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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

EFIWE ARTICLES: An Enviable History Of Azikwe Hall By Ojo Aderemi

"After a brief study of Zik Hall's history, I realized that it is more prestigious and fulfilling to be Zik Hall Chairman..."


By Ojo Aderemi

I have always been of the opinion that no Hall is greater than the other save the peculiarities inherent in each of them. However, it is a mark of friendship, mutual understanding and respect to view the above statement without political prejudice. In fact it was not a serious post.

This article only seeks to relay that having meticulously observed (from historical perspective) the patterns of events with regards to the Students' movement and the University community in general, it is not out of place to conclude that it is more honourable to be Zik Hall Chairman than being SU President (in the past).



But then, taking a very long voyage down to our recent history, we see the impeccable JURISDICTIVE AUTHORITY of the SU President (as it ought to be) over the Zik Hall Chairman.

Take a look:

A CASE WHERE THE ZIK HALL CHAIRMAN WAS GIVEN MAXIMUM SHI-SHI.

 2000 -Idris Tukur was the Zik Hall Chairman.

I do remember the incidence painted during one of the episodes of Zik Hall @ 7 where Barrister Ola Adeosun (a Tedderite) reminded us of an affair when there was an SDC sitting on the case of student activist. Idris Tukur was Hall Chairman of Azikiwe Hall then. The SU President on agreement with the Union leaders agreed to boycott the sitting. At that time Ola Adeosun (a Law student and a Tedderite) was speaker of the Students Representative Council (SRC). Idris Tukur being the Hall Chairman of Zik Hall was called to be the student representative at the sitting.

When the news got to the SUB (i.e Kunle Adepeju Building) that the SU President had been defied, a band of students mobilized themselves to the Senate Chambers where the sitting was going on. They stormed the chambers and picked up the Zik Hall Chairman. He was taken to Zik Hall, and an emergency Congress was held right inside Zik Hall while the SRC speaker Ola Adeosun chaired the Congress.

The resolution of the Congress was that the Zik Hall Chairman should be given 24 strokes. Well, 24 strokes became almost 100. Each student wanted his own share of the the beating.

THE P-BLACK AFFAIR.

2014 -Adeyemi Olamiposi aka P-Black [A 400 level student of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology was Zik Hall Chairman elect]. P-Black was elected Chaiman of the Hall but was not sworn in by the Hall management. The ground upon which this was based was that he had an SDC case steming from the previous administration. Even after the Union elections had been conducted, the Hall chairman was not sworn in.

However, on the demand of the former President of the Union Odesola Oluwafemi (a Kutite) during his inaugural address Adeyemi Olamiposi was sworn in and the charges against him was dropped.

However, like my earlier short post stated (not as aggressively misinterpreted by my fellow Union Patriots), the Zik Hall Chairman played some observable roles which made people place honour on being in that position than being the SU President. That position may be faulted today for the jurisdictive authority of the Students' Union President are now more pronounced than any other as evident in the intervention of President Ojo Nifemi in the Anti-Signatory battle that has almost crippled all activities in even Zik Hall.

Examine these:

Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo [English Department, University of Ibadan] who is still the longest serving Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, while writing the preface to a book, asserted that;

 "When I became Vice Chancellor, I WAS NOT SUPRISED to find that I had to deal with Azikiwe Hall" (Akinosho,1998)

Continuing in his authoritative assertion, Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo explained again that although he disagreed with [some of] the methods being used by the Students' Union, Azikiwe Hall [under the leadership of its Chairman] led the Union.

I did post about the deduction from the rich history of Azikiwe Hall, although deliberately made by the author to be controversial. It became ultra and politicized and interesting reading through the comments. But then, I saw something like angry request for an explanation for the assertion...then I had to push my pen faster than necessary. Let me point out first that I was talking from a point of view.

In 1964 when the Hall was established, hundreds of students from other Old Halls were transferred en masse to the New Hall. This roughly translates to the reason why the President of Senegal Leopold Senghor [who flew all the way from his country to Nigeria and purposely visited the famous B Block Basement to address the residents of the hall] had said that;

"There is a miniature of the United States of America within this city".. He was referring to Ibadan. What he meant by this statement was that just like the way United States of America comprises of people from different civilizations, the New Hall was the unofficial meeting point of the students.

Since September 1964, however, there has existed a long political jihad between the Zik Hall Chairman and the President of the Union. To sight a few examples out of many;

1964 -Tunde Aluko [a 100 level student of the Department of Geology became the first Zik Hall Chairman]. He would later be chosen by the SU presidents of other institutions over the SU President of UI then to become the Secretary General of the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS).

1965 -Samuel Bamisaye [a 200 level student of the Department of Economics became the Zik Hall Chairman]. As the Hall Chairman then he recommended his predecessor Tunde Aluko to become the Vice President of the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS) (1965/66) over the SU President's choice then. Tunde Aluko won the overwhelming majority of the votes.

1966 -Afolabi Babalola [another 200 level student of the Department of Economics became the Zik Hall Chairman]. Although not as tough as his predecessors, he was locked between the choice of radicalism and resignation. Zikites were hell bent on removing the the management of the Hall. Afolabi Francis Babalola would later write about the incidence with regrets. Commenting about the protests he said;

"The excellent record I was setting as the hall Chairman was regrettably marred by the demonstration of 1966. It coincided with the the first Nigeria coup (of January 15 1966)."

Not sure of what was rocking the University, the outside world maintained contact with the Hall Chairman. During this same period, the Hall's football team would be the center of attraction to even the Vice Chancellor Professor Kenneth Dike who was always present in all football matches involving the Hall in a bid to build relationship with them.

THEN 1967 - 1990

There were successive political engagements between the Zik Hall Chairmen and SU Presidents over this long period of time. For example in 1985(?) the Police Station at Abadina was burnt by angry students under the supervision of the Zik Hall Chairman who defied the SU President and went ahead with the burning. Records has it that the Abadina Police Station was notorious for harassing students on campus. After waiting for the response of the SU President, the students became impatient and looked up to a more serious response from de facto SU leader. The Zik Hall Chairman, being an extremely radical human being, mobilized students for a Congress. He then asked a former SU President (Bola Longe) for direction. Probably the Chaiman had misinterpreted the response of the former Union leader, he lead thousands of students to Abadina and the Police Station disappeared.

In March 1990, when Queen Elizabeth II Hall was on fire, the Zik Hall Chairman was one of the first set of people to reach the scene along a few members of the Hall. Others joined. Quickly responding to the disaster, lives and properties that worth millions were salvaged. The fire was effectively put out without water. The fire incidence lead to the demolition of "Hollywood" -the wooden blocks in Zik Hall to avert the re-occurrence of such. If you visit the Hall you will still find the concrete foundations upon which the wooden blocks were built.

2008 - Amuda Mosigbodi-Plato Bamidele aka Plato [a 300 level student of the Department of Philosophy was the Zik Hall Chairman]. Plato was usually the first to get to the scene of incidence in the University. He would intervene even in Idia or Queens. At a programme in OAU Ife, he was mistakenly (or deliberately) introduced as the University of Ibadan Students' Union President when there was no Students' Union in the University.

2015 - Oluwafemi Okunola aka Flamez [a 500 level student of the Faculty of Technology was Hall Chairman]. The role of the Zik Hall Chairman in the Alaran Mayowa protests was too legendary compared to the SU President's. The elders who were around will tell you more about the whole affair. Oluwafemi Flamez DGreat

2016 - Olurombi Oloruntobi Adefolami [a 400 student level of the Political Science Department is currently serving as Hall Chairman]. Not sure of what else to blaim the Free Mote campaign on, a member of the administrative cadre of the University is reported to have ERRORNOUSLY said;

 "This whole problem was caused by the battle for superiority between the Zik Hall Chairman and the SU President"

THE POINT OF VIEW UPON WHICH MY ASSERTION WAS BASED.

I have always been of the opinion that no Hall is greater than the other save the peculiarities inherent in each of them. In terms of activism, Alabi Yusuf Teejay (a Bellite) would say exactly the same thing Ojo Aderemi would that in Zik Hall, Aluta is our calling.

The former national President of the National Industrial Court Chief Nnaemazie Malo said;

"Originally accommodated in Sultan Bello Hall, I had to decamp to Zik Hall... I shared preference for Zik Hall for its SHEER ACTIVISM".

With the way our new residents are orientated along ideological lines, generations of political activists will be born and reborn. A residential community with about 2000 activists as residents, thinking along the same line [and a leader that knows what he is doing at the head of this band]...-an equivalent of a student union is standing already.

When it comes to political activism, Zik Hall stands out just the way Tedder Hall stands out for debating and other literary activities which has now generated international recognition (in reference to the Cambridge vs Lord Tedder Hall). Mellanby is known for journalism, Bello Hall is known for its British style of politics, architectural design and other things. Great Independence Hall with usual nationalist inclination. Queen Idia Hall is historically known for producing more stubborn female activists than any other female Hall on the continent...and so on. My assertion was not to establish the superiority of the Hall it was just a deliberate attempt to create a kind of controversy that our Union page is meant for. The tradition might have declined, it will definitely come back to its feet. It is always like that.

MEANWHILE,

Although a good thought to possess, it has never been -in practice or in theory- a thing of interest for me to be Zik Hall Chairman. No. Not when there is something like #OJO_ADEREMI_UISU_17 flying all over the place.

I have sent a request to the custodians of the archival materials of the Great Independence Hall for permission to access the archives of the Hall so that another intellecual content will be pieced together for possible publishing. If it works, same would eventually be done in other halls of residence too -as time permits.

References
> Archival Materials from the Secretariat of Nnamdi Azikiwe Hall.
> Archival Materials from the office of the Students' Union PRO.
> Lekan Akinosho (1998) Nnamdi Azikiwe Hall:A Tradition of Excellence. World Progress Communication, Ikeja.Lagos.

Ojo Aderemi,
Ibadan, Nigeria.

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