Editorial: And the Evasiveness Continues

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The University of Ibadan Students’ Union, an entity supposed to champion the rights and welfare of its students, has once again demonstrated a perplexing tendency to evade the core issues affecting its students. The recent unconstitutional ‘postponement’ of the congress, a tool that would have provided the platform to address the contentious increment in fees, has broken the camel’s back.

The resolution for a congress was reached during the Student’s Representative Council Sitting and was scheduled for Saturday, 29th of June. However, to the utmost dismay of Uites, the executive council of the Student’s Union released a statement announcing the ‘postponement’ of the congress. It took the sheer efforts of a group of SRC members to carry on the mobilization for the Congress, which, unfortunately, could not hold due to the lack of constitutionally required quorum. Nonetheless, that is not the focus of this editorial, the focus is on the perpetual evasive tactics being displayed by the leadership of the UISU.

For four weeks, the union’s only directive has been for students to hold off on paying the increased fees. This ambiguous stance leaves many wondering: until when? The university management has already made the payment of the bundle fee a prerequisite for several important registration processes. The urgency of the situation cannot be overstated, yet the union appears to be operating in a state of denial.

The latest move by the union, the introduction of a condescending ‘stomach infrastructure’ initiative, reeks of a diversionary tactic. This initiative, ostensibly aimed at placating students, is nothing more than a poorly veiled attempt to distract from the pressing issue at hand. It is an affront to the intelligence of Uites who understand that the real work lies in addressing the unaffordable fee hike.

Students are left in a lurch, confused and frustrated. The congress, which should have provided a platform for rigorous discussion and a path forward, was inexplicably postponed. This decision is not only unconstitutional but also deeply irresponsible. The union’s role is to represent the students and to fight for their interests, not to cower in the face of challenges or to employ diversionary tactics.

The increment in fees is not just a minor inconvenience; it is a significant barrier to education for many students. If at the moment, students are still writing letters to the management for the reopening of portal for the payment of last session’s fees, what would happen in the face of the new increment? The union’s evasiveness is a betrayal of its mandate. Instead of providing clear guidance and taking a strong stand against the fee hike, the union’s actions portray a worrying complacency.

The student body deserves better. They deserve a union that is proactive, transparent, and steadfast in its commitment to their welfare. It is time for the Aweda-led executive council and the Busoye-led SRC to stop the evasiveness and to start tackling the real issues head-on. The postponement of the congress must be reversed, and a new date set without delay. The union must engage with the management, articulate the students’ grievances, and push for a return to affordable fees.

The introduction of stomach infrastructure, while potentially well-intentioned, should not serve as a distraction from the primary issue. The union must refocus its efforts on the critical task of making education accessible to all. Anything less is a dereliction of duty.

In these challenging times, the students of the University of Ibadan need a union that is resilient, determined, and unyielding in its advocacy for their rights. The evasiveness must end. The union must rise to the occasion, confront the fee increment issue directly, and ensure that the voices of Uites are heard loud and clear. Only then can they claim to be true representatives of the student body.

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