Thursday, March 01, 2007

The OAU Standoff: Day 4

you might have heard that my school has been closed indefinitely. but since i haven't blogged in a little over a week, you never heard of it (at least from me). anyhow, from what i've pieced together, here's the story.

school traditionally has a week free of lectures and similar academic activities right before exams begin. as far as i can tell, this isn't a part of the school's constitution, merely a concession on the part of the school's senate (highest academic authority in school). however, this "privilege" (i'm assuming my information is correct) has been often abused in the sense that the SUG has turned into a right to be demanded for whenever it seems threatened. unfortunately, while the former VC, Prof. R. Makanjuola was the kind of person to allow such and still leave the week open, the current VC, Prof. M. Faborode, is not.

my story does not actually start here, but i'll pick a certain point in past history as its starting point. last session, the SUG elections held as usual, and allegedly rigged so that a certain candidate, Akinola Saburi was declared President. his legitmacy was initially questioned, but later things were laid to rest. soon after, though, the school authority declared Saburi's election was invalid, because he was on suspension by a previous administration. Saburi was later expelled by the current administration. this obviously led to a strained relationship between the authority and the SUG, to the point that i heard that concerning the current deadlock, no meetings actually held between the school and the SUG because the SUG allegedly held the stand that if Saburi was not recognised by the authorities, the other members were not going to meet with the school.

exams were to start on Monday the 26th, this was brought to an end rapidly by the SUG when they invaded exam halls and stopped exams from taking place. i'm not quite sure when the authorities hired MOPOLs exactly, but i think it was the same day. history lets us know that students and armed law enforcement are a volatile and explosive mix, one that should not be allowed occur. i have no idea what the authorities were thinking, since the MOPOLs are not examiners/invigilators. that said, the SUG had already set up blockades so that vehicles were not allowed to move freely in and out of campus; it was mostly irrelevant since the largest volume of campus traffic is public transportation. it also seems the banks on campus were "visited" by students and even the ATMs weren't working, if i remember correctly. by Tuesday, incidents involving students, stones, MOPOLs and tear gas took place. in an ironic twist, some students reading in academic areas on Tuesday night were assaulted by other students, who maintained that reading was to be restricted to halls of residence.

yesterday started with Saburi going around informing students to stay in their rooms if they were cowards, and that "traitors" would be treated like Judas Iscariot of the Bible. the MOPOLs, unlike the previous days, did not patrol campus, just stayed at the gate. i heard the SUG gave the school the ultimatum that if exams were not delayed by a week, the school should be closed. and it was. students were told to vacate the halls of residence by 6pm yesterday for their own good. what makes this situation particularly aggravating is that new graduates are in school to receive call-up letters for youth service, so this situation affects them too. so now i'm in school and thinking of what to eat, and how to start reading so i can be ready for exams whenever school opens. later, anyway!

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