Olajide Oladokun

As a kid I did believe in surreal things. I believed Santa Claus was real. I believed the moon followed me around. I believed in superheroes and I hoped that one day I would save the world. Well, everyone of us had our fair share, and it was not really stupidity, or was it? Kids are innocent and they believe, innocently, the most ridiculous tales. Perhaps the world will be a better place; a place of peace and constant harmony if we all remain innocent kids, with no responsibility, no disappointment, no grudges, no long term memory; and our minds are not polluted by bad teachers who teach us nonsense (as Fela sang). Little wonder the founder of Christianity told his followers to be like little children in order to enter his Kingdom.

As kids metamorphose, their curiosity become intense and they seek answers to questions that even the adult mind cannot or refuses to unravel. In an attempt to answer these questions, adults come up with different stories, fables and myth to pacify these ever inquisitive young minds.

Here I am today, a student in Nigeria’s Premier University. And apparently, some folks are making me feel like a kid again; telling me some very interesting, mind-blowing stories. They are folks in the Students’ Union Government.

I was told that this government serves as a critical link between the school authorities and the students. While I had paid some fees to the authority before I was conferred studentship, I was equally mandated to pay a levy to this government so that it may serve me and promote my interest. This government boasted of some past achievements. In 1962, it championed a nation-wide student demonstration against the signing of the Anglo/Nigerian Defense Pact. Through concerted peaceful demonstration, the students were able to get the post-Independence Nigerian Government to drop the idea of signing a defense pact with Britain.

Similarly, at the news of the Dimka-led military coup attempt of February 13, 1976, which led to the assassination of the then Head of State of Nigeria, Gen. Murtala Ramat Mohammad, the Nigerian Students, led by students of the University of Ibadan, were on the streets in a peaceful and well-organised demonstration to protest and condemn the dastardly act, long before the coup was aborted. I believed all I heard and read. I was rest assured, that with this government, I was in safe hands. Alas I was wrong! It was all an illusion, delusions of grandeur. Over the years, the Student Union Government I read about has lost its power and sense of mobilization and all that is left of it is a conglomerate of individuals who are only interested in athletic, social and cultural interests of students and not their welfare.

When the certain constituted authorities came robbing hoods, increasing school fees like prices of foodstuffs in Bodija market, this government OF the students and BY the students; was not there FOR the students. All that my superhero government did was call a congress, merely putting up a façade to justify its incompetence. Why call a congress when you have an official of the university behind the curtain already to cajole the students and make them see reasons with the university’s decision. My superhero had become a toothless dog, a puppet dancing to the tune of its master.

Perhaps, the rustication of the immediate past student union president is still taking its toil on the current administration, influencing their choice to tread carefully, as they chant ‘Diplomacy’ around. In 2017, the authorities of the University of Ibadan accused the OjoAderemi-led union of disrupting academic activities by mobilising students for a massive protest against the non-issuance of Identity (ID) Cards. The union leaders were suspended and the activities of the union proscribed afterwards. Since the reinstatement of the union, it has been the case of a traditional ruler in the indirect system of government; the rulers even though they were part of the natives, they were loyal to the colonial masters.

It is in light of this that I write to my fellow students as elections are fast approaching. It is delusional to believe the next administration will be better off. The earlier we accept that the students union is just a mere body occupying KunleAdepoju Building with neither residual nor concurrent powers the less disappointed we will be. I therefore implore all students to see the election as a yearly ritual that must be observed and nothing more. There and then can we boldly say we are not kids any longer but adults who see things the way they really are, and not wallow in puerile fantasies.

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