Sunday, November 30, 2014 2:06 pm
Rahaman Abiola Toheeb
The protest of the GreatIfe students upon the visit of Mr. President to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife has been tagged political by some student political opportunists and partisans.
Some even claimed that many of the anger-whelmed students were bribed and sent on errand of political thugery by APC and some arch-foes of the presidency.
But my own conclusion when this highly misleading error of reasoning or assumption found its way into the passage of my ears is that if those students who displayed their angst against Mr. President and his political aficionados today are pro-APC, then those who are cooking up the fallacy of some students being APC’s megaphones must be Lasaruses taking crumbles of bread that are falling off the table of PDP.
By what intellectual measure, or evidential conviction can GreatIfe protest be seen as political? By students taking on the street with placard of outcry at Oduduwa hall shouting ‘ole ole’ on Fayose and the likes perhaps? By students ‘stonning’ Mr. President who didn’t not even mind truncating the lives of students through the reckless driving of his security aids, and pertubation of the peaceful atmosphere of halls of residence through the so called chopper surveillance or what? Or by students berating the delibrate paralysis of the school activities by the President and his fiendish cohort of megalomania? Or by students giving total rejection to the denial of entrance of both buses and students coming for their exams on campus?
If these are the reasons why the display of revolutionary struggle for saving the Nigerian education from the jawbone of clueless and selfish government is tagged political, then those fanning the ember of political bigotry and sentiment should be seen as traitors, proverbial sirens and echoes of intellectual idiocy.
28th November, 2014 remains one of the day when history was re-written- history of massive intolerance against oppression, history of political consciousness stirred by the need to save the fate of the nation from the present peculiar mess and political pollution, and the history of unmatched resilience exhibited by the indefatigable legion of GreatIfe.
And I am happy not only because I was part of the history-making students who collectively rejected the pomaded nuisance of Nigerian political cancerworms being served on the table of kwarshiokored and puzzled state under the auspice of Yoruba Unity Forum held at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, but also because I’m a testimony before God and man to the display of intellectual potency pragmaticality and proactiveness against what could have been an indelible indent on the face of OAU students.
Prior to the D-day, a white chopper was seen doing a security surveillance on OAU community, disturbing the academic atmosphere because Mr. President wanted to have a secret conclave with the so called Yoruba elites.
But who would have cared had it been that the already bed-ridden Nigerian educational system was not again stampeded and put at the front incisor of impotency by egocentric Mr. President, considering the fact that students are in examination period and were denied access to the campus? Who would have cared provided Mr. President, in his bid to amass ‘monarchial and elitist sympathy and endorsement’ did not fuel the anger of students who are still haunted by recent OAU school fee hike, which the presidency did respond to, even up till now? Who would have cared for their meeting of hypocrisy had it been that Mr. President and the South-West traditional rulers and elitists led to OAU campus by Ooni of Ife had not shown high level of indifference to the injurious damages done by both the hike and the two and half month strike on the GreatIfe students.
If Mr. President in his wit of genius tortoise decided to have his meeting with his loyalists on that same OAU campus where the demand of students was shadowed a few months back, then he must not expect nothing less than revolutionary outcry of the oppressed students.
Apparently, the angst of the aggrieved students is not the one that has political coloration. It was a display of resistance against the the hegemony of tyranny that has clad on the the garment of arrogance in the country. Nobody will deny the fact that education in Nigeria is nothing but a privilege not a right. This is the reason why the rate at which education in Nigeria, in this 21st century has been relegated to the fringe is very alarming and crestfallen, while the President in his arithmetic calculation of good leadership could not provide any expidient response either pragmatic or intellectual to the beastly bane of education going into muribond mute in a nation under his watch.
If Mr. President’s children and those of his political cronies and loyalists are schooling abroad, does that mean they should be lackadaisical to the provisional needs of Nigeria’s education? It should be noted that President Jonathan’s verbal response and kinetics are manifestation that he is ready to barter the rosy future of Nigerian students for his 2015 political bid. This is clearly exemplified in the abduction of Chibok school girls which, for over four months the presidency has not yet given a positive response except rehearsal of lies and hypocrisies.
Similarly, we should not forget that the Presidency is yet to fish out the masterminds of the Federal Government College massacre in February 2014, which truncated the precious lives of 60 boarding school students in Buni Yadi. The ghosts of these students are haunting the nation but the President seems to be inexplicable unconcerned about the security of Nigerian students and education in general. All what is paramount to Mr. President is how his 2015 presidential dream will come to reality, which he has been doing through unnecessary meetings with some self-centred eminent religious and political leaders like those in Oduduwa hall on OAU campus on Friday.
If Mr. President has been active vis-à-vis his constitutional duties, no student would come out with songs of protest and stones to welcome him. Mr. President coming to OAU should have been a thing of joy provided he has not set Nigeria on the lane of perenial turmoil. If the situation of the nation is very comfortable with GreatIfe students, there shouldn’t be a no need for fuss and ruse.
Friday’s game should have been a game of how-are-you students, you’re-welcome sir. President Jonathan’s arrival was a riddle. He just alighted with heavy security and went directly to venue of discussion without any address to the so called leaders of tomorrow- an epiphany that his ambition is the most important thing to him than anything else.
The insensitivity and thorough lack of conscience of the President to students and their bane is not new, as this has been displayed by him on many occassions. Or what appellation can we give to President Jonathan’s second presidential bid in Abuja a day after almost 50 students were killed and more than 80 injured in a suicide bombing in Potiskum? What name should we give to a President of a nation who was holding conclaves of personal desire in Lagos and Ife the same day three explosions rocked the Central Mosque of Kano and truncated the lives of more than two hundred worshippers? This is quiet unfortunate, one of the grievous crimes a person can ever commit against humanity!
In conclusion, the protest of GreatIfe is a need for societal wave of consciousness; a cry for common sense; a collective need to assume responsibility and battle down the beast of political ineptitude that has found its way into the political streamline of the nation. It is a need to save the fate and future of education and Nigerian students from these political jaguars who are being ridden by the infatuation of their political lust.
May God bless Nigeria, may God bless GreatIfe students, May God lead our leaders right.
*Rahaman Abiola Toheeb, the Honourable Mr. Speaker of Nasels OAU, and the President, Association of Nigerian Authors (OAU), writes from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.