I was just admitted into the school of first choice and nation’s pride, so excited that I can finally be free and express my SELF.
As a young lad, I wanted to roll with the big boys of the school, wanted to make an impact and to make my mark in the university.
Curiously, I asked a senior coursemate, who is the Student Union president, I wanted to build a relationship then he looked at me, laughed then looked at me again and said we don’t have one.
Just like me, a lot of us might wonder why don’t we have a student union government in Unilag again?
What happened, why is that?
At least, as the university of first choice and nation’s pride, we expect some functioning politics.
(This event happened like two years before I even dreamed of choosing Unilag, so most of my information will come from testimonials of people and also information that the press carried.)
When I made inquiries about this, I thought it was the incident that happened in 2005,
“There was a violent protest in the University of Lagos (UNILAG) yesterday, following the death of a student after an earlier demonstration Monday to protest the alleged plan by the school authorities to privatize hostel accommodation.
The students thereafter burnt down the vice chancellor’s lodge and the residence of the Dean of Students Affairs, Professor Dele Oluwakudejo.”
This day newspaper carried this on the 20th of January 2005 but it wasn’t the reason.
Back in 2016, the Student union was proscribed. It’s a story, kindly follow it carefully.
April 6th, 2016, there was a blackout and water scarcity in the school hostels and a lot of students didn’t like this at all.
The next thing was they protested against it and clamoured that the then vice-chancellor Prof. Bello Rahamon address the issues.
But he didn’t and even said that it’s was his greatest regret in the school during his handover speech in 2019.
He said challenges he faced during his five years of administration included a lack of funds to pay salary, providing adequate water for students and staff, electricity, and infrastructure noting ‘’once these facilities are not in place, the Banana peel can roll one over to stumble’’.
‘’My greatest regret was the April 2016 students’ violent protest. The problem was that we did not realize we had professional students who move from one institution to another for elective posts. We realized this during investigations into the students’ violent protests.
We are working to correct what happened in 2016, the VC stated. the major reason why the criteria for running for any post in the university is that you must never have attended any other institution before joining the University” the VC stated.
Back to the story, the protest started on Wednesday, April 6. vehicles of the Lagos rapid response team came into the school and came in to arrest the SU president named Mohammed Olaniyan who was released a few hours later because the students felt it was unfair how the arrest was made since the protest was peaceful.
A directive came from the school that every student should vacate the school before 10 am Friday, December 8, 2016, but students disregarded the memo and went ahead to block major roads leading to the university thus preventing students from exiting the university and also the student union locked halls of residence as well.
On Thursday the following day, police on-campus sent students home and there was rustication of 11 executive members of the school’s Students’ Union Government (SUG), including its president, Muhammed Olaniyan, over the April 2016 protest.
The affected students were rusticated for between two and four semesters, and it takes effect from the second semester of the 2015/2016 academic session.
After the authorities unlawfully suspended the Union, they hurriedly published a document that all students are peremptorily asked to sign. The document reads in part as follows:
a. The University of Lagos Student Union (ULSU) Constitution should be suspended until further notice.
b. The ULSU Executive and the Student Legislative Council should be dissolved forthwith.
They were a lot of critics concerning the suspension of the union then, that since this is a learning environment that builds tomorrow’s leaders, we should work on democracy freedom of expression.
Ever since the full effect of DSA (Deen of student affairs) came in with full force, and students leadership was decentralized into faculties and departmental levels.
Should the Unilag Student Union Government be reinstated?