The University of Ibadan (UI) Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, has given reasons for the closure of the institution. The VC, who stated that the management decided to shut down the school to protect the lives of the students, alleged that some forces on campus were using the students to disrupt the academic calendar.
The VC, who spoke with The Guardian at the weekend, accused the student leaders of being rude and “having over-bloated image of themselves.”He said: “How do you describe a situation in which a 200-level student is asking the VC to come and apologise to him? Is it morally right for a student to be describing the VC as a disgrace? I was a student in this same university about 40 years ago. I still have some of my lecturers on the payroll of the university. I dare not disrespect them. In those days, you could not even look at an assistant lecturer eye-ball to eye-ball. But today, some of our mighty students want the VC to prostrate for them,” he stressed.
Olayinka insisted that the university was not just teaching the students academic, but also training them on character before learning, saying it is “unAfrican” for young people to disrespect, ridicule and satirise the elders.
On the issue of the contentious identity card, the VC disclosed that the contract for its production that will last four to five years depending on the duration of the studies, has just been awarded, pointing out that the students were just looking for excuses to avoid writing the first semester examination.
According to him: “We suggested that they could use their library identity card, course form or clinic identity card as a means of identification to write the exams, they kept threatening that they would not write the exams unless the identity card was produced. And, I am not a magician that will produce 30, 000 cards in a day.”
Meanwhile, students have lamented the closure of the institution, describing it as undemocratic.The students, at a press conference at the weekend in Lagos led by the Students Union (SU) President, Ojo Aderemi, noted that the congress that led to the closure, which was faulted by the VC, had nothing to do with his office but bothered on both student matters and national concern.
Aderemi said: “Contrary to the widely-circulated, but falsely concocted story of the much-respected Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan that I insulted him at a congress, the only time I spoke at the said event was to deliver my speech, and no part where I either directly mentioned the VC or impliedly insulted him, his personality or his office.”
He said a congress was held where it was agreed that identity cards must be received before the commencement of the examination.“The generality of students in UI are law-abiding, peaceful but conscious; we are not rascals who always seek to fight, but radicals who will always fight, not merely to be right, but for our rights. It was resolved at our congress that the student identity card must be received before examinations commence. Not only have we paid for our ID cards for three sessions now, we have been patient with the management but this has led to serious security harassment from members of the Nigerian Police Force outside the university environment.
“Many of our members have even lost credible scholarship and grant opportunities just because they could not identify themselves properly as students,” the SU president stressed.