenabatic.com.ng]—accessed Saturday, 9th Oct. 2021, the put Mr Bolawole observed as follows:


“Puny wonder that the College is touted because the Easiest College in Africa. . . Sadly, the college has since fallen on annoying instances and is this day a shadow of its aged self as facilities and infrastructure secure been allowed to decay and tumble into unsuitable shape. A few months previously, I went into Fajuyi Hall, whose corridor chairman I used to be in 1981/82 to again my son switch out his property and I wept. In each residing and every facility used to be decrepit. . ….Sorry for the digression”.

For Mr Bolawole in April 2021, articulating “the sorry learn about” used to be a digression. But for me and most school workers, especially ASUU members, all over Nigeria, since about the time that Bolawole’s skills of radical, patriotic groups and alliances of innovative college students entered the colleges in Nigeria, the advancement of the decay in our alma mater, and the total college machine in Nigeria, had been the centrepiece of the crisis! It used to be that deepening of the crisis that compelled and enabled ASUU to force the Federal Authorities of Nigeria to construct the Needs Evaluate of 2013 and to delivery out endeavor the next, if largely token, amelioration of the decay in Federal and Teach Universities.

I additionally observed a reproduction of, and browse, ASUU’s (ASUU, OAU Division) Assertion of October 2, 2021 [signed by Chairman, Dr Adeola Egbedokun]. I need to highlight parts of ASUU’s assertion attributable to the allegations against ASUU in the Assertion issued on the tragedy by SSANU Chairman, Comrade Taiwo Arobadi.

Paragraph 2 of ASUU’s assertion referred to “alleged conditions that surrounded the loss of life. . .”. ASUU didn’t display conceal, or sort any allegations!

Paragraph 3 stated “ASUU OAU would fancy to induce the college Administration to pay diligent consideration to the well being heart, as we are able to’t proceed to faux that every individual is well at the energy. We inquire of that the college administration ought to unexcited residing up an self ample Panel of Enquiry to video display into the activities of the Well being Heart with a peek to finding lasting solutions to the perennial complaints of every workers and college students against the center.”

In paragraph 4, ASUU used to be categorical:, “ASUU OAU desires to expose college students to be law-abiding. . . in the center of their authentic lisp”.

SSANU Chairman, Comrade Taiwo Arobadi, signed and circulated a liberate titled,

“SSANU COMMISERATE WITH THE UNIVERSITY”. The liberate asserted, inter alia,

“The honour of SSANU has additionally been drawn to the miserable on-line liberate of ASUU OAU Chapter that the loss of life……used to be as a outcomes of the negligence by the staff and workers of the Well being Heart.”

As I observed earlier on, I even secure learn ASUU (OAU, Ile-Ife) assertion of October 2, 2021 signed by Dr Adeola Egbedokun. In the assertion, there used to be reference to “perennial complaints of every workers and college students against the center”, however there used to be no residing in ASUU’s assertion the put anybody or community used to be accused of “negligence” by ASUU (OAU) Chapter. Bola Bolawole’s “That peace would possibly per chance additionally return to Generous Ife” (turnpot@gmail.com), which I observed on the sixth of October, tallied, some, with ASUU (OAU) command of “perennial complaints. . .” : Bolawole observed, “. . .the OAU Well being Heart is no longer sleek to controversies. Students secure protested against it from time immemorial.”

At this level, some reflection on Mr Bola Bolawole’s intervention, “That peace would possibly per chance additionally return to Generous Ife” will seem to be in expose. The reasonably hagiographic bent of Mr Bolawole’s intervention, as it pertains to the incumbent VC, given the circumstance of the tragedy on ground, is worrisome.

Usually, my anguish has to attain with what I ranking into yarn to be the inappropriateness of apprehending the ambience of the tragedy on ground (the loss of life of the younger girl) as an occasion to highlight the achievements of the incumbent Vice-Chancellor. The VC would possibly per chance additionally even secure been a celeb; and in that regard, I haven’t viewed any comment accusing or denigrating Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede.  But that is beside the level!

To delivery to rail against “disgruntled” intention, or a “minority” that misplaced out, “politicians” who had been feeding protesters, and plenty others., and these classes would possibly per chance additionally very well exist, merely does no longer match this tragic occasion.  And it looks to be to me that it is the intrusion of hagiography in “That peace would possibly per chance additionally return. . .” which generated the in actual fact broad equivocation in Mr Bolawole’s comments on the sing of healthcare facility at OAU, all our universities and the healthcare facilities in general in our nation. We need to additionally delivery a dialogue against figuring out the credibility of the objections to public protests on yarn of the “possibility” of the so-known as hoodlums becoming a member of, and/or the “actuality” that “hoodlums” attain be half of, or high jack, the protests. This insistent refrain from segments of enlightened voters is inimical to citizen’s gracious to public gatherings that are assured by Nigerian law—the Police Act, 2020. Because the “much less executive, extra internal most accumulation” ruling class policies produced and reproduced what the class now call “hoodlums” and “miscreants”, these hungry and justifiably offended victims secure change into the excuse for systematic silencing of the rising “tribe” of heart-broken folk all over Nigeria. And the paradigm has change into routine excuse by sing actors for frequent digital execution of protesters or correct anybody who merely occurs to be in any “depraved location” a lot like at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020—the final metaphor!

As negative as allegations of negligence against anybody or any community by aggrieved or distressed folks can even be, aggrieved or distressed folks, rather over and over, sort such allegations especially against public officers. Counterfeit allegations of negligence are miserable, however ever most modern, hazards of serving folk. It’s precisely because such allegations would possibly per chance additionally very well be incorrect that demands are made by responsible organisations that such allegations be investigated by an self ample committee or commission! And if allegations are learned to correspond to truth, remediation, restitutions and reconciliations are made; and, if need be, sanctions are imposed to discourage future occurrences.

Demands for self ample investigation by every Senate and ASUU, we should emphasise, attain no longer steal the truth that workers in the Well being Heart are in general annoying-working, competent and devoted folk (doctors, cleaners, nurses, pharmacist, and plenty others.) that I knew and know personally. They are our kinfolk, colleagues and co-workers who secure shown dedication to the community, many instances previous the call of accountability. Many of the well being sector workers secure, themselves, fancy NARD and JOHESU this day, been complaining about the decrepit nature of well being facilities since 1984! At the moment, there are doctors in public hospitals that secure no longer been paid for ELEVEN MONTHS!

It’s additionally the truth that the decay of public institutions is no longer the invention of God or Providence. It’s some distance the manifestation of a obvious political economy imposed on Nigeria since the shut of the 1970s. Nigeria’s working folk and their formative years secure struggled with this imposition which has deepened social and financial inequality occasioned by the policies of overlapping ruling class regimes (protection force and civilian) that abandoned public welfare and diminished the cost of employee’s earnings. Universities, well being-care facilities and hospitals are abandoned. Students’ lodging, workers housing are diminished or cancelled, subsidised catering facilities had been terminated since 1984 when 800 catering workers had been sacked at College of Ife and 10,000 had been sacked nationwide. Employees and Students resisted this impoverishment and humiliation of Nigerian folk. Pupil unions and workers’ unions (Cleaners’ Union, Students’ Union, ASUU, NASU, SSAUTHRIAI) fought facet by facet. No doubt the ruling class fought succor and important of faculty folk joined the oppressors. Students had been imprisoned, brushed off, killed and plenty others. Lecturers had been imprisoned and sacked. Most Vice-Chancellors and the so-known as ‘Management’ had been laughing to their banks framing college students and handing them over to police!

The gigantic ruling class siege and attacks on working folk created the most modern decay of our universities. And the decay is taking place simultaneously with the legendary level of internal most wealth accumulation among the many members of Nigeria’s ruling class all over the nation!

It’s some distance the final result of the siege on the victims of ruling class policies that subverted their organisational and inter-organisational integrity and unity. Students started combating among themselves and against workers, segments of unions hook on to governments and their brokers in the colleges, internal most and primordial interests split unions. As unity wanes in the community, folks and groups ranking the law into their very secure fingers or frantically resign to ‘management’ that then again executive to impose irresponsible and anti-folk policies fancy IPPIS, diminished funding, and the so-known as cost-restoration programs! The reinstatement of community and, especially workers’ unity, is the antidote to the most modern decay. We frail to secure, and to activate, this antidote! The incumbent VC at Ife himself perceived to secure learned, most realistic no longer too long previously that IPPIS is subversive of faculty autonomy!

A connected area concerning my anguish about hagiography is the amount of effort acknowledged to secure been invested in renovation, or is it reforming of pupil unionism at OAU; full with training of faculty students by INEC! The pupil union used to be below a ban. It used to be unbanned, I heard, as an honour to late Mr Yinka Odumakin, an alumnus who used to be a patriotic pupil chief. Odumakin used to be in the skills of OAU pupil leaders who suffered fixed intimidation in the fingers college administration, the protection force, and the police authorities. Following this October protests, the OAU Students’ Union is now below digital ban; INEC training or no longer!

Many of the complications of our dispute this day underscore the complications of energy believing that history does no longer matter! For a college, circumscribed historicism is in particular miserable. Obtain the instance of the contrived controversy concerning whether or no longer the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the College of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo College) is 2021 or 2022! In “As OAU prepares for its 60th anniversary (1)” by Bola Bolawole (theshieldonlineng.com: accessed Sunday Oct. 10, 2021), the PRO to OAU [Biodun Olanrewaju] used to be reported to secure “corrected the affect that the college used to be established in 1962”. It used to be further asserted in the article: “…the misunderstanding emanated from the truth that ‘college students came into residing or that academic activities began in 1962”.

I ranking into yarn the controversy unnecessary because it ought to additionally be reasonably argued that a college does no longer exist de facto except academic activities delivery in it! All of us know why celebrations change into so essential in our institutions despite the decay that all and sundry acknowledges! After your complete 10th Anniversary of the College if Ife used to be notorious in 1972 by a essential section of the founders! Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the inimitable Hezekiah Adedamola Oluwasanmi, (the Vice Chancellor), T.T. Solaru, Omolayole, and plenty others., had been there at the celebrations. Our senior colleagues Layi Ogunkoya, Segun Osoba, Sam Aluko, Biyi Afonja and others had been there at the “Agric Foyer”. My humble self used to be there reporting for our campus journal Ife Dialogue—the newsletter of the Ife Dialogue Committee. We correct hope and pray that the next administration will no longer, despite the dire dispute of OAU, articulate on celebrating the 60th Anniversary of OAU, in 2022!

And the tendency of the leaders of institutions to be “unavailable” all the intention by strategy of crises and sessions when college students are distressed, needs to be terminated! No doubt empathies are created and conditioned by the congruence of the interests of leaders and the communities they lead. Fortunately, at OAU, I will attest personally to the truth that H.A. Oluwasanmi used to be repeatedly there among the many college students all the intention by strategy of ache and crisis. Wande Abimbola used to be there too. So used to be Roger Makanjuola who even known as Town Hall Meetings to dowse crisis! So had been senior lecturers fancy Oyin Ogunba, Bayo Lamikanra and “Union folk” fancy late Edmund Oshinaike, late Kola Olufemi and Tunde Fatunla, late Otas Ukpomwan, Dipo Fashina G. G. Darah, Folabo Soyinka-Ajayi, late J.D. Oke and Ayo Asafa, to display conceal correct just a few; even supposing “the union folk” not sleep carrying the can of being accused of “instigating the college students”!

We reiterate the level that the crisis of the abandonment of our universities by ruling class governments are sure to attach producing complications that can proceed to divide the communities—workers against workers, college students against workers, college students against college students! But, the intention to keep the colleges is for workers’ groups and college students to be on the a connected facet in the wrestle against the deepening decay being imposed by the Nigerian ruling class and their collaborators.

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