Ojo Aderemi, the last known President of the Students Union Government (SUG) of the University of Ibadan (UI), has been rusticated for four semesters by the management of the institution.
The decision was sealed at Wednesday’s sitting of the Student Disciplinary Committee (SDC), where the letters were handed over to him.
SaharaReporters understands that Ojo, a 300L student of the Department of History, Faculty of Arts, was accussed of conducting an illegal congress of the union, leading a protest and breaking the glass of an office while a lecturer was inside — allegations that were denied by Ojo.
When SaharaReporters sought Ojo’s comments, he said: “The allegations were that I conducted an illegal congress, that we protested and that I said the VC victimized some students who were suspended during my inauguration speech. Those were the allegations. And also they said during the protest that a glass got broken and a lecturer was inside the office when the glass was broken and he was traumatised; well, that's unconnected with the protest.
“I've said that before and there was really no objection that was raised that the congress was not illegal. We wrote the Students Representative Council (SRC), it went through the process. So I really don’t know...”
SaharaReporters contacted Mr. Olatunji Oladejo, the university’s Director of Public Communication for comments, but he said he had been indisposed for a while. Therefore, he referred our correspondent to Professor Titilayo Ajuwape, the Dean of Student Affairs (DSA).
Ajuwape did not answer calls to his two telephone numbers. When he eventually replied a text message to one of those numbers, all he did was direct us to the same Public Relations Officer who referred us to him.
However, speaking with SaharaReporters, another professor at the university, who asked not to be named, expressed surprise that at the SDC sitting of Wednesday, the VC was still “visibly angry” even though the protest happened two years ago.
“The VC was visibly angry when Ojo’s matter came up on Wednesday. I mean, this was a case that had been on for almost two years now. Then he was still very angry, literally shaking. And I was just wondering, ‘is this matter bigger than this’?
“I can tell you that VC actually wanted to expel OJo; and he would have, were it not for the appeal of council members.”
Ojo was elected President of UI's SUG on April 29, 2017, and was sworn in on May 8. The protest happened on May 29 and the union was suspended on May 30, meaning he only lasted three weeks and a day in office.
The University of Ibadan as a track record of stifling student voices. Notably, there hasn’t been a union since the body was suspended in 2017.
The union led by Ojo itself was only approximately five years old, as it was suspended from the early 2000s till 2010 when Professor Isaac Adewole emerged VC (though a President didn’t emerge until 2012), meaning some generations of students passed through the university without enjoying that particular freedom of association.
In 2018, the university rusticated Kunle Adebajo, one of the most brilliant student journalists ever to have emerged from the school, for two semesters. Adebajo’s offence was a harmless and indeed factual criticism of the university’s practice of painting halls of residence under the guise of renovation, without an upgrade in quality that is commensurate with the declared millions of naira in costs.
Adebajo’s rustication was roundly condemned by numerous alumni and alumnae of the institution.