By Israel Ekene Ohia
[B]The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has called on southwest Nigeria’s Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun to address the aberration at the State-owned Olabisi Onabanjo University.
In a letter to the governor, the Group said; We would like to call your attention to the draconian and obnoxious policy of the Acting Vice Chancellor of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, Professor Saburi Adeyemi, and the attendant resistance from the students of the institution. It is to the public knowledge that on compassionate grounds the university allows flexible fee payment pattern especially for her indigent students.”
Explaining further, the group argued that the culture of flexibility in fee payment made it easy for an average student to acquire university education up till the tenure of the immediate past administration of Prof Aare Wale Olaitan in the institution.
“Students were allowed to pay school fees and do other necessary registration after one academic session. Such were only charged with penalty fee for late registration, which is advantageous to indigent students and even their parents, who had ample time to plan and gradually save towards it, considering the economy hardship and the exorbitant fees paid by the students,” the letter said.
“However, the current Acting Vice Chancellor, even without adequate notice that the policy that encouraged installment and suspended payments would be abolished, decided that students that are yet to pay school fees will repeat the class of last payment. This means a part-four student who has only paid since part one would be returned to part-two and so on.”
According to CACOL, whereas this strange policy will affect about 5,000 students at various levels, nobody seems to consider its implication on the poor students in particular and the society in general. The group alleged that both the Students Union Government and the entire students of OOU had pleaded with the Prof Saburi-led administration to open the school portal to those affected to pay their school fees, including the arrears, and complete their registration exercise for the new session, all to no avail. It then questioned the school administration, asking to know what benefit the school would derive from failing 5,000 students.
In addition, CACOL in its letter, demands, “That Your Excellency should ensure that all the students admitted under the installment policy should be allowed to graduate under the same policy. That the policemen drafted to curb the peaceful protest should be withdrawn immediately as there is no cause for it. Otherwise, they should stay at a safe distance to the students”
Moreover, it also said that the new policy should be abolished as the installment policy is more appropriate in a country like ours where most citizens are living below the poverty line. “This is the only way to put university education within the reach of the poor and the disadvantaged Nigerians; Sir, we feel it is illogical and inhuman on the part of Prof Saburi Adeyemi and his administration to draw such inconsiderate conclusion and stay by it, considering the situation of the country where many parents are merely eking a living under precarious conditions. Such policy is not only retrogressive, but diminishes human capital development and has the propensity to engender anarchy. CACOL therefore urges you, to as a matter of urgency; put an end to this aberration being perpetrated by Prof Saburi Adeyemi, as it is capable of truncating the education of the affected students,” the letter added.