Over the years, students’ unions are run by the students and the major purpose of the student union is to represent the interests of fellow students. They support the students, provide them with facilities, render services as well as regulate malfunctions. The purpose of this organization is to represent students both within the institution and externally, including local and national issues.
In January 1971, the students of Nnamdi Azikwe Hall, University of Ibadan complained against the manageress of the cafeteria whom they accused of corruption, inefficiency, poor productivity and poor public relations. A petition to her removal was sent to the Vice Chancellor. However, when the University management was reluctant to remove based on allegations.
At the end of a week of deliberations which was started by the residents of Nnamdi Azikwe Hall and later joined by other students, the crisis escalated at the height of which the then Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adeoye Lambo invited the police to the campus which led to a clash between the police and the students.
According to an article “Kunle Adepeju; A Hero From The Green’ by Ojo Aderemi, the policemen shot at the students during which a student was shot in the leg. Kunle Adepeju, a student in the Faculty of Agriculture was trying to help the wounded colleague when he was hit in the head by a stray bullet.
History has made it known to us, what students’ union was using the 1971 scenario at the University of Ibadan featuring Kunle Adepeju, the first Nigerian student matyr and Prof. Adeoye Lambo, the then VC. It should be made known to all that students’ unionism is not a death registration neither is the organisation a deadly one. The essence of the above scenario is just to lay emphasis on the affairs of the SU in the past. It’s therefore learnt from the story above that it is the main function of the student union to address every issue pertaining to the students.
Pressing a fast forward button on the issue of students’ unionism in Ibadan to 2017, after the congress made by the Ojo Aderemi led Administration that no examination would be conducted if the management fails to issue to the students, their Identity Card. This congress was made due to the complaints of students about them not being able to claim scholarships because of the so called Identity Card.
In 2017, people spoke through their votes for a man whose tenure lasted for less than one month. The election of Ojo and other aspirants was a foreshadow of Oyo’s Makinde and Adelabu whereby the elected candidate won with massive votes. The electorates votes made it known that Ojo was the perfect man for the job. However, the Ojo-led administration brought about the suspension of student union on UI campus due to a protest which was held mainly because of the delay in distributing students’ ID cards.
After the red ribbon has been plastered on the shoulders of student union on campus, we are in a bus which has neither driver nor conductor and we are passengers whose destination couldn’t be reached. 2018 turned out a dark period for the generality of students. We had an increase in our accommodation fee, from #14, 000 – #30, 000 and the medical students at the University College Hospital (UCH), Alexander Brown Hall were to pay a total sum of #40,000. However, this increment was not only limited to accommodation alone but to tuition fee also. The school management called a PTA meeting to analyse the reasons for the increment. During this period of digression which should have brought a hot and selling drama between the students and the management, behold, we had decorum, our mouths were silenced like the graveyard.
In 2019, we danced to a rhythm of another new innovation that the management soloed to our hearing ‘technology fee’ which was said to be #6, 500. We maintained our former way of silence while we had a dialogue with our pockets. Before the commencement of 2018/2019 First semester exams, our lanterns of hope were rekindled as we had our SU back. The election was concluded to hold some weeks to the exams but was later postponed while the management set some criteria which relegated most aspirants out of the league.
The presidential election came in form of an El – Classico between the two giant neighbourhood ‘Nnamdi Azikwe Hall’ and ‘The Great Independence Hall’. Zik’s Akeju defeated Indy’s Hessy. On the 17th of December, the members of the executive council were inaugurated. The Integration team, the work has started. Will students’ union go back to what it used to be or otherwise? Are we going to experience a crude student unionism or refined? The passengers are here again watching where our bus is heading to in the next couple of months.