Like most students, I have always admired you. From the very first day I saw and heard you speak, I have since then even until now reserved for you good judgements contrary to the very bad ones spreading like wildfire. As much as I would have loved to sound obscene in this piece of mine, I choose to maintain some decorum instead, as this is very much required at this point in time. Cutting all craps and going straight to the point, avoiding every form of side attractions and putting on hold every form of sentiments I might have had and may still have for you, I consider it sad, absurd and utterly inadequate the reasons you gave as regard the outrageous and unfair increment in the school fees, save some few.
Just to let you know sir, I am writing this letter based on what is known, obvious and crystal clear from reliable and confirmed sources – such as the press, distinguished members of the student’s union and their likes. I have been disappointed so far on how you have not been able to sustain at least a particular reason for your action. The reasons so far have become chameleonic in nature, changing with seasons and interviews that suites its purpose. First it was that our fees are ridiculous because of how cheap they were, then onto the university being underfunded; the most recent reason, the one blaming the increment on the high inflation rate didn’t even make any attempt to drive the nail in. Please sir, kindly make up your mind and carry us along with the real motive(s) behind the sudden increment in the school fees. The next set of reason(s) I await, as I am sure can be reasoned out if weighed properly.
I am not against an increment in school fees, as long as it is proper, rational and realistic. The absurdness and percentage of the increase is nothing to write home about. The heat of whatever the management is facing should not and cannot be taken out on innocent students who fought their way through the tough admission process. That is why it is called a federal university dutifully under a federal ministry of education. I believe strongly that anything whatsoever pertaining to the running and management of the university should be taken out on the ministry, not on the students who can barely afford a credible accommodation, one of human basic needs, in an academic year.
I plead that you listen to the likes of Senator Omisore, The Ooni of Ife and other influential personnel, who have strongly condemned and advice against this increment. The poor deserves quality education too. With this unjust increment in school fees, you’ll only add to the number of dropouts some of whom are trying to fight their way back into the higher institution. Education is for the masses and the unfair decision you spearheaded and suddenly made known to us few weeks to the start of a new session must not deprive those who are ready to get educated the chance to.
The students are not ready to back down from the current struggle. Those who can afford it and those who can’t – we are all in this together. It is important you realize that not all student have Samsung galaxy tabs like you said, those fancy cars you see on campus are few in number compared to the population of the students. We cannot because of the luxury of a few conclude or make decisions that affects the generality of the population, most of whom who live from “hand to mouth.” Everything just seems wrong and awkward– the fees, the timing, the reasons and so on. Need I remind you, the LASU struggle is still on and getting out of hand – I don’t pray same in our case!
Therefore, I beseech you sir to restructure, re-plan, re-strategize and reorganize whatever it is you can lay hands on to ensure a fair and just academic year. If the fees were this high during your undergraduate days, Nigeria will not be where it is today as many prospects will be on the street jobless now. Most of our Great Ife alumni, who indeed have the ability to head a family and run a home, have the affordability and professionalism of the university to thank. Great Ife is indeed great; a lot of things contribute to this greatness, the most spectacular being that the child of a common man can get the same or even better education the rich claims to be chasing as a result of them looking down on us. Please maintain our greatness and don’t take OAU away from us. Great Ife lives on!
Yemi Olutoye (@YemiOlutoye) on Twitter.