Forget the attempts by some students to defame; University of Lagos is indisputably school of first choice and nation’s pride
It is ideal to bask in the euphoria of having one’s education in the first Nigerian University established by the Act of Parliament but time and again when the institution make bold its superiority in admissions, endowment funds, and the excellent way its students go out to add values to the larger society, reality can creep in.
The “first choice” accolade alluded is not just another empty nomenclature christened to make students’ heads swell when resonated, but rather its knack for being first among contemporaries in innovation, reaching new frontiers and competing with world leading universities as pronounced in its mission and vision statements. It would be recalled that the University became the first In Nigeria to erect an edifice worthy of a proper Senate building. History also recorded it as the first to establish a university radio and television station in 2004 and 2012 respectively. How can we forget the quick revolution in its method of instruction as it metamorphosed from chalk-blackboard to white marker board, screen projector and now online modules while its counterparts elsewhere still languish in the stone age blackboard.
Its offspring might also be proud but their pride transcends the “first” achievements. They pride in its legacies and legendary status. They pride in the many privileges its establishment has brought them. They pride in having fellow alumnus direct state of affairs in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Anambra and Gombe. They pride in having Nigeria’s vice president, Oby Ezekwesili, Tunde Bakare, Enoch Adeboye, Funke Akindele, Dapo Banjo, Genevieve Nnaji, Richard Mofe Damijo and others present in their Alumni reunion. It was this pride that empowered them, in the wake of June 12, 2012 when former President Goodluck Jonathan rechristened the institution after MKO Abiola, made them rose and told themselves; “today we fight”. The whole world saw how they, with pride, fought independently, won collectively and victoriously ended the battle to secure for future generations the greatest “brand” since Nigeria’s independence.
The brand, not wanting to be outdone, provided its students with more than twenty hours of electricity, portable water and durable shelter albeit the epileptic supply characteristic of examination period which can only be metaphysically explained, until the economic recession of 2016 swept across the nation.
How then can the ULSU president who was a class representative for three good years and had seen Unilag’s highly highs, benefitted from a democratic election to the topmost echelon of student leadership, saddled with the responsibility of catering for the welfare of over 30,000 students and bringing glory, honour and prestige to the university, resolved otherwise to bring shame and dishonour to the name he swore to protect?.
Or how reasonable is the 2016 Speaker, a vibrant ULSU clerk(2015), who was part and had seen how the Martins Abiodun and Segun Jawosimi led administration carefully fought for students’ interest, renege on such approach aimed at masterminding an uninterrupted academic calender. To have seen the same person shared, to the faculty of Education students through whatsapp, a post by the 2015 Union which reads in part, *”” This is not to say we are cowards, but we have seen things from a better focus of view and we do not want to put the cart(consultation and consolidation) before the horse (confrontation). It is only an insane, that will keep doing the same thing the same way and expect a different result. What led to our proscription should not be the best precedence and we shall continue to see and act things out differently until the dreams of the ULSU we and our seniors fought for its reinstatement is actualized””*, and later do otherwise in 2016, after he had become the ULSU Speaker, is baffling and saddening.
So, regardless of the “anti students” tag ULSU leadership of 2016 might have labelled the University’s management; it is evident that such was misguided and disoriented. The Vice Chancellor’s efforts, against advice from veterans, in the resuscitation of the Union since 2013 will not go unnoticed. Is it the Friday’s ritual of rounding off “town hall meetings”, organized to look into the coming back of ULSU, and chaired by the VC himself quickly so as not to go late for prayers in the Mosque or the brilliant way the student Affairs managers – Professor Almond and his Successor-Professor Babawale organised and monitored students concerned activities on campus? Should we overlook the brilliant way the proposed *world class Students Centre* was infused into the University’s twenty five (25) years plan or the numerous ways management supported ULSU after reinstatement? Which of these show their “anti-student” leanings?
However, like every other youth, they have their flaws, imperfections and exuberance. It is obvious from their calm, mature, and coordinated approach of 31st August, 2016 that they’ve learnt their lessons, turned a new leaf and ready to go about their academic activities peacefully and with obedience to the University’s rules and regulations.
Appeal is therefore made to Professor Rahman Ade Bello to not renege on his desire to build “complete students” and temper justice with mercy. The destinies of the four ULSU Executives and others lie with him and as a father that he is, he will help mould it well.
And if the gods and goddesses of universe do the right thing, Professor Babawale–a former student leader, Professor Oyebode–a leader per excellence, Professor Abass–an elder stateman, youthful, progressive and past Union leaders who are now lecturers in Unilag will come together and lend their voices in support of the suspended students, and the reinstatement of the UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS STUDENT’S UNION(ULSU) and a new landmark will be achieved.
The Labour of our past leaders shall never, ever be in vain…
Long live ULSU
Long live UNILAG
Long live NIGERIA