The current feud between the Ogun state governor, Ibukunle Amosun and students of the Olabisi Onabanjo University does not seem to be coming to an end soon as the students have threatened that the governor will lose his bid for re-election in 2015 if he does not reduce the tuition fee of the school.
According to Premium Times, the students who held a press conference held in lagos on Monday, September 8, 2014 carried placard which included one which read “When masses say No, No Governor can say Yes,” a placard by one of the students said. “Gov Amosun, listen to the students now or you will…. 2015 election.”
The students have been engaging the government since August over their demand for a reduction and immediate implementation of the reduction of their tuition fees, although the government has made a reduction which the students say isn’t adequate. The state government also said the implementation of the reduction will commence in the next academic session.
Addressing journalist at the press briefing, the Joint Action front (JAF) described the Ibikunle-led government as a “set of shameless parents who chose to lie and deceive their children”.
Olusegun Ifade, the president of the Students Union Government (SUG) said: “We are ever resolute to pursue this cause no matter what it takes, because the issue is very simple, if you are talking about reduction and you run to the media without having a conclusive or mutual agreement and the most annoying thing is you are saying the implementation will take effect next session, our own argument is logical and simple. Over 2000 students cannot pay and have applied for leave of absence for the 2012/2013 session, and many couldn’t return. If you now announce a reduction and you say it will take effect next session, what of this academic session of 2013/2014? Do they go out of school because they can’t pay and return next session? Is it logical? It’s not logical. Implementation and further reduction of the fees is non-negotiable”.
The student government leader also debunked claims that the students were instigated by the opposition in the state to cause mayhem
“Let me also address the rumour that we are being motivated by politicians,” Mr. Ifade said. “We all remember the Ali-must-go protest in the 70s, we heard the students accused of being sponsored by the opposition. During the LASU struggle, they said the 5th columnist and some politicians motivated it, but at the end of the day, the success of the struggle showed that it was a student motivated struggle. It is always like that in this part of the world, when we have a highly irresponsible government who always look for excuse to justify their irresponsibility and that’s why they are saying the struggle of Olabisi Onabanjo University is a politically motivated one. It is not and it will never be. They said it’s only 1 out of 9 tertiary institutions that is complaining. But it is only that one that is in 2013/2014 academic session; it is only one that pays the highest tuition fees in the entire Nigeria; it is only that one that is still standing and it will continue to stand.”
Vice chairman of the JAF, Chude Achike, also spoke on the group’s involvement in the student’s agitation.
“The various governments want to commercialise education. Education is a right of the people and the irony is that whether the state claims to be progressive or conservative, they are not meeting up with expectation. We must commend the students of this school even in the face of propaganda, lies and various accusations. Students of this university must learn from the struggle and victory of LASU,”
The students also demanded the immediate resumption of academic activities in the school with the implementation of the following conditions:
1. Further reduction in tuition fees not exceeding a maximum of N50,000
2. Implementation of reduction for 2013/2014 academic session
3. Proper funding of the university;
4. Reinstatement of over 3000 dropped students of the university.
5. Completion of the hostels or immediate transfer to the school management
6. Total removal of all security operatives- SSS, Mopol, Op-Messa, Police- from the school’s community
7. Non-victimisation of students or student leaders.
Yusuph Olaniyonu, the Ogun state commissioner for information who was contacted by Premium Times refused to comment on the demands of the students while the Ogun state ministry of education could not be reached just as the spokesperson of the university said she was not in a position to comment on the issue.
The school has been under lock and key since Friday, August 22, 2014 after governor Amosun told the students to give him 2 weeks to look into their demands.
The management of the university recently proscribed the SUG for what it termed “collaboration with external influences”.