10 Questions Unilag Students Union Must Answer – Open Letter To Unilag Student Union (ulsu) Executive
It gives me no pleasure to write you; worse, openly. You leave me no choice but to intervene before our little baby, ULSU, is proscribed again.
As leaders of today, forget that leaders of tomorrow rubbish, I think it's time we reflect, stop to ponder and consider our actions if our true desire is to get results, make things better, build up the society – UNILAG, and by extension the country.
Yes, the school management has not done well – especially in communication, being proactive – as some of these issues are not emergencies, alleged mis-management of resources (if you have proof, send it to EFCC), etc.
But my fight today is not with the school management, mba, I will only have a fight with you guys IF the following happens to be true.
1. Is it true that you held a mild protest on the evening of Wednesday, 6th April, the school management (VC, DVCs, DSA, HODs etc) decided to meet on Thursday morning at the Senate chambers, you mobilised and held them ransom in your protest from about 8am to 8pm even inviting a Disc Jockey and had fun in the process?
2. Before the protest, is it true that you did not make ANY attempt to have a meeting with the DSA, or DVC Management to discuss your grievances; or rather your first action was to protest? That you summoned the VC to a meeting within hours via SMS.
3. In your mobilisation for the protest, did you force non-willing students, threaten them, intimidate them, and in some cases, result to violence (breaking doors), to make them join the protest?
4. Who locked the University gate on Thursday during the protest? Was it you guys? I mean, who locked a Federal Government gate on a major Government Road which resulted in heavy traffic in the entire Yaba axis? Please, what offence did my little 5 year old cousin commit that she had to trek from UNILAG Women School to the main gate? What lesson have you taught her?
5. What was your plan if there was an emergency and a student or anybody required quick medical intervention or a fire outbreak or any emergency?
6. Is it true that on Friday, when the eviction notice had been served and some students tried to obey, you mobilised again, locked the school gate AGAIN to prevent students from leaving and still threatened them because 'you are fighting for them'?
7. Please, did you issue that statement carpeting the school management specifically saying the VC is 'Power drunk' in response to the eviction notice?
8. Is it true that when the police arrived on Friday, you threatened them, ridiculed them, incited them and though they did not react violently?
9. Is it true that you started selling sachet water on campus (from other producers) – knowing that the school has proscribed other vendors except UNILAG Water? As in, did you start your own business venture?
10. Is it true that shops, businesses and vendors within UNILAG now pay some sort of fees to you without knowledge or involvement of the school?
These 10 questions should be enough. I so wish these allegations are so untrue.
First, let me state clearly that the student union must and I repeat must expunge, delete, forget and quench any 'we are fighting the school' mentality. You should not be fighting the school authorities over any issue, rather, seeking solutions to issues, ready for dialogue with intent to also shift ground somewhere.
Let me add, if you guys have forgotten, that the union executives and whatever title/position you hold, first and foremost, you are a STUDENT, yes with some privileges not rights. These actions demean the entire intent of the fight for the resuscitation of the union.
You have very legal grievance, you deserve power in your hostels and water especially during exams, you have a right to clean rest rooms and should settle for nothing less; you have a right to show displeasure at the school management and its policies over what you have term 'insensitivity,' anyone who denies you that right is worse than a 'terrorist'.
However, you must seek to address these issues without burning the house. We must seek to know why first, by asking questions, seeking audience, meetings, dialogue and build up the relationship/system and institution.
This 'aluta' spirit is alien to UNILAG. Am suspecting that some of you guys have first degrees, or some form of education, perhaps a diploma, in some aluta-centric schools and brought the same mind-set into UNILAG.
Please, get a bath in UNILAG pool – if it still exists; or get baptised in the lagoon front – if it's still accessible; or better still, visit 'shop 10' for the UNILAG Jollof rice – if the cost of running the shop from the 'multiple fees' has not forced the shop owner to close shop!
Our 'Aluta' is different from others. We pride ourselves as a case of 'UNILAG and others,' now, we have joined the others.
Guys, let us build up and not tear down. Let us set the standard in Nigeria and return to our rightful place – Zenith, Nigerian students need leadership, UNILAG ULSU, fill that vacuum, enough of the protest at the slightest issue, let us make demands without drama. It's not about you alone, what you do, affects us too.
I look forward to the Student Union we dreamt of – respected, worthy ambassadors, erudite scholars, and powerful negotiators who are committed to the UNILAG model project.
Please, don't kill this baby.
***Oputah David is a UNILAG alumnus and writes from Lagos.