- Posted October 1, 2013 by
UNIUYO STUDENTS’ PROTEST: POLICIES AND LEADERSHIP
It is more dangerous to blur the circumstances that resulted to the outburst of tantrum. This would be analogous to a medical practitioner treating the effect of an ailment without tackling the cause. Nigerian students will consider any report lacking the reflection of issues on policies and leadership to be too hasty in self-aggrandizement.
Policies are plans of actions adopted by any establishment in rationalizing its operations. A leader being deficient in the ability to formulate good policies and inspire others looses his or her flavor. Henry David Thoreau admonishes “let us not underrate the value of a fact; it will one day flower into a truth”. Uniuyo students protest is as a result of oppressive and exploitative policies and the Vice Chancellor, Prof. (Mrs.) Comfort M. Ekpo stands to be culpable if the demonstration of students on the fateful day of June 12, 2013 worthy of attention.
The position of students within the University system is a factor, and as such should not be handled with contempt. Uniuyo students had been grumbling over imposition of obnoxious and exploitative policies since the inception of the Prof. (Mrs.) Comfort M. Ekpo’s led administration; especially in the second half of her stay in office. It is unprofessional for her to assume that the students’ purse is the only source to generate money for the university, without being cognizance of its dire consequences.
For instance, 2012/2013 admission processes were truncated and procedures suspended to entrap the desperate “students”, just for the stringent policies to be revisited when the students had been stripped of Acceptance Fee, Restoration Fee and other levies. The situation at Uniuyo was so terrible that some faculties took advantage of the exploitation by the institution’s Management to impose their levy, e.g. Faculty of Arts Resource Centre Fee. What then was expected when the students found an outlet in the Transportation experience and also took advantage of their built-up to draw attention of the public to their situation?
The aggrieved students’ feelings were interpreted in the offices of their concentration on June 12, 2013. These were the offices of the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and the Records Unit – QED. Minor lootings were executed in the surrounding offices. The office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) was next to that of the Vice Chancellor in the same block, yet was not set ablaze. That of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) was separated from that of the Records Unit, with other offices in-between them, yet students could execute selective operations on them. Let’s reason!
A report that will cast blames only on the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Admin), the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and other principal officers, sparing the Vice Chancellor is biased, parochial and superficial, for its findings were based on only the incident of June 12, 2013, ignoring preceding instances vis-a-vis policies and leadership at the period in question. The question of who laid the “traps” is very germane to the issues and should be considered seriously for justice and thorough assessment.
Even though the Vice Chancellor advertently excused herself on the ground of absence in the day of the ugly incident, she was well informed of developments about ten hours before the demonstration was crowned by the inferno. Let’s ponder on the following questions: (1) What instructions and directives did she pass to her deputies when she heard of students’ reactions to the transport problem? (2) Did her deputies adhere to the instructions? (3) Were these instructions implemented? (4) If her ideas could not arrest the situation, is the quality of leadership not questionable? (5) If the Vice Chancellor’s orders were flouted by her deputies, what discipline did she mete out to the deputies? (6) Is her leadership not questionable, when she could not envisioned any possible reaction of the “hang-about” students who were victims of the Uniuyo 2012/2013 admission mess? (7) Is the Vice Chancellor’s competency not questionable, when nothing was in her mind for looking the “other-way” to security mattes/reports? There is not rational leeway of her to escape being removed from office. Manipulation by tears is a mere ephemeral and passing fancy.
Uniuyo students are law abiding and disciplined. Prof. Akaneren I. Essien leadership is reverend. Students in his tenure were subjected to strict discipline, yet we joyfully complied. We are not restive to authorities. But we frown at exploitation, injustice and un-objective reports. If there is any report that the Vice Chancellor is not liable to the error of June 12, 2013, such report is untenable and unacceptable to Nigeria students. And we shall not relent in our cries for JUSTICE. For in the words of Henry Thoreau, we re-echo, “in wildness is the preservation of the world”. Our cries for the removal of Prof. (Mrs.) Comfort M. Ekpo as the Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo is the voice of the blood of our national executives that died in the course of speaking for the oppressed for peace to reign. Prof. (Mrs.) Comfort M. Ekpo MUST GO!
However, it takes a liberated soul and courageous mind to make any affirmative declaration even on any superficial and parochial report owing to the “Nigerian-Factor”, intensive lobby and manipulations. So much expectations of the University Governing Council bearing in mind that within the University system, Governing Council is the highest policy making body. Members of such board are supposed to be people of high integrity and courage in view of the trust and confidence repose in them to steer the affairs of fragile and sensitive youths/future of the nation. Issues presented before them need be censored with sense of objectivity. When these standards are lowered on the issues, then anarchy is inevitable.
Greatest Nigerian Students! Aluta Continua!
Students Observers Committee.