The Students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, have expressed anger over the invitation of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the forthcoming 43rd combined convocation of the varsity holding next week.
In accordance to a statement made by Gbenga Ololoniran, the Protem Chairman of Great Ife Students’ Union Action Committee, it is condemnable to invite Prof. Osinbajo to a university that is a victim of government’s negligence of the education sector.
“To invite such a dignitary who’s behind the underfunding to be appraised among students is a mockery on students and education,” the student activist stated.
He neglect of the education sector and schooling system by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has “led to an increase in fees in several institutions and made it impossible for the children of average Nigerians to access qualitative education.” Mr Ololoniran said.
“At this period where the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are on strike across varsities in the federation, including OAU, over the rotten state of university education, it is still a shock to us that the only solution the government could come up with is for tertiary students to begin to pay N700,000 as tuition fee per session.
“We, therefore, see the presence of someone who’s against the student figure in an academic arena to be a guest speaker, as a rape of our collective intelligence in a university where students’ academic activities are currently battered by the nationwide industrial action of ASUU.
“We make bold to assert that Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is not welcome on OAU campus.”
To ward off the gate of the university “being shut against the vice president”, the students’ leader said the government must “initiate adequate funding of education by putting at least 26 per cent of the country’s budget as against the meagre seven per cent to the educational sector.”
He also demanded the FG “immediately succumb to the demands of ASUU on university education and earned workers allowance and immediately lift workers’ wage beyond N30,000 minimum wage to relieve the striking poverty level in the country.”
Abiodun Olarenwaju who’s the spokesperson of the university reacted to the statement made by Mr Ololoniran, said the student activist was only expressing “a Personal opinion”
“In fact, the OAU Community, most especially the students, are patiently waiting for a day when either President Muhammadu Buhari or Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, or both of them, will come to OAU on a visit,” Mr Olanrewaju said in a statement.
“The community is ready to give a warm welcome to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria and renowned Professor of law whose brilliant performance in the present administration has done the academic community proud.”
He advised the general public to “disregard in its entirety the release by anybody which runs contrary to the motto of the university: For Learning and Culture.”
Mr. Olanrewaju further stated: “The University, as approved by its Senate, has decided to award an Honorary Degree to a very distinguished Nigerian academic and radical intellectual activist, Professor Biodun Jeyifo, English Professor Emeritus at Cornell University and, currently, Professor of African and African and American Studies and of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, in the United States of America (USA) during its 43rd combined convocations.”
Some students, however, feel differently about Mr Olarenwaju’s statement, and accused him of “fallacy” in stating that the students were “patiently waiting for the day either President Muhammadu Buhari or Mr Osinbajo will come to OAU on a visit.”
“No student in his/her right mind is willing to welcome the vice president or the president himself to an institution that is n properly funded. The ASUU strike is on for a month now and the government pretended to be deaf,” a student who simply identified himself as Muneer said.
“Mr Olanrewaju should speak for his paymaster, which is the university and not for the generality of students.”