D-DAY IN UNILAG
The 6th of June 2014 marked the 70th year remembrance of the invasion of Normandy which was under the control of theGermans by the western allied forces (United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Free French Forces, Poland, Australia, Free Belgian forces, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Free Czechoslovak forces & Greece) commonly known as the D-Day. Prominent World leaders across the globe like Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Queen Elizabeth II and even Vladmir Putin of Russia converged in France to commemorate and pay tributes to those who died on a day that changed the world. This significant date was also a memorable day for the students of UNILAG. It was a day that students woke up in anger over the draconial fees imposed on the students. #25,000 Naira for late registration, #5,000 to edit course form, #1,000 for GST textbooks these were the major issues that sparked the protests although other issues such as the absence of a student union government, sale of only bottled water in some eatries on campus, and inadequate hostel facilities were also on the list of the students’ grievances.
It indeed was a D-Day in UNILAG as some hall Chairmen who were not discouraged by the body language of the other hall chairmen with other concerned students started mobilizing students from various halls of residence, classes, library even those in the middle of a test that cold morning to join the protest. The school gates were shut to prevent vehicular movements and outsiders who might want to hijack the protest to satisfy their ulterior motives. Though the VC was said to be in far away Abuja the students who thronged the Senate building sent a strong message across to the school management on that great day. That this iPhone generation still has I.Q and so therefore the school cannot make insensitive decisions without considering the factors and realities on ground.
The late registration penalty may sound as good law but if you look at it introspectively you would discover its pitfalls, first of all students are not always sure of the courses to register in some cases the course adviser may give out the wrong course code and later discover his error when the registration period has elapsed, others may want to change a course because the manner and way the lecturer has been handling it, the lecturer may not show up for 7-8 weeks into the semester or he might have a very nasty attitude and this reminds me of an incident in the science faculty where a lecturer compelled students to bleat like goats in class for no reason. The lecturer moved from table to table to ensure everyone was bleating and the only young man who refused to bleat was sent out of the class and to compound issues after the class a mature student of about 40 years of age told the young man who refused to bleat that “is it not just to say mee! mee!” that is what a man of about forty years had to say, these are cogent reasons that may prompt course change. Then the GST books that students were forced to purchase as a pre-requisite for the GST exams was another way of extorting from students who have already spent so much on school fees, insurance , hostel fees, textbooks and other miscellaneous expenses.
The School management has now stated that they would yank off the late registration and course editing fee to allow students register on the portal. They also promised to refund the monies of those who have paid the late registration and for GST books. The modalities that would be employed by the school authorities in doing all these are still unknown, but we hope Monday’s meeting between the school management and students would be a fruitful one.
The school management now has to step up their game by ensuring that their policies are in the best interest of the students because without the students there would be no school in the first place. Also the office of the Dean of Students Affairs, should be more sensitive to the condition of the students they are employed to serve. If the council of presidents want to keep their mouth sealed because of the promises they got in whispering palms, fine! But the students of UNILAG would not sleep on their rights!
D-DAY IN UNILAG