The Students’ Union Action Committee of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) has said Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo should not bother to honour the invitation to attend a programme at the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, scheduled for Saturday.
A statement issued by Gbenga Von, Pro tem Chairman of the Students’ Union Action Committee on Friday, noted that the invitation by the department was “condemnable” as Osinbajo is a “prime figure behind the underfunding of education”.
According to Von, the presence of an “anti-student” figure like Osinbajo in an academic arena is a “rape of our collective intelligence in a university where students activities are currently battered by the nationwide industrial action of ASUU”.
The statement read: “The attention of the student populace has been drawn to the invitation of Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to a public programme by the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, at Oduduwa Hall of the university on Saturday, 17th November by 12pm.
“Firstly, it is condemnable that the Department of Fine and Applied Arts of the university itself is a victim of the negligence of government on education by the virtue of the fact that the department, just like the faculty of Law, FNC, Nursing, Dentistry etc., lost accreditation to National University Commission (NUC) in the last conducted accreditation exercise in the university. To invite such a prime figure behind the underfunding of education to be honoured among students is a mockery of students and education itself.
“Apart from the fact that Nigeria is at a period of economic and political bondage as a result of the anti-masses policies of the Federal Government on the people as piloted by the Muhammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo-led Presidency, it is also alarming the ridiculous manner in which education has been drastically neglected leading to incessant hike in fees across several institutions that has made it difficult for average children to access qualitative education, and the struggle against these by students has led to grievous victimization of students and repressions on students’ unionism even on Obafemi Awolowo University.
“It is therefore surprising how Professor Yemi Osinbajo would be able to speak about ‘Freedom On Leash’ as the theme of the programme, when the Federal Government is at the height of the leash on mass of people. At this period where the Academic staff union of universities (ASUU) has been on strike across universities including OAU over the rotten state of university education, it is still a shock to us that the only solution provided by the government is for tertiary students to begin to pay N700,000 as tuition fee per session.
“We, therefore, see the presence of such anti-student figure of the government in an academic arena to be a guest speaker, as a rape of our collective intelligence in a university where students’ academic activities are currently battered by the nationwide industrial action of ASUU.”
Citing the conditions on which the vice-president would be welcome in the institution, the organisation said Osinbajo should firstly: “Initiate the adequate funding of education by committing at least 26% of the country’s budget as against the paltry 7% to the education sector; immediately yield to the demands of ASUU on university education and earned workers allowance; and immediately effect the lift of the workers wage beyond N30,000minimum wage to alleviate the striking poverty level in the country”.