We have received this statement on the suspension of some of the student union leaders at OAU, Ife, (Nigeria). Olowokandi Peter and Hassan Taiwo, two of the leaders of the present struggle against student fees hike have been suspended for two academic sessions. This is a clear case of victimisation of the movement and must be opposed. Messages of protest should be sent to the Vice Chancellor via firstname.lastname@example.org and the Registrar via email@example.com, with copies to Olawoyin Akinkunmi at firstname.lastname@example.org
I, Olawoyin Akinkunmi, declare that I am, an extra-year student of Management and Accounting, Faculty of Administration, OAU. That I was a member of Students’ Representative Council, SRC, in 2001/2002 session, and later served as President of the Students’ Union of OAU in 2002/2003. That I am a member of Campaign Against Commercialisation And Privatisation of Education (CACAPE), an organisation that sets out to mobilise students, workers and the masses in general within and outside the education sector for qualitative and progressive struggles against anti-poor policies of “our” governments (Federal, State and Local) on education.
That I met Olowokandi for the first time sometimes in June, 2003 during our mass and progressive protests against fees hike, bad welfare conditions among other things and the suspension of myself and three others.
That since that time, Olowokandi has remained consistent, progressive, unopportunistic and courageous, using these qualities to support every genuine student protest throughout last academic session.
That when I learnt about his intention to become the PRO of OAU Students’ Union, I first exercised doubt on his ability to perform and or consolidate on the good works done by the outgoing leadership (of ours).
That his roles in all struggles and union activities (one week lecture free, July 10th remembrance and the latest 4-month long anti-fees struggles) were impressive, progressive and convinced me beyond reasonable doubts that he will not only perform but surely consolidate on our good works.
That all these were the real reasons why he is exposed to attacks from the state and its agents, Roger-led Administration, the police, SSS, some students’ “activists”, cultists, etc.
That his suspension, together with Hassan Taiwo for two academic sessions, has nothing to do with assaults, violence, disrespect to constituted authority etc., as claimed by the V.C, and peddled by some uninformed or consciously treacherous students.
That the main reason why he was suspended was because of his principled, progressive and militant opposition to implementation of the obnoxious, extortionate and highly illegal Roger’s faculty teaching charges.
That Olowokandi, together with others in the students union leadership, led us (i.e. OAU students) in the peaceful and organised protest (which started on Thursday, August 26, 2004) against fees including rallies, picketing of payment centres, Aluta gyrations round campus, congresses, protest marches, etc., and later called off or suspended on Monday, September 13th by entire students via their congress.
That I, together with three others, Fadugba Dayo, Hassan Abass and Olugbemiga Adewale; PRO, speaker, SRC, chairman, Awo Hall of the Students’ Union respectively in 2002/2003 session, suffered same fate, but later reinstated partly via court injunction, which was obeyed mainly because of the negative consequences of Roger’s disobedience of such injunction, on his administration and the campus at large considering the militant mood of Ife students then.
That such mood has to be re-enacted on this campus once again, if we don’t want the state to get away with all its anti-student/worker/people policies, if we want our last rain semester results released, if we want better and potable water as against the coloured, bad tasting, odorous and disease-causing water being currently pumped, if we want to be relevant in pro-people struggles e.g. impending NLC protest against latest satanic increase in prices of petroleum products by federal government, if we want our conditions of learning and living to be better than those befitting to zoological animal only, as it is currently.
That realisation of these good objectives are inseparably linked with reinstatement of our (Students’ Union) leaders and those who have dared to challenge oppressive policies of the state; who are only being selectively punished for a “crime” committed by all of us (i.e. entire students).
That these leaders include Olowokandi Peter (PRO, Students’ Union), Hassan Taiwo, myself, Fadugba Dayo, Hassan Abass, Olugbemiga Adewale, Isiaka Adegbile among others facing one disciplinary panel or the other for defending our interests.
That only mass, militant and progressive, though peaceful, organised and genuine struggle can lead to immediate, full and unconditional reinstatement of these individuals. Courts can only aid it.
That if we retire back to our rooms, lecture theatres, laboratories or libraries after the payment of Roger’s teaching fees, and neglect Olowo and others who fought for us, we will be committing historical blunders, and we will not be better than traitors or cowards as Frantz Fanon described every on-looker.
That I encourage every honest Christian, Muslim, atheist, Buddhist, Hinduist, traditional African religious worshiper within and outside O.A.U, to join this progressive struggle, not by prayer alone, for immediate re-call of Olowo and others for no religion on earth supports injustice lest you become a mere hypocrite.
That history and posterity will always judge every individual and his role per time. My time shall pass, your time shall pass, but history of our time shall never pass.
That I make all these declarations in good faith and with total conviction, knowing fully well that information given is correct and true, and with readiness to defend it even in a proper court of law.
Olawoyin Akinkunmi (“Revolution”),
Ex-President, OAU Students’ Union,
Jiti Ogunye Chambers,
Gani Fawehinmi Chambers,
Chukwura Nnamami, Justice of the Federal High Court, Osogbo,