CASE BACKGROUND

On the 8th of November 2019, TASUED Students Union under the administration of Soneye Abdulazeez (LAS) declared Monday, 11th of November to Friday the 15th of the same month to be a lecture-free week. The reason for this is due to the incessant harassment of students by the school shuttle drivers and traders at the ALUTA market. Eventually, two days after the commencement of the lecture-free week, the decision was withdrawn following series of meeting with the concerned bodies. This, then makes up the story for our argument in this court. That is, “Was the Union, as a result of all this, have the right to have declared a Lecture free week?”

No!

A farmland is not set ablaze to terminate a tiny insect.

Africa Maxim

“There are eclectic ways to kill a rat” was one of the popular maxims I encountered in my secondary school English language examinations. But then I never thought of paying much attention to it until days ago when I heard that the TASUED Students’ Union Government, in line with the Students’ House of Senate, declared a State of Emergency deciding that the entire student’s populace stay at their various hostels for a week – those on Teaching Practice (TP) inclusive. The reason for this, as was circulated in the report of the TASUEDSU P.R.O – Adewuyi Taiwo Elijah, was due to the incessant abuse of students by the shuttles drivers. On hearing this my mind went back to the maxim earlier stated and I was moved to ask myself, are there no other ways this could have been resolved? At least, the 3Cs of ALUTA which says, Consolidation, Consultation and Confrontation should have been brought into consideration.

My lord, it would be unfair on our part as humans to, in a bid of helping people, make others suffer. When the lecture free week was declared, some of the questions that troubled my mind were, ‘what should be the fate of TASEUDITES whose E-TEST is just a week away (while some of their lecturers are yet to cover half of their course outlines) or those innocent pupils/students who are being taught by TASEUDITES who are on TP?’ With that kind of decision, many students who are supposed to pay more attention to studying for their test had to travel unnecessarily. Between Friday and now, I had about three people who told me they needed to go home and ‘rest’. The decision only opened a new channel of opportunity for students to abandon their academic works – their first priority in TASUED. These students who don’t even want to come for lectures before (but have had the No 70% Attendance policy driving them) had more reasons to stay back home doing nothing.

Howbeit, I do not dispute the fact that is it the constitutional right of the Union body to make such decisions, but wouldn’t it have been better if an alternative had been sought for other than punishing students in the name of wanting to censure the drivers. If asked my lord, I would have suggested the Union body declare that none of these drivers operate for a week or two (as they would wish) and then bring in other drivers to replace those ones. The Igbo would say, ‘If one man makes decision, he commits murder’. Although this kind of murder is not the literal one which means killing others but figuratively making them pass through extreme difficulties.

Let me speak like the Americans who wake up every morning to say, ‘ God bless America’. God bless the present regime of ‘LAS’ for wanting to help the student – defending them against assault from these people. And also for resolving that lectures come back to normal, but having made such decision at first is unjust and uncalled for because such decision is not even enough to cure the whole madness of drivers assaulting students. Rather, these people should, in a way, be enlightened on Good Customer Relations so as to enhance effective interpersonal relationship between them and the students.

Having decided such was only being similar to Dennis Brutus description of the sun in his, “The Sun on this Rubble” where he saw the sun as a short time relief from the pains of oppression being faced by the black at the hand of the white men. But is that the kind of solution TASUEDITES need?

Thanks to providence my lord that the decision was withdrawn. However, it was not right in the first place for the Union body to have declared a ‘whole’ week to be lecture free just for the sake of wanting to censure the drivers and traders. I rest my case!

Absolutely right!

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits

Thomas Jefferson

As the latest victim of unexplainable hate, execration and loathing, TASUEDSU has come under severe tongue lashing. The regime ship is being threaten with tempestuous storm of disapproval, insults and reproach. Just like Thomas, an apostle best remember for doubting the resurrection of Jesus Christ, these naysayers, doubters and cynics have shown a greater dimension of doubts. They have forgotten that the regime’s ship is being handled by capable hands whose main interests is to ensure the protection of all goods and passengers on board.

My lord, I should have open my arguments with a rendition of the rights TASUEDSU has to declare a week break while gyrating on the podium of my paper with my pen dancing furiously to the rhythm of my beats. But I would leave that to the relentless but confident and intellectual union warriors who have chosen a way of struggle by averting the age-long tradition Ijagun shuttle drivers are known for.

Your honour, do you know that the people who Jesus helped were the one who shouted for the soldiers to nail him to the cross? Many of these naysayers were once praising the regime of LAS due to him being an intellectual radical. My opposing counsel is also part of those who are presently hurling stones to the Stephenic characters of this union. Should we be debating if TASUEDSU was right to have declared a lecture-free week or we should join in the agitation to demand a better welfare conditions for all students? Your honour, almost thirty percents of the entire TASUEDites live in town. One thing unites these category of students together, and that thing is, the incessant and horrible tales of their encounter with Ijagun shuttle drivers. These horrible encounters have left deep scars on the psychological mind of these students – scars that will take decades to heal.

Furthermore, TASUEDITES are known for their lovely and peaceful way of life compare to other universities in the country whose second name is almost synonymous with unrest and protests. Hardly will you find a case of TASUEDITES protesting – it is a very rare phenomenon. In order to avert the possible clash between TASUEDITES and Ijagun shuttle drivers, what else should the students’ union have done if not the declaration of lecture-free week? To possibly avoid the unrest that comes with protests, for instance the encounter with the policemen invasion on campus, the students’ union has the right to declare the break most especially when students are seen as an object of ridicule. Going further, if my opposing counsel won’t be economical with the truth and will refuse putting on the garments of fabrication and equivocation. She will agree with me that the union has the absolute rights to declare for such particularly when the university management is fully aware of it.

I would like to end with an analogy as postulated by Kanyinsola Olorunnisola – in one of his third generation articles titled “Ivory Honours 2016: an acceptable concept?” – written together with Kunle Adebajo. He posited that “there is an academic prison in which students have been imprisoned for a long time”. In the prison, inmates are shackled with chains of pseudo-intellectualism and forced to place their worth solely on the contestable results of tests and examinations. I wish you to add that inmates are not only confine to shackles of pseudo-intellectualism but they are also bounded with the fetters of myopic thinking. They have forgotten that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I rest my case!