Last week, the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) appointed a new Vice Chancellor, Prof. Wahab Egbewole, to handle the affairs of the institution. But the students want, among other expectations, the new helmsman to pull the institution out of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) so that they can enjoy smooth learning as it was before. PRECIOUS AKINTULUBO (OOU), OLAYINKA ABDULRAZAQ(UNILORIN), PEACE OLADIPO (FUOYE) and MOHAMMED TAOHEED (UDUS) report.
Amid the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Kwara State, appointed Prof. Wahab Egbewole as the Vice Chancellor last Thursday. The announcement was made by the Chairman of the Governing Council, Mallam Abidu Yasid.
Wahab, a professor of International Law and Jurisprudence and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), was selected among 13 shortlisted candidates who applied for the job.
Egbewole is the 11th vice chancellor of the institution and would assume office on October 16, after the exit of the incumbent, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, who has been in the chair since 2017.
For two decades, the institution was not involved in any Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike and it was known for its stable calendar.
Its ASUU members on March 10, 2020 joined the strike under the administration of AbdulKareem.
The UNILORIN ASUU branch chairman, Moyosore Ajao, said academic staff were labelled traitors when they were not part of the union.
“We cannot be part of a body and say we don’t want to function with the body. The question everybody should ask is how did ASUU get bad like this? It is because we have an irresponsible government. And we have a minister of finance who would not want to pay people, after working to earn a pay,” he said.
Since 2020 the institution has been partaking in every strike, including the ongoing one.
However, students have highlighted their expectations from the new vice chancellor. Most importantly, they want him to dissociate the school from the national ASUU, introduce more practical courses, build more lecture halls, and address transportation problem, among others.
A 200-Level Accounting Student, Itunuoluwa Blessing Adejumo, wants the new VC to prioritise students and staff welfare within and outside the institution. She said hostels, classrooms and school park were not conducive for a normal lifestyle. She said she had to opt out of the school hostel because of the lack of cleanliness and order. Adejumo said she skipped lectures as a result of poor lecture halls of 700-800 capacity with close to 200 fairly manageable chairs meant to accommodate 1,500 students.
“It’s always said that if you can survive in UNILORIN, you can survive anywhere in the world. But must we go through that pain as students? I really think the welfare of students should be put in first place. After all, without students, there’s no UNILORIN,” she said.
Speaking on if the new VC should intervene in the ongoing ASUU strike, she said: “The incoming VC should decide what’s best for the school. We don’t want our education to be put on hold. So, let him pull us out of the strike or of what benefit is the union to us?”
A 200-Level student of Public law, Oluwasegun Godswill, urged the new VC to tackle the case of transportation for students living off the campus as there have been difficulties. According to him, it is very difficult task to get buses to and fro, therefore, it is advisable to establish a system whereby many buses are being put in place to ease the burden of transportation for students.
Godswill said if the new VC wants to back out of ASUU, he needs the backing of the school governing council.
Gbenle Ayomide John, a 300-Level student of Mathematics, wants the new VC to introduce more practical courses, have a good relationship with students, create a more conducive learning environment as the lecture theatres are always choked up.
For Blessing Opeyemi, a 400-Level student said she expects the new VC to perform better than the former VC by making the classroom more conducive for the students and address transportation issues.
She also said she expects him to find a solution to the ASUU strike since the institution hasn’t been on strike for decades.
“A lot needs to be done as regards the case of conducive environment. For instance, my department classrooms need renovation,” she said.
A 300 level student of History and International studies, Afolagboye Fedora Boluwatife, said: “I think he (the new VC) should pull UNILORIN out of ASUU because the institution has not been a part of the union for over two decades, so he should also work towards that aspect.”
Busola Akinbade, a 200-Level Microbiology student, expects the new VC to support activities that can be helpful to students like sports and other extra curricular activities. She also expects him to help solve the ASUU strike issue.
Usman Adebayo, a Mass Communication student, urged the new VC to review the academic calendar, restore campus activities monitoring through CCTV.
He also wants him to bring back the modesty UNILORIN is known for through dress code and many other innovations to project the university to the international community.
In the same vein, a law student, Ematuwo Shukrah, urged the new VC to help the students find solution to the incessant strike and also the issue of transportation. She said: “I’m expecting him to help us find solution to the incessant strike. Also, he should look into the issue of transport fare; the price is hard on us.”
Lateef Wahab Alabi, an Arabic Education student said: “I wish he could be the best VC ever for the university. But the nost important part is to dissociate the university from the national ASUU for better academic calendar.”
Abdulsalam Kabirat Omowumi, an Islamic student said the new VC should find a better solution to the issue insufficient of bus on campus.
Taofik Waliu Opeyemi, the Student Union Government President, said: “As a student leader, my expectation is that he continues to lift the university to lofty heights. We have our challenges from the student community and we hope that with the new dispensation, most of our problems will be solved. We want a VC that can attend to us. Meet our yearnings and expectations.”
Sofiah Hisbah, a History and International Studies student, said: “He should solve transportation problem and create a more secure environment for learning and research. He should also look into reducing the cost of convocation fees, the economy isn’t friendly to the majority of the masses.”
Another student, Joachim Segun, said: “He should put the transportation and CBT coordination into consideration. After the strike, scarcity of buses and CBT troubles should ease. Either he widens the park space or puts out more buses.
Iyiola Emmanuel, a student of Human Kinetics Education, said: “Standard of living in hostels, the quality and relevance of our curriculum in the modern world, lecturers’ and students’ welfare in general, are areas he should work on. Off-campus students are always stranded when coming to campus due to transportation issues and they are always robbed or harassed by the police.”
A 300-level student, Ibrahim Abdulfatai Alayaba, urged the VC to tackle indecent dressing on campus.
“Given his tenure as a dean of the faculty of law, he’s not new to the university government system. Therefore I believe he would be able to improve on the good works of his predecessor, and continue to keep the school running smoothly. I also expect him not to neglect the issue of dress code as the previous administration was kind of lax on that issue, and the issues of transportation I believe he should improve on,” he said.
Benson Julius Aziakpono, a 300 level student of Human kinetics, said: “I wish he can bring about more innovation to the conduct of examinations in school premises as the process needs to improve ranging from attendance taking during examinations to the mode of conduct. Most times it is poorly organised. Most cases are CBT exams as the timing is mostly never accurate.
“The Transportation Department, too, needs to be restructured as the drivers sometimes harass the students; so, I wish he can address that since the school activities are under his jurisdiction.”
Adedimeji Quayyim Abdulazeez, the President of Unilorin Law Students, said: “We are really tired of the ASUU strike. We believe that a new change in the administration will bring the university back to its pre-ASUU days.
“My main hope is that UNILORIN successfully exits ASUU and we continue to have a stable calendar that we had before the tenure of this outgoing vice chancellor. I hope that the new change in the school will mean a change in ASUU struggle. I want the school to be back on track, I want to resume.”
A final year student, Ayobami Asare said: “We hope for a better water system in school-owned hostels whereby students sometimes during exams had to go to exam classes unclean due to water issues.”
Oriyomi Covenant, a student of Medicine said: “It is no news that the school was known to have one of the fastest academic calendars compared to other universities due to their non involvement in the incessant ASUU strikes. We want the VC to withdraw the school from the ASUU struggle which has almost destroyed the lives and future of the students they claim to be fighting for.
He said: “In my school there are many outlets to generate revenue such as the school’s bakery, sachet and bottled water production, private hostels, transport and renting spaces to many business owners, among others. Most public universities have primary and secondary schools. The revenue from these outlets can be used to meet some of the demands of ASUU independently by each school, instead of punishing the students and lecturers every year. So many business owners who have paid for spaces are also affected by the strike. As the Chairman of the Vice chancellors’ association, I hope that he proposes these sources of revenue to the union which will save us all from the ditch this struggle is heading for.”
Ayodeji Elero, a student of Art Education, implored the VC to involve every stakeholder in policy formulation.
“My expectation is that he should run an inclusive government. Where every major stakeholder will be carried along. If possible pull out of the ASUU so that the university can return to its days of academic stability,’’ he said. Continue Reading