By Abd’Afeez Mojoyinola
They said they were coming, that no one could stop them, that they were freedom fighters. But action carries more weight, as anyone can boast of being a lion until they enter the animal kingdom where elephants and wolves are, and they soon realize they are lambs in lions’ appearance.
Like Sowore, one of the Nigeria Presidential candidates, won the 2019 General Election on social media, these people have become warriors on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and claimed they would lay siege on University of Ibadan as we are under a despotic and autocratic leader and thus they are coming to rescue us; that it is not Jesus or Muhammad or Orunmila who can save us but them the only saviors, the Mandelas who just wake up from their graves.
A Yoruba adage states rightly, ‘he who wants to gift a cloth must not be seen wearing a rag’. Here, the adage lays more emphasis on the messenger rather than the message and in fact, it makes us know that the message is useless if the messenger does not live by his message. Though it is as clear as crystal that we live in the prison of the school management and our mouths have experienced the accident of SDC and we have been forced into the school authorities’ ‘Intensive Care Unit’ so that we walk gently and talk less boldly, NANS is not worthy of unlocking us from the management’s prison nor are they a balm to relieve us of our limping legs.
Let me elucidate this further. Gone are those days when NANS fought for the right of the students, when students interrogated the bad policies of the government. It was NANS during Babangida’s tenure when tuition fees was hiked that fought the government vehemently, though many students were imprisoned. It was they who called for the abrogation of the Anglo-align treaty during Tafawa Balewa’s regime in the 60s. It was they, the selfless student leaders that spearheaded Ali Must Go. Student leaders then were the voice of the voiceless, they policed the government through the troubling and challenging questions they asked the government.
However, perhaps, the scrapping of History before from the school curriculum has made the current NANS lose the sense of history as to how students checkmated the excesses of the government. I hope now that History is back in the school curriculum, they would find time to go through the years of great and true activism among student leaders. For it is when they live on their principles that students will find them as an antidote for oppressors, a balm for our oozing legs.
As it is now, it will be very ridiculous to see NANS of a bunch of politicians’ stooges, staging a protest here. Are they not those who give out awards to some of our unworthy politicians? Were they not those who promised President Muhammadu Buhari vote during the just concluded 2019 Election? Were they living by their messages of releasing us from the shackles of oppressors, some of us would not have contemplated their coming to UI; after all, it’s very obvious that UI is in a State of Emergency as students now live in the graves of silence.
It is in this school that our ‘democratic’ school authorities suspended Kunle Adébàjo for writing on their cosmetic renovation of Mellanby Hall. It is here Ojo Aderemi was suspended because he led a protest and challenged the school authorities for their failure to provide ID cards to students despite paying . It is here many students were victimized because they wanted to right the wrongs in this school. So, there is no doubt that we need a messiah, but if NANS is the solution is what should give us a second thought.
As a matter of fact, many us here do not buy into their idea of staging a protest here for we find it senseless as it was the same method (that led us to some months at home and) yielded no result; and like the words of Albert Einstein often quoted, ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results’.
Even if NANS renounce this saying and say they will cry more than the bereaved, I doubt if they have the legal backings to do so as University of Ibadan has its rules and regulations that guide its affairs, and it will be an infringement upon the sovereignty of the school if they do so. May those who have ears hear.
How would it sound if a man who often wears a dirty cloth challenged his wife of not keeping the house clean? How would it sound if known armed robbers accused some policemen of collecting bribe from them? Would someone tell us the difference between APC and PDP aside the parties’ names?
Although we live in the graves of silence here and we are in the prison of the school authorities who think students are enemies of progress, NANS storming UI will still add salt to injury.
Isn’t it high time we thought of another way of challenging the authorities about their maladministration aside Aluta Continua? Isn’t it high time NANS lived by their true principles and practiced what they say? Let those who want to gift a cloth wear good clothes. Let those who preach live on what they preach. Let us stop seeing the difference between the message and the messenger.
Abd’Afeez Mojoyinola writes from Ibadan