The Registrar of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Emmanuel Dada Obafemi, has revealed how the university had been able to run a stable academic calendar over the years. He made this revelation in an interview with EduCeleb.com on Thursday.
Recall that UNILORIN had been the only federal university in Nigeria that had not been joining national strikes embarked upon by both academic and non-academic staff unions of Nigerian universities, neither had its staff or students engaged in any recent action that could have led to its closure. The university is always a beneficiary of the results of the agitations that led to the national strikes.
Obafemi disclosed that “UNILORIN is running an administration that does what we should do when we should do it.” He added that that was the essence of it always benefiting from the agitations of the various national staff unions.
He reeled on the openness policy of the university’s management that ensured that all stakeholders have a say in the day-to-day running of the university’s affairs.
“There is no committee, apart from the Governing Council that students are not represented. We even allow them to attend Senate, on observer status, so that whatever decision we take, they know.
Obafemi, who doubles as the Chairman of the Association of Registrars of Nigerian Universities (ARNU), recalled that going on strike was alien in his days of studentship. Rather, what was common was students’ unrest which could lead to the closure of the university campus. He identified the university’s ability to handle students’ concerns by making them involved in all affairs as a necessary step.
“We have been able to make the students to know the futility of going on strike.”If you go on strike, you delay yourself. If you go on strike, you are wasting your own time. Why must you go on strike?”
Learning from the past
Regarding staff strike action disrupting the school’s academic calendar, Obafemi noted the ability of his institution to scale through that phase after year 2000…..
“That strike was so terrible that it almost killed the university. When we survived it, both staff and students made up their minds that except the university is closed down by the government, we will not, because of strike, close the university down.”
“It was like an agreement and the Federal Government now sees UNILORIN as doing what is right. That is even when other colleagues say UNILORIN should not get what they get, the Federal Government would say ‘UNILORIN is doing what is right. Why should it not get it'”
“As for the members of staff at the University of Ilorin, there were times when strike almost broke the university.”
Internal Crises inflicted by managements of institutions
He attributed the reason for internal crises within many of Nigeria’s ivory towers to what he called “semi-closed door policies” that institutions run and believes a change of ways may bring stability to the calendar.
“They don’t want students to know what is going on. They don’t even want members of staff to know what is going on. Because of that, the staff members tend to get agitated and go on strike,” he concluded.
The stable calendar of UNILORIN had made it the most sought after university among all candidates writing the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) conducted Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in recent years.