Hopes Dim For New Students To Resume At OAU | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Features, LIFE

Hopes Dim For New Students To Resume At OAU

Acting OAU VC Elujoba
Posted: Aug 27, 2016 at 7:51 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Hopes that new students offered admission during the 2016/17 session will resume at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, Osun State remain hazy as preparations are in top gear for new intakes to resume in other universities across the country.

This is because the premium university had been reeling in crisis which disrupted academic and admission programmes of the institution.
Students offered admission in the 2015 session who should have matriculated in April 2015 have been kept waiting since last year and may now be called in September 2016, creating worries as to whether the new intakes would also have their resumption differed.
On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the university was shut down following a mass protest by workers of the institution under the aegis of Non Academic Staff of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (SSANU) over non-payment of allowances and alleged imposition of a Vice-Chancellor.
The aggrieved workers had defied the ‘no work’, ‘no pay’ threat by the university’s authorities and practically brought down all operations in the institution.
The protest became aggravated when the University’s Governing Council announced Prof. Ayobami Salami as the new vice chancellor.
The workers, who claimed that the new VC’s appointment was illegal, vowed to stop him from resuming office.
The situation took a new twist when the protesting staff stormed the university with a mock coffin, baked and shared bean cake (Akara) to formally end the tenure of the Vice Chancellor, Prof ‘Tale Omole. At the university’s campus gate, a mock casket with the inscription ‘RIP Tale Omole’ was laid at scene of the protest while bean cakes were shared by staffers to mark end of Prof. Omole’s tenure.
Weeks later, the Senate of the University, having received a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari, announced that fresh students that were admitted for the 2015/2016 session, should resume for continuation of screening exercise on Wednesday, August 3 while old students resumed on Sunday, August 7, 2016.
However, before the crisis, the university had been lagging behind for almost one year which most critics have considered as a great abuse and inconsistency in management of a reputable institution of the status of the school.
With this development, the students that were admitted for the 2015/2016 session who were supposed to have resumed April 2015 would be presented for matriculation on September 1, 2016.
Going by the adjusted school’s calendar, the first semester examination which is billed to start on November 7 will be rounded off by November 25 and the students go on semester break by November 25. If there is no strike action to interrupt the calendar again, the second semester is expected to start on November 28 and the 2015/2016 session will be concluded on April 7, 2017. By interpretation, the new applicant for the 2016/2017 session will have to wait till next year before they can be dreaming of going to the university.
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the university’s Alumni Association has lauded the Federal Government for the quick resolution of the crisis that greeted the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor for the university.
Shortly after the National Executive Council  (NEC) meeting, the National President of the Alumni Association, Mr. Segun Oke has said that government’s intervention came at the appropriate time and restored sanity to the university through the appointment of Acting Vice Chancellor, in the person of Professor Anthony Elujoba.
A release by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Abiodun Olarewaju, stated that the Senate gave the go-ahead to reopen the institution during a special meeting it held to consider a proposed amendment to this session’s academic calendar.
The election of Elujoba, former Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy by the University’s Senate ended the tenure of earlier elected Vice-Chancellor in substantive capacity, Professor Ayobami Salami, who was prevented by various Unions in the University, from taking Oath of Office as Vice-Chancellor at all.
“After more than two hours of heated debate, presided over by the outgoing Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Professor Omolayo Ajayi, the over two hundred Professors who came for the meeting eventually elected Professor Elujoba with 201 votes over his compatriot, Professor Adebayo Lamikanra, who polled less than 10 votes,” said Olanrewaju.In timeless ages, there have been cases that warranted strike action in the country’s tertiary institutions which has disrupted academic calendar. Researches however showed that the recent incidents in OAU which was not orchestrated by the students but rather because of leadership tussle and thirst for power by the staff of the institution was a misnomer.
Most students that are affected in this issue are bitter about the terrain in academic politics that have indirectly mortgaged their future. Bimbola Olowu for instance was among the fresh students that had just resumed after the strike action. She said the trend at which educational policies are being managed in Nigeria, future parents should be thinking of alternatives. “I chose to read at OAU because of its fame and academic excellence. But I was so annoyed when the screening exercise was disrupted. What it means is that my colleagues that choose other institutions would have graduated and probably get job while I am still here reading for examinations. I tell you, admission here is for ‘four plus x number of years’ for a four-year-course.
Something urgent should be done on this matter.
Caleb Uduka, who was admitted for medicine was sacred of how old he would be on graduation. “I was desperate to study medicine otherwise I would have graduated by now, having passed my WASCE since 2012. That means I have many more years to spend in school because I don’t know when I am graduating except there is a change in this trend. I am already 24 years old. Somebody should be able to take responsibility on this failing system,” he said.
The institution’s university professor who does not wants his name in print said even his own son was a victim because he chose OAU for this new admission session. “I have told my wife that we have to send him for A level programme so that he would not join bad gangs during the period of waiting for resumption next year. Though the poor boy said I should use my influence to change the school to another university, I said, no. I graduated from here and I insist that all my three children will have their university education here. I know the significance of OAU standard. Though we may have our challenges like others, I can assure you that what will be will surely be. Who told you that those that are resuming ahead would have a better chance in labour market tomorrow? At the same time, there is a need for those who are agitating to occupy the position of top officials either in the school or government to focus more on what they are going to deliver when they get there, not just the title and fame,” he said.
Adetona Muyiwa, one of the fresh students of Department of Zoology said beyond sentiment, the government is not paying enough attention to school management. “To whom much is given much is expected. I think our parents should revolt against this game of chances. The school calendar has been lagging behind others for so long. When other students are going for youth service, OAU students would probably be planning to register for rain semester in the same country. Haba! Who is monitoring who in the academic circle? What happens to our future? Is somebody thinking about all these for us? We may be harmless today but we will not forget the tragedy that this generation of leaders causes to our destiny. Somebody should begin to check somebody; otherwise, there are more pathetic stories to tell in the future. Every child is a product of his parent. If you are not fair with this generation of youth, what are you expecting as dividend tomorrow?” he said.
On the weight of academic politicking in the institution, Ruth Opayinka, a final year student of Theatre Arts of the university told Independent how devastating the issue has degenerated.
“Do you know that Prof Michael Oladimeji Faborode-led administration, rather than looking into the students demands, the Vice Chancellor resorted to undemocratic act of mobile police invitation on the campus. Aside closing down the school, the VC announced the undemocratic proscription of the students’ union and as if that is not enough, he brought in mobile police to chase away traders at the popular Sport Market which eventually led to the inferno that engulfed the market where goods worth millions of naira were destroyed. It is pathetic and highly hypocritical.. This is not the first time the battle to be a university helmsman has generated furore in this country. Often it is a battle of egos, a contest of power blocks, a shadow of political contention in the larger society and, sometimes, an ethnic or religious combat.”
Before the announcement of the resumption, a number of students posted online their feelings about the OAU crisis and the strike action.
One of the students, Remi Sonaiya said: “It is no news that we have been at home for 91days now hoping to resume. We have used hashtags like #reopenoau #wewanttoresumeoau to draw the attention of the authority to the plight of the students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Truth be told, the struggle for leadership of the school should not be allowed to stop school activities and more important is the halting of future prospect of nearly 30,000 students.
“We were supposed to resume June 26th this year after spending three months at home from the second semester break. We are lagging behind enormously and this is really bad. The students of Great Ife are tired of the whole system because of the slow academic calendar especially when our friends in other schools are making progress.
“The school called an indefinite strike because of the protest led by the non academic staff of the university NASU over the appointment of the new VC Prof Salami.
“I join in the #ReopenOAU campaign. We can’t afford to take forever to resolve this crisis. Our students’ lives and their education matter.”
Edoise IreAremu, in his opinion also lamented the consequences in a twitter: “The reason for the protest is ‘the appointment of the new VC is illegal’ according to OAU NASU and they have been a serious protest over this issue for months now.The Federal government earlier this month dissolved the governing council and said the school registrar should act as Vice Chancellor pending when court treats the case of the incumbent VC Prof Salami. OAU is the best university in Nigeria, how do we retain this position with the constant strikes?”
Be that as it may, those at the helm of affairs in educational sector in Nigeria, including the governing council of Nigerian universities need to work assiduously to address the harmonisation of school’s calendar and further prevent actions that would jeopadise the future of Nigerian youth.
Join Us on Facebook for More Discussions!