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Sunday, 18 September 2016

EFIWE INTERVIEW: I Was Prepared For My Rustication - Olorunfemi Adeyeye, 400 Level UNILAG Student



A 400-level student of the University of
Lagos, Olorunfemi Adeyeye, talks about the
Facebook post that led to his rustication
with GBENGA ADENIJI

Were you part of the University of Lagos
Students’ Union executives recently
suspended by the school management for their roles in a protest in the university?

No, I am neither a member of the University of Lagos Students’ Union nor a member of the Students’ Representatives Council. I am only a concerned student. I also made it known to members of a panel inaugurated by the university management when I was invited that I was not a member of ULSU or SRC but only a concerned student.

What department and level are you?

I am a 400 level student of the Faculty of
Environmental Sciences, Department of
Building
.

Your Facebo
ok post titled, ‘The Senate of
UNILAG: A conglomeration of academic
ignorami was believed to have earned you rustication for four semesters;
approximately two academic sessions. Did you bargain for what happened after the post?

I was prepared for it. The whole thing
started after the resolution of the Senate of
the University of Lagos. Some of us saw
this coming. The resolution was anti-
student. You do not make a resolution
without the consent of the people it will
affect.

The resolution of the Senate came after the
peaceful protests we had on campus on
April 6, 7 and 8, 2016. On April 6, it was the
union executives who went to the office of
the Division of Students’ Affairs to ask that
the students should be addressed. 

But no one came to talk to them. On the second day, it was agreed by the student leaders, the faculty and hall executives that a protest be staged. The protest was about
poor welfare. 

At the time, there was a fuel scarcity in the country and the union executives were using the union’s bus to convey students from Yaba to Akoka. This happened for weeks. The protest was peaceful. I think the problem was ego. 

No member of the management came to address the students for two days.
On the third day, it was a siren of police
cars and an armoured personnel carrier that
woke us at 6am. 

We were also sent text messages to vacate the halls of residence by 10am as academic activities had been suspended. The student leaders saw the directive as draconian. We all insisted that we would not leave the campus. 

A student mounted the armoured personnel carrier playfully and the police officer in it drove head on until it hit the school gate and its roof opened. The student was not injured
and after sometime, we decided to go
home. 

We were at home for three weeks. Later, the management asked us to resume for examination and that there would be
rationing of electricity from 7am to 7pm. All
students were also told to sign an
indemnity form with our parents and take
an oath before we could be reabsorbed into
the university. 

The union and its constitution were also suspended. This is a union that was just reinstated after 10 years of proscription. I saw all these as failure on the part of the Senate and an attempt to curb and crush the union. All these made me to pick my pen and write about the Senate of the University of Lagos. I later posted it on my Facebook page
.
In the post, you specifically mentioned
some lecturers and the vice-chancellor of
the institution who you accused of certain failings in the discharge of their academic and leadership duties respectively. What was your motivation?


I was not pushed by any allure of social
media. I did it because I was convinced
that there was administrative failure. I am
of the opinion that a citadel of learning
should provide solutions.

 It should be a place where policy-makers should run to for ideas and a place of solution for the society. But what we have in the university today is far from that.

What happened after the post?

We were allowed to sit for examination and
after it ended, those targeted were called to
appear before a panel one after the other. It
was done that way so that it would not
appear as ‘scapegoatism.’

 I was sent a letter to appear before a panel on allegation of social misconduct. The panel was called ‘Special Senate disciplinary panel on the recent students’ protest.’ I explained what I meant in the article to members of the panel. It was later that I got a letter
rusticating me from the university for four
semesters.

What was your first reaction when you got the letter of rustication from the
university?

I did not feel any way. I read it and saw
that I had been rusticated.

What are you doing to appeal the
management’s decision?

On ethical grounds, I would say the reversal of the rustication should be at the
discretion of the university management.
But on legal grounds, I pray that the
reversal comes soon. We are in court
already. 

The case will come up on October
10. Besides, I wrote a letter of appeal to the
pro-chancellor and chancellor of the
university. I explained all that happened.

Others executives of the union also did the
same.

Do you regret your action?

I cannot regret doing what is right. Some
people told me that it is proper to be
anonymous when posting such an article.
They also urged me to deny the post and
say that my account was hacked. 

I see that as ‘quackery of activism.’ The decay in our society has got to a level that if one is addressing issues, it is also important to face personalities. If I had been anonymous, none of the issues I addressed in the article would be taken seriously. I want them to understand that the rot in the society starts from the education sector.

Did you receive telephone calls and text
messages from friends and colleagues that you should delete it after the post
generated reactions?

Nobody did that. After the post, I sent a
friend request to the Acting Dean of the
Students’ Affairs who accepted my
request. 

He saw the post and shared it. I
later sent him a message saying, ‘thank
you for sharing the truth.’ At the panel, the
members said they got it from the DSA and
I think he showed it to them.

Did you envisage how long the battle for
your reinstatement would last?

I did not really. But I know that it is a
struggle that I am in for as long as it lasts.

Is this post about the university the first
you posted on your Facebook page?

I have not directed any post to the
university. I always write on general issues.
There was one titled, ‘What is great about
great Nigerian students?’ It was about
academic docility though I mentioned the
university there. I think this post generated
reactions because it was directed at the
university.

How are your parents reacting to the
development?

Initially, I could not tell them but when I
told my sister’s husband, they got to know.
They said I had ‘killed’ them. But now they
are calm about the whole matter.

Are they urging you to sort things out
quickly?

As good parents, they are seeking ways to
apologise to the university authorities. But
if they do that, I will be unhappy. At this
stage, the university management will use it
against me. They used the apology
tendered by one of the rusticated union
leaders against him.

 When I was leaving the panel, they said I was not remorseful and that other rusticated students had written letters of apology. But none of them was pardoned.

I know that pleading guilty in court will not
make the judge to set free the accused. If
anything, it will only make his or her
conviction easy.

I am a writer of conscience and did not
post the article because I want popularity
or anything. Even in the appeal I wrote, I
did stylistic and semantic analyses of what
I meant in the article.

 It is really appalling that in this clime we see it as disrespectful when a young person tries to plead with an adult to do some things in certain ways. It has got to a situation in Nigeria where university management sees itself as demigod. 

The philosophy now is that every protest must be met with a punishment. It is wrong.

What are you doing now pending the
resolution of the matter?

I am sensitising people on the environment.
It is about humanitarian work. I am also
starting a project on the environment as an
environmental scientist. It is not part of
what I learnt in school, it came as a result
of self-education. 

We mistake schooling for education. We go to school in order to know how to read and write. But getting education is about the norms, ethos, ethics and values that an individual is able to imbibe through schooling to develop himself first before transferring them to the society for development.

Adeyeye’s controversial Facebook post

The Senate of the University of Lagos; a
Conglomeration of Academic Ignorami
The University of Lagos prides itself as a
cosmopolitan university and over the years
has maintained the status quo of excellence
among her peers in Nigeria and the world
at large. I promise not to make this BOMB
as lengthy and circuitous as my last post
on this medium. I will also make it as lucid
as possible.

I mentioned in my last article WHAT IS
GREAT ABOUT THE GREAT NIGERIAN
STUDENTS the jejunity of the mission
statement of the UNILAG, hardly had I
finished the article when the whole
statement of mine started receiving
fulfillment.

 One would call me a prophet!.
I now see the reason for the backwardness
of my nation, we blame those at the
corridor of “power” forgetting those at the
corridor of “education;” the corridor of
“common sense.” I am a discussant of
history and it has made me realise that
from time immemorial, whenever there is
problem in the society, tertiary institutions
are places of solace, they are citadels of
solutions. Government would go to schools
to consult undergraduates, lecturers;
professors as they posed to be the
backbone of the society.

 Now, Nigeria is in shambles, the economy is crumbling, where is Dr. Nduibisi Nwokoma of the Economics department? Buhari is still waiting for your economic model computation and those
econometrics rubbish theories you teach
your students. Prof. G.L Oyekan!.., there is
infrastructural decay! Prof. Idoro Godwin,
buildings are collapsing and projects are
poorly handled! 

This is not project planning class where you come to disturb students with your unending battery of questions e.g
What is Objective?..answer – Objective is
….Question 2 – What is “is”? What a comedian!
Vice Chancellor sir, you remain a first class
Chemical engineering graduate from
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife. What
has happened to the Great Ife in you? Our
power generation is deteriorating and you
are alive.

 The nation’s investment of knowledge on you to make you a scholar is a WASTE. Your first class honours degree is
the true definition of a FIASCO.
That’s by the way, the protest that led to
Senate’s resolution to dissolve the student
union and the forceful blood covenant oath- taking was a peaceful one. One that started on a calm note with the intention to end in a day only if the DSA or VC came to talk to the students during the act. 

The egocentricity of an African man would not just allow them to come. They are PhD
holders. I call them ACADEMIC IGNORAMUSES!

The irresponsibility, insensitivity and
irresponsiveness to the welfare of the
students of the VC and his
misMANAGEMENT have shown that they
are all misfits when it comes to
parenthood.

They all stood up when the former mistake
we had as president tried to rename Unilag
to Maulag because the brand UNILAG gives
them the pride they need to sleep with any
girl-student and admission-seekers
effortlessly. 

These are the goings-on in Unilag, let the world know! The likes of Ogbinaka Karo were ready to tear down the nation if the renaming was not revoked.

Now, this is our own issue; welfarism, we
can’t find them. Are they telling me that the
name issue is greater than welfarism. Is the
aesthetics of a building more important
than the structural stability?

 If you don’t know, go ask the MD, Lekki Gardens. My secondary school teacher once told me that during his days at the University of Ibadan, they protested when the chicken on their breakfast meal was reduced to 1 instead of the usual 2. For Christ’s sake, was it this same Nigeria? We never asked for all these things Bello and his cohorts enjoyed, all we asked for was water/light and all we could get from a sensible Senate is the threat of expulsion. 

Are there no “common sense” persons in the management anymore? We mourn the late Prof. Ayodele Awojobi freshly.
I promised not to make this too lengthy but
I stand in this era for change as I don’t
want to be too much of a victim of
circumstance because I have never gained
anything from this system of education. 


I learn everything myself, just like most of
us. My lecturers are too busy to teach but
are very ready to threaten you with failure.
Where is Julius Faremi? .

I am ready not as Adekunle Gold but as an
active citizen for any step they might want
to take against me. E e ba mi ni’be.

I remain Adeyeye Olorunfemi.
#IwontSign.Download
#RescueULSU.
University of Lagos
April, 2016

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