The writings are on the wall; and we have come to a time that reality must not evade our sense of responsibility. It is saddening that our Governments and the University Authorities, save a few, have continued to betray the maxim posited by Malcolm X that *_”Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”_*
The leadership of the Students’ Union, University of Ibadan, wishes to affirm that we are in the know about the various writings in the University stating *”NO TO HIKE IN FEES”*, *”LET EDUCATION BE AFFORDABLE”*, among others. The Union hereby states emphatically that we frown at any attempt to hike fees; whether tuition or accommodation fees. Attempt to hike fee(s) will be fully resisted, using all diplomatic and radical measures. Likewise, we use this medium to beckon on governments at all levels, with emphasis on the Federal Government to stop underfunding the Education Sector.
The FG should also realize that it is time it fulfilled its agreements with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). It is time the FG prioritized the Education Sector as well as the needs of our Academics and Teachers; hence, the need to adopt the 26% appropriation of the Annual Budget to the Education Sector as stated by UNESCO.
The recent increment in *”Acceptance Fee”* by 50%, from *N20,000* to *N30,000* depicts that the Management of the University of Ibadan is insensitive to the economic hardship that has plagued the nation. In a time many parents grapple with the basic necessities of life, due to non-payment of several months salaries by State Governments and half-payment by the FG, it was only fair that the payment of N20,000 be maintained. Our stand as a Union remains that the increment was unjustifiable and inconsiderable to the plight of the common masses.
Therefore, we, the Students’ Union, University of Ibadan, under the present dispensation frown at any attempt to hike fees. We say: *”NO TO HIKE IN FEES”*, *#FEESMUSTFALL* and we won’t brook the privatization of the halls of residence. Even though we know the quest to achieve free education seems illusory; education should be affordable and accessible to the common masses. We implore the Vice Chancellor to ensure his fatherly wisdom and goodwill prevails any advice by high-placed bureaucrats who may want hike of fees in the University. The Students’ Union, on behalf of over 30,000 students of University Ibadan, pledges to ensure that the pursuit of the goals of the University as *’the First and the Best’* are never undermined. Yet, our stand is herein reiterated that we shall NOT accept any attempt to hike fees.
Furthermore, we commend the FG under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for the commitment to fight corruption. Corruption, as stated by a scholar, is nothing but _*”Authority plus monopoly minus transparency.”*_ The fight against corruption, while being pursued vigorously, should not make the FG relegate the unequalled importance of the Education Sector. The 2017 Budget, *_Budget of Recovery and Growth_*, has just been laid before the National Assembly. It is noteworthy that no meaningful recovery and growth can be made if Education continues to be underfunded. In fact, the quest to take a quantum leap out of this artificial economic recession will remain evasive without proper funding of the Education Sector. Mrs Oby Ezekwesili draws our attention to this reality when she said in a live session on Channels TV that: *_”Education is the most single important instrument for ensuring social and economic mobility of your citizens._” In an analysis titled *”FG, States spend 8% of budgets on Education”* by Daily Trust Newspaper as published in its online daily of June 3 2016, the FG and 33 State Governments’ expenditure on Education in 2016 is *8.44%* of the their budgets. In the analysis, the Executive Secretary of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsajani said, *_”This shows clearly that the country hasn’t yet recognized education as a veritable key to development and economic empowerment.”_*
The Students’ Union, University of Ibadan, hereby enjoins the Presidency as well as the National Assembly to stimulate proper funding of the Education Sector. It is in lieu of this that we stand in solidarity with ASUU, that the FG should fulfil its agreement to avert any industrial action by the Union. Many political officials who bask in the pool of luxuries today were nurtured by these Academics; hence, they deserve nothing but the best. With proper funding, no doubt that infrastructural developments will be achieved steadily in the Education Sector.
The Students’ Union also uses this medium to categorically state that the commercialization of extortion in the halls of residence must stop. The payment of N200 and N150 for accommodation forms in Queen Elizabeth and Awo Halls, as well as the N400 in Idia Hall is nothing but extortion. These forms do not guarantee accommodation; making money from the sale of ordinary forms that can be photocopied is worrisome in a community where we are being trained to be worthy in learning and character. This extortion must stop. The Students’ Affairs Division is aware of our complaints as regards this; but it is worrisome that our plight has been shrouded with the might that be.
The Students’ Union also requests an official release from the Management as regards why ID Cards cost at N650 for each student as captured in our receipts were not produced this session. The ID Cards produced for the Fresh Students betray quality; the standard of the Premier University should be upheld. With the session going to an end in less than 2weeks, we request an official release in the shortest possible time and also request that Returning Students should not be charged for ID Cards come next session.
Finally, the Students’ Union uses this medium to wish all Uites a frolicsome holiday. Upon resumption, there shall be a *Massive Rally* of all students on the Tuesday that follows and a *Massive Congress* themed *”Mother of all Congresses”* the following day. The Union also uses this medium to commend the leaderships of NANS, the Senate President and the Chairmen of Oyo and Osun States, for their efforts to reopen LAUTECH. We enjoin all Uites and Nigerian Students to remain calm and law abiding. Our Union remains a United Union and we remain committed to furthering students’ interests strategically; as we know that those who don’t apply strategies end up in tragedies.
*The Presidency, FGN*
*The National Assembly*
*Oyo State Government*
*Oyo State House of Assembly*
*The Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan*
*NANS, National Secretariat*
*NANS JCC, Oyo State*
*Faculty Presidents, UI*
*Hall Chairpersons, UI*
*All Students, UI*