- TheTick Times Tuesday Jan 17, 2017
For the past two days, I have received hundreds of message, phone calls, and tags where my name has been referenced in comments. In fact, some commentators have forgotten that it is more than a decade that I have left the school by asking me to come to the rescue of the students in the face of tyranny. I am aware that a lot of people will be shocked with my assertions that Governor Ajimobi should not blamed; however, without been grandiloquent, I will succinctly elucidate my reasons without fear or favour of constituted authority.
The Students Gave the Governor the Chance
There is a famous Yoruba proverb that says “Bi onigba ba se pe igba e, ni won ba pe” (It is how you present yourself that you will be addressed”. The students presented themselves in an unorganised way, but not unruly as the majority of the supporters of constituted authority have painted it. There is nothing unruly about their behaviour, in fact, they are too gentle and respectful considering the fact that they have been out of school for eight months as a result of both Oyo and Osun state government actions.
Nevertheless, the student’s action epitomised divided house, lack of coordination and organisation. Generally, in this kind of movement, all hands are supposed to be on deck and approach the problem in unison, bury all grudges and grievances among themselves. But what do we have? The SUG is factionalized because of the inconclusive election that led to the destruction of the Union Bus and the Union building and the eventual suspension of the Union. NANS is factionalized as usual; the little success that was recorded from the protest was due to individuals supports from Unilag and OAU Unions just to mention a few.
Trust me; the government is aware of this weakness, and the governor capitalised on it, who will not capitalise on the weakness of the enemy in combat? We used to say that let “Anaconda lead follow by African Python and Boa Constrictor, let us see the bold hunter that will face them”.
The majority of those in unionism in this present era are in it for the selfish reason, if not, Ajimobi would not have dare no matter how stubborn he might be to talk in that manner with all effrontery and audacity. Ajimobi cannot be as stubborn as a Military Governor, yet they were subdued with unity in diversity regardless of order to kill laws with impunity. The only types of students these people fear most are those that not only daring but also intellectually sound to engage in discourse. One month in Nigeria now, all reports I have received so far about LAUTECH and the student's movement call for a reorientation of how to be physically and mentally equip in facing Constituted Authority.
Why I Don’t Blame Ajimobi
Governor Ajimobi’s utterances and reactions to the students is nothing new or strange; it is a representation of how the vast majority of Nigerian adults view the younger ones. The primitive view that found it roots in backwards culture and religion that epitomised “Respect your Parents and those that are older than you” found in the holy books. They don’t believe in the modern value of respect is reciprocal; they will only support the idea if it suits their selfish purpose. Backward phrases such as “eyan man fi agba re omode je ni” (We use eldership to cheat the children”, Ti agbalagba ba she omode, omode na ni yo be agbalagba” (No matter what an elder does to the young one, it is the young one that will still beg the elder), “Ti agbalagba ban soro, oye ki omode o dake” (If an elder is talking, the young one should keep quite) and many more are so much ingrained in the 18th century thinking that is predominant in Nigeria.
I have personally experienced what Ajimobi said more than 10 thousand times in the 11 years I spent in LAUTECH. From Vice-chancellors to Head of Departments, from Local Government Chairmen to Governors, from State honourable to Senators and Reps, from Commissioner to Ministers, even from my father to pastors.
It is only in Nigeria that the adult believes that you must listen and be submissive even at the place of work. The people in the position of authority that we can question without any consequences of been labelled as rude, thugs, hooligans, manner less are those that are our age mate or colleagues. If you attempt to correct those older than you, then it turns to, se mon se egbee ni, oni iru mi nile, won koo ni le abi (Am I your mate, you don’t have an elder at home, you are not trained to be respectful to elders). Haba, in official duty, if you are looking for seniority by age it is better you resigned because age is a number in development, what is key to development is the human capital and your intelligence. That is the main reason I will support anybody that is between the age of 18 and 45 for any political position because I know that he or she cannot dare say to me that I am rude or I don’t have respect.
If you think this is limited to Nigeria, those in diaspora are worse, the moment you challenge their false knowledge about an issue, they quickly switch to Nigeria mode of culture and religion. Culture and religion that has not favour us in any way and keep us backwards moving toward a fourth world country. To make matter worse, we have students and youths that act like a sheep; they follow this doctrine of culture and religion of respecting the elders in intellectual discourse. Many times, when I was in school, they will even remonstrate against our protest against the authority. Their argument always: “we knew what the management did was wrong, but we have them as fathers at home”. I have read a plethora of comments since the Ajimobi LAUTECH students encounter video went viral that oozed the rubbish they are like father to them rubbish.
Please, Mr Governor and other constituted authorities stop acting like a father, act like a Governor, or Vice Chancellor, or Lecturer. Your children are at home, and you are taking care of them with your money. Baba omo mo ye omo to bi (A man knows the number of his children). Just do your duty that you are elected to do and if you dont do it, in a sane society you would have been remove or probably you will resign. I will not want to bore you; every reader can relate to this fact, I know you have been shut down by those that believe that you are younger on many occasion. The Nigeria culture and the dominant religions are clearly against dissent and without dissent, there can never be any progress and development.
Therefore you ought to keep quiet even when they are wrong. Because some of us cannot keep quite we were tagged different unprintable names, check all the prosperous countries in the world, you will realise that the young ones have a voice and not like Nigeria where the self-confidence of the youths have been killed from home and buried in Universities the CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES
My Advice to Mr Governor and Other Constituted Authorities
As I said earlier, I don’t blame you; it is the fault of the students that cannot bury their hatchet and face you in one voice. You only represent the failed generation that has mortgage the future of our generation, and now your generation is not satisfied with the damage you have done to us, you want to extend it to the next generation. Remember that we are in the era of social media, what the past governors, ministers, VCs, HODs have said to us in the past are worse than your utterances, but it was done in the era of black and white, whatever you do now will forever be on the internet. And in 15 years’ time when you are travelling with no escort of armed men, you will meet a protest just like Dr Olulonyo did in 2000 on his way to Ilorin. And then you will know that no be today mannerless students have been in existence, in fact, I am a typical example that suits your definition of unruly, mannerless and futureless. We need to be unruly to these elders if there is any hope in this country.
Ropo Egbeleke was former Student Union President, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology