IT IS QUITE NECESSARY
”THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS TO LIVE IT, TO TASTE EXPERIENCE TO THE UTMOST, TO REACH OUT EAGERLY AND WITHOUT FEAR FOR NEWER AND RICHER EXPERIENCE.”- ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
This is possibly the best of times to have a discourse on the necessity of the weeklong activities student bodies put up every year. In no time, the praxes that suggest second semesters as the best time to learn diverse definitions of sociality will recommence. Then, what will remain of some people’s sanity will not be enough to calculate “two times one” without using “times table”. So dear freshmen, rejoice, greater shows than Mr. Bean are here.
The most commonly enunciated Nigerian answer to any problem or irregularity is destruction. It is so important to some that they have even adopted a slogan that says, “You destroy to build”. If you are in doubt, conduct a survey seeking to know the solution to the problems of Nigeria. I am certain a good number of respondents would suggest disintegration. Perhaps you should not conduct the survey, a careful study of how your roommate eats “gala” will do.
I believe in positivity not because I was a great fan of Positive 102.5 FM as a teen, but I have realised that the best way to slay madness is to remain calm. Moreover, it probably costs nothing more than a mental assent to see the cup as half-full instead of half-empty. Tagging the annual celebrations of student bodies as frivolous is rather too harsh, even without adding a hash tag.
That a generation of student leaders have placed values on the wrong understanding of certain social inventions, does not infer mediocrity on the inventors’ part. Of course, when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. It is not fictitious that some student bodies use such precious moments to engage in acts that have no financial or mental rewards; however, a general condemnation leaves questions unanswered. A proper grasp of the original reasons for such annual activities should even clear one’s mind of a negative submission.
Beyond words, the rewards of attending and participating in some of these programmes could be invaluable; many stars have been discovered, many champions have been raised on these platforms. Many of the University of Ibadan alumni doing great in the arts and other scenes started on this plane. As a lover of poetry, it thrills me that the Dean of Arts, Prof. RemiRaji-Oyelade, AfamAkeh, Peter Akinlabi, Biodun Bello and other priests in the shrine of words all read at the same Okigbo Poetry night the department of English and literary studies organises every year. Also, the first performance of Prof. Wole Soyinka’s “The Trials of Brother Jero” at the Mellanby hall cafeteria probably took place during these intervals. On the music scene, in Nollywood and several other industries, there are great people that used such times as their training period.
Also, the purpose of the University surely goes beyond the impartation of academic knowledge and formal trainings; the third mission statement of the University of Ibadan says, “To contribute to the transformation of the society through creativity and innovation(emphasis mine). In one of Emeritus Professor Babafemi Osofisan’s faculty of Arts lecture series attached to the School of Postgraduate studies sponsored publication, “UI at 60: Sixty years of Muse”, he lamented the sudden disappearance from the University calendar the “free year” students had to themselves to get involved in other things beyond strict academic activities. He posited that the development is probably responsible for the gradual death of creativity amongst University of Ibadan students.
Perhaps nothing fosters unity amongst students than these events. They stir up a sense of oneness and enhance interactions. The atmosphere at the inter-hall sports, quiz or debate competitions also promote healthy rivalry amongst the halls of residence (sometimes halls from other schools). There is the small but mighty Bello hall that ridicules Zik’s “Azikiwe terror of the field” anthem every year, the Zik hall Literary and debating team that does wonders every clash of the sages contest, the almighty Super Bowl contest. Most of these programmes come up during the “week” celebrations and they measure up in what makes for a balanced student life.
Finally, the arguments for this case are not narrow: promotion of creativity, furtherance of unity and out-of –class education are however substantial markers of the necessity. The energy channeled towards disparagement could be used to re-orientate those who misuse such moments.
I rest my case
”NECESSARY” CAN NEVER BE THE WORD!
“I DON’T THINK IT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE IT NECESSARY IF IT IS NOT NECESSARY”-ANONYMOUS
“You think say una get madness, wait and see whenZikiteswaka come with greater psycho”, “Na lie joor! Even a fresher sabi die say naMellanbites get swag pass “, “Wait till una see the ukwus of those dancers from the hills”. My Lords,when students’ week celebrations have degenerated to these statements, then it is clear that its succulent flesh has been eaten by decadent worms and what is left is no more than mere skinny bones of its frivolity. Just as the Yorubas would say that “Aso ‘o b’Omoyemon, Omoyetirin ho how’oja “, which roughly translates that naked Omoye’s escape to Bodija market has rendered all the yards of cloths in Gbagi market completely useless.
It would take the most primitive bushman of the Kalahari Desert to connect with any sense in tying palm fronds around the neck and painting chalk all over the face. No sane man would attach near-nudity and a simulation of acute lunacy to the celebration of erudition and intellectualism. Only barbarians, my Lords, would dance joyously to the discordant tunes of pointless jingles that parade the air during these week celebrations. Just as cotton buds have no place value when the time comes to pound yams; week celebrations also have no place value in this great fountain of knowledge. Or can anything be more obvious?
The issue of weeks’ celebrations in the University of Ibadan is something that needs to be reviewed and consequently scrapped! Apart from the fact that these weeks are celebrated in the second semester which many believed to be shorter, it’s also a major source of academic distraction for the students who are easily carried away by its temporary euphoria and cancellation of classes. The next thing the students face after the excitements is the examination they are largely unprepared for, and that of course, explains in factual narrative, why a lot of students have to bow to the sessional winds of Tsunami lists. I strongly doubt if what negatively affect the students’ primary assignment on campus could be anything close to necessary.
Though the proponents of this insanity may argue that the week celebrations are necessary and important for the intellectual growth and cultural awareness of the students, but, of course, that point lacks sufficient proof to substantiate it. To judge the overall week celebrations with one or two personality lectures that grace them is tantamount to committing an error the logicians refer to as fallacy of composition. Not just that, attendances that grace the few intellectual programs such as lectures, oratory contests and seminars; are the most ridiculous you can ever get. Truth be told, putting the bane and boon of these week celebrations together on a scale would out rightly throw all the supposed benefits off balance. My Lords, must we continue to turn our blind eyes to the millions of naira that go down the drain every year as a result of these frivolities? What necessity warrants us to degrade our dignity begging money from politicians, only to give the scooped money to the Badoos, Kswitchs, Wizkids and Davidos to come display some minutes of madness with the excuse of being social!
Finally, my lords, it is crystal clear that most of the activities that are paraded during these week celebrations are lacking in substance and aim. Most of these activities have little or no direct impact in positively building the students. When this is the case, to say it is still necessary to go on with these celebrations is like saying a sieve is necessary to store water from the rain. Weeks’ celebrations are frivolous my lords, and only a flippant fellow would see anything otherwise!
I rest my case.
CONCLUSION: This column is about you, it presents the two sides of a case courtesy of two writers from different schools of thought. “Audi alterampartem” means hear the other side before passing your judgment. Take the gavel, make your decision and slam because you are the judge in this courtroom.
STUDENTS’ WEEK CELEBRATIONS; NECESSITY OR FRIVOLITY?
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