The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL strongly lends it voice in support of the ongoing struggle of Nigerian students against the clampdown on independent unionism in Nigeria’s Ivory Towers. We view the clampdown as illogical and unnecessary; from University of Lagos to University of Port Harcourt, from Yaba Polytechnic to University of Ibadan to Obafemi Awolowo University etc. the stories are indeed confounding, worrisome and must be handled in a manner that is serious and reasonable.
In its apparent failure to learn from the history of its clampdown on legitimate agitations of students organized in their Unions and the attendant negative outcome, the Nigerian state and school managements appear to be returning to the draconian era of banning student unionism in the Ivory Towers.
Mr. Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of CACOL went back in history in his reaction to recent developments said that “since the late seventies, the disdain of the State and Management of the institutions have always reflected in their responses to legitimate agitations of students for better learning and teaching environment; from the famous ‘Ali Mungo’ story to the ban imposed on National Union of Nigerian Students which led to the birth of National Association of Nigerian Students.”
“The assaults on student unionism have been consistent on all our campuses; massacres, victimizations, dehumanization, undeserved rustications and expulsions etc. characterize the story of how the state and management of our institutions have responded to legitimate agitation of students.” He added.
“This is why the returning scenario as being witnessed in the University of Lagos presently and other tertiary institutions becomes worrisome. It is this kind of attitude on the part of government and school managements that led to the birth of cultism on our campuses. When the avenue of expressing legitimate dissent to the perpetual insensibility to situation of students by most regimes and school managements was blocked, the students’ agitation of course found expression other means and sadly for us as a Nation, cultism was and is still one of the other means.” CACOL’s Chairman noted.
The rigors, financially and psychologically that parents and wards incur to get access to education; from the unnecessary pains of obtaining admission even when over-qualified to different amorphous examination processes under different names and a host of abuses that Nigerian students that pass through in recent times are better imagined than experienced. There is a clear and present, danger which must be addressed decisively!
It is against the foregoing that CACOL stands in solidarity with the present raging struggle to call the State and Managements of University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, University of Port Harcourt, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and others to reasoning on the assaults on the inalienable rights to independent unionism and fundamental rights to associate and assemble.
We insist that the remote cause/s of students’ agitation/s should consistently be interrogated and handled from such perspective in resolving conflicts or clash of interests whenever they arise. This is what is expected of school managements that are supposed to be academic in approach and government that is supposed to democratic in culture.
We are saying a resounding NO to repression, it is corruption!
Media Coordinator, CACOL
May 4, 2016.
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