Q: there were some protests,(one relating to sachet water and the other as regards food prices),can you tell us how it originated i.e the story behind the protest?
A: I belong to the Association that has to meet with the school authority once in a while to discuss the welfare of students on campus and here student leaders meet with school authority and issues that come up includes pricing of commodities on campus,how they are not well regulated enough in our opinions and a couple of other matters, and the school told us many other times that they were looking into it and we had meetings where they said pure water is now 5naira but they had issues with enforcing it. They will say one thing and outside,something else is happening. So maybe you can come from this background to know that the protest did not just start all by itself, it came after several meetings and deliberation with the school authority.
Q: How was it organised?
A: it wasn’t organised. It resulted from a spontaneous situation in Mariere Hall. It came as a result of a simple transaction between Me and Iya Ife’s shop downstairs (Mariere). I just refused to pay 10naira for pure water or 110naira for something I knew could go as little as 100naira which is even now 90naira, and then a couple of people who had it in their hearts too as soon as they saw me arguing with her, rushed to join us which means it was in the hearts of many people,I didn’t have to announce. So when people gathered, we resolved the issue and eventually the Hall Chairman of Mariere who must be given a lot of credit organised a meeting at 4pm on that day to talk about price in Mariere Hall, it was after that meeting that people decided that we need to go round the school and actually tell everybody that, okay we have had enough of the thing, and I followed through but of course because I was one of the people who began it,in fact i was the one who made the transaction, lots of people attributes the protest to have come from me
Q: are you giving more credit to Mariere Hall than the council of presidents?
A: (you want to start another controversy) yes, its Mariere. It started from here; another member of the Council I.e, one of the presidents stay here also, Mohammed from faculty of Business Administration but because there are two presidents in Mariere doesn’t mean It started from the council. It started from here, we just happened to be Mariere boys and we just happened to be presidents.
Q: How was it resolved?
A: it was resolved because it wasn’t a dispute,it was a simple protest. It was a protest which involved the deputy dean of student affairs, as soon as we were leaving Mariere, I made a phone call to the Deputy D.S.A, telling him that we are carrying out a peaceful protest but I would like him to come and join us because it would be nice to have him around and there would be an eye witness to the situation and he joined us, that made everything even more peaceful because we went round all the hostels and he talked to us at different spots, and he promised that we will have a meeting the following monday.
Q: what would you say about the news of your impeachment has chairman of Council of Faculty presidents, do you admit all their allegations or you see it as a conspiracy laced with Malice?
A: first and foremost, the allegations were in my opinion unsubstantiated. Am just very happy that we don’t even have any bank account or any money thing to do,I can imagine what this would have turned out to be. However, even as it is, its serious enough because it made a lot of people ask me questions and say “hey be careful with this people”. First thing I would like to say is that, their Number one allegation that I claimed that they did not have much of a role to play in the protest, something like saying I didn’t accord them due recognition for the protest, my response to that, is that am sorry but the truth is: it emanated from Mariere and we ought to give glory to whom it is due. Yes Mariere hall chairman my number one person who was part of this and residents of Mariere Hall, Baluba kingdom. We always say we set the pace and we did that in the protest.
The second allegation was that I granted unnecessary interviews. That is completely false. In fact, this is the second interview am having, the first one was made after the allegation was made which I had with Unilag Press Club. All the other news papers who reported this thing, had hearsay evidence. You cannot find a newspaper that would say,in an interview with Seun Lari-williams, you will hear one seun Lari-Williams said this and did that, so, it was just false. It was rather unfair, I felt very unhappy. What even made it worse for me was that this same council were not happy that the president of the Country tried to change our name without following due process, and they woke up one morning, a tuesday morning and have a so-called emergency secret meeting and sent a broadcast saying I have been removed. They know nothing of due process and i’m ashamed at the council in that regard, but am not taking it up with them at all. It is not exactly a recognised body in the university, so its no use. Its just a Social gathering of friends trying to just fight for the welfare of the people.
Q: any other thing you would like us to know?
A: well, concerning the protest,I feel if anybody thinks of carrying out a protest, they ought to follow proper mechanisms first. It is the failure of this mechanisms that should lead to a protest. For example, if you are unhappy about the state of affairs,you ought to write the school authority, ought to go and report to the D.S.A or write to the Vice chancellor or complain about it, the protest itself is something that should come as a last resort. You shouldn’t just get up and say okay, let us protest. But am also hoping that the school authority don’t leave us in the dark, if there is no light and it is because of something, let us know, if there is something been planned about something somewhere, let us know. Its until when protest happens they come out and tell us, “but we are working,it is this and that”. But we don’t know and there is nothing we can do. They should respond a little bit faster also.
This interview is courtesy the tireless work of Temitope Odeyinka