Sunday, 2 March 2014
Nigeria: Open Petition On Press Witch-Hunt In OAU, Ile-Ife:An Appeal For Intervention
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I, Ademiluyi Ayodele Micheal with Matriculation number,LAW/2003/024 of Obafemi Awolowo University was denied the processing of my final results for clearance and graduation through an oral and undefined instruction from the university authorities. Upon the completion of all academic requirements and without any prior criminal record, the Faculty of Law which I belong to in the university orally and informally notified me of a pending disciplinary action, which has already taken full course without the basis of such action formally explained to me.
BACKGROUND: Under these circumstances and after informal interactions with member of staff of the university and faculty in particular, the link between these travails happening to my person and the fallouts of editorial activities as the Editor-in-chief of a widely read campus newspaper, The Eagle became evident. The paper had published a cover story, “Faborode Under EFFC’s Fire”,a story on the then ensuing crises between the Prof.Micheal Faborode –led university management and the in-house local unions.The issue in question itself has been published by major newspapers in the country ,particularly Punch and The Nation among others.As the standard practice of journalism demands,the paper had sought audience with the Vice Chancellor but met brick wall.It had gone with the publication based on available facts at its disposal,which the ethics of journalism permits.We are also aware that the facts that we published may be refutable and can be readdressed by the paper.
The university authorities,without resorting to exploring all known rules of engagement with the press, as expressly provided under the University Press Council ,couched in the Act establishing the University acted through its Security Office seizing copies of the paper in circulation were confiscated and the editorial members of the paper, myself included and had the identity cards of its top editors withheld.
Drawn within this background, it is pertinent to state that I engaged in journalism practice with the intent that the diverse sections (33-42) of Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution, the corpus of Fundamental Human Rights with provisions on freedom of association, expression and assemblage and that these provisions protect such. Equally in these circumstances, the University Press Council in whose jurisdiction press matters fall is brought in for intervention by the university authorities.
Following the expiration of the four-month industrial action by the university workers’ unions last year, I took my final examinations alongside my colleagues and expected graduation and forwarding of my results to the Nigerian Law School. However, I have been denied all of this on the pretext of an undefined claim of a pending disciplinary action. With the denial, I have written the Vice –Chancellor, a Letter of Appeal with apologies to whatsoever grievance that could have resulted from the story, as we did not intend such. In spite of all these, my final results have not been released either for onward processing to the Nigerian Law School or for clearance by the University Senate.
COMPLEXITY OF THE CASE
Aside this background, what is daftly striking about my travails is the complex dimension it possesses .As I write, in spite all my formal correspondence to the university authorities, I have not received a formal clarification of the basis of the “pending disciplinary action”. Equally, I have been denied any means of expressing my case. What is gathered from further informal findings is the fact that the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Micheal Faborode has taken a personal grievance concerning the production and the palpable role played as the Editor of a Pandora-box opener of a paper. He has equally expressed this in public fora, particularly the Association of Campus Journalists (ACJ)-organized Press Chat where he stated that I have a “special case” and would need to solicit for relief by “certain persons” in the university when responding to questions from the campus pressmen.
This is closing up a case, which has never been opened! What has become the usual tradition of the university management for a period is to keep the final results of persons they have grievances with for ages. That is why this appeal is coming out again to save my academic career from the claws of the death.
In the light of the upcoming mobilization for the Nigerian Law School by September/October, I have written the management and the Faculty another Letter of Reminder for the processing of my results. Equally prior to the recently-released ICPC Report on the Industrial Crises In OAU,the new editorial board of the paper had in a way of ameoralating the complexity of the case did a retraction of the story ,which was submitted on the persons of Professor Micheal Faborode,the Vice-Chancellor and University Registrat,Mr A.O. Ogunruku,the University Registrar. This appeal is therefore coming on the need for intervention to finally resolve this cumbersome case once and for all.
On a final note ,I appeal for floods of appeal to prevail on the persons in the university management to halt the danger that my academic career is suffering from these travails and immediately process my final results for graduation and onward processing to the Nigerian Law School come next mobilization in September /October this year.I retain faith and resilience that my present travails falls to the overall agony of the working people in their perpetual struggle for emancipation from the current disorderly class arrangement .I will continue to give support to the struggles of fighting trade unions, workers, peasants, students and youth in this regard.
ADEMILUYI AYODELE MICHAEL
Send protests and appeal letters to:
*Professor Micheal Faborode (Vice-Chancellor)
*Mr A.O. Ogunruku (Registrar)
*Attorney-General of the Federation (Federal Ministry of Justice)
(call )+234- 09-5235208, 09-5237676. 09-5235194
enquiries@ fmj. gov.ng/
*Minister, Federal Ministry of Education
Cc: Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU)
Non-Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (NASU)
Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities
Democratic Socialist Movement
Campaign for Workers and Youth Alternative
Congress of Progressive Youth
Association of Campus Journalists (ACJ)
Campaign for Defence of Workers’ Rights (CDWR)
Campaign for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR)
Fred Adegoke Chambers.
Bamidele Aturu Chambers.
Jiti Ogunye Chambers.
All press outfits.