Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, as well as the management of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye are facing severe criticism for announcing on Tuesday that students union activities on the campus had been banned.
The Students Union Government (SUG) “vehemently and unequivocally” rejected the proscription, saying it trampled on their right to freedom of association.
“The released news by the School Management as regards the proscription of OOU SUG is not coming as a surprise, because we saw it coming before now having informed the OOUites and the public yesterday with the plan to put in place caretaker committee that will be puppet to government,” President of the union, Ifade Olusegun and Public Relations Officer, Bamgbopa Olawale said.
“However, the Union without any reserved apology, vehemently and unequivocally reject such illegal proscription, owning to the fact that the ground given by the management is baseless, unverifiable, fallacious and inconsequential.
“Moreso, the formulation of the Students’ Union was by the entire students of OOU in respect to their right of freedom of association which is entrenched in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and so, the school singularly lacks the constitutional power to proscribe the Union.
They implored students of the school to disregard the proscription order and be patient, as the SUG would inform them of the next step. They also urged them to be rugged, calm, lawful and resolute as the quest to fight for reduction in school fees continues.
The Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) said the move was “bizarre and senseless” and assured “Amosun and his minions” that the last had not been heard of the matter.
“Today, the Acting Registrar of Olabisi Onabanjo University announced the proscription of the OOU Students Union on the university website. As bizarre as the announcement sounded, even more bizarre was the reason given for the proscription”, James Ogunjimi, CDHR Coordinator, said.
“They said the SUG was proscribed for ‘collaborating with unregistered group and external influences’. Whatever that means, it makes no sense to anybody.
“As an organisation, we see this announcement as 'the voice of Jacob but the hands of Esau'. We see this announcement as yet another anti-student move of the anti-student government of Ogun State carried out by the university management. We reiterate the fact that neither the Ogun State government nor the University management voted in these executives; the students who empowered them are still very much behind them and as such the SUG retains its power and influence.
"We are also very much aware that following the announcement of scrapping the union, they want to follow it up with an announcement of a caretaker committee led by the 'suspended' OOU SUG Welfare Director, Awobotu Charles (aka Main Man), who has been pinpointed as Government spy in our struggle thus far.
“We dare the government to make the announcement and to allow the caretaker committee to come to Ago-Iwoye. They will feel the wrath of OOU students; and if they escape lynching, they would never be able to enter Ago-Iwoye again.
“If Governor Amosun and his minions think the announcement has stopped anything, they have no idea how determined we are. It has escalated things and has only made us more determined. The fees will be reduced and implemented this session or there will be no peace. We will fight this with all the strength that we have and with the last drop of our blood.
Similarly, the Labour Party in Ogun State said the proscription was proof of Governor Amosun’s immaturity. It called on every citizen of the state to see it as a battle for everyone and support the students.
“Mere thoughts, even insinuations being baseless, could be swept under the carpets of different make-ups. With time, they may mature to real time tangible facts, such that their voices and conspicuousness cannot be shielded or covered the-more”, Adeyemi. A.Azeez, the party’s Director of Students Affairs, said.
“Yesterday's pronouncement of OOU SUG BAN by Governor Amosun-led government is another pointer to Nigerian Student's in Ogun State and the national at large, that APC-led administration in Ogun State is a structure that lacks respect and honour for the fundamental human rights of the masses.
Recall, in 2011 Governor Ibikunle Amosun in his manifesto, promised a 50% reduction in school fees of all tertiary institutions in Ogun State, people of Ogun State never knew that it was a mission to steal their mandate. If the government could not maintain STATUS QUO, the fee should not be increased unbearably.”
He noted that education in Ogun State is no longer affordable to the sons and daughters of the poor, as state-owned institutions are on clear competition with private institutions in terms of school fees.
“Labour Party in Ogun State, strongly condemns the ban of OOU SUG by Ogun State government, it is a clear mission to enslave the ever-articulate Nigerian students in Ogun State”, he added.
“We call on all well meaning and intellectual Nigerian students to see the struggle for the entire students ' populace in Nigeria. An Injury to one is an injury to all. We must fight all counterproductive policies with a view to driving this state to that point we can stand tall and be proud of.
“Therefore, arise o compatriots and let us embrace the Labour Party to fully resist the return of Amosun in 2015. Together, we can build a greater Ogun State with strongest economy in Nigeria and an enviable among the league of states in Nigeria”.