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Yesterday's Tomorrow

The carried-over questions that must be answered

The carried-over questions that must be answered

“I don’t think anyone is happier than I’m now that JAC has called off its strike.”

“Point of correction they didn’t call off the strike; they suspended it – for five weeks. They will not hesitate to resume the strike if the government reneges on the agreements reached or delays in any aspects. I read their Press release.”

“Whatever. I’m sha happy about the development.”

“You are happy? What’s thrilling about it? Because I don’t seem to understand you.

“Home has been boring. I just need a break away from home. And besides, it’s three months since the strike began. Isn’t that good news enough, ehn?”

“Good news my foot! It is not a good news until there is a full and proper implementation of their 2009 Agreements with the federal government as well as the various Memoranda of Terms of Settlements. Then we can be sure we will not be stricken by their strikes for long. Else it is as good as postponing the evil day.”

“Well, be that as it may, resumption is underway. At least you know each time the VC rolls out a piece like the one he recently rolled out, resumption is in sight.”

“Talking about the VC’s release, it baffles me a lot.”

“Well, that’s your headache. Nurse it yourself.”

“Is it out of place to question something the VC says?”

“See I’m not sure I’m ready to start what I can’t finish. A year is all I have left. I don’t want it tripled.”

“Coward. Tell me: what then is the essence of your whole years in the university when you can’t speak truth to power.”

“Speak truth to power? In this University? Wait first; to who? Count me out.”

“I’m baffled about your fear. As much as I’m not in support of insolence or tactless backlashes on our in loco parentis, I hate it when anyone shies away from telling the truth – irrespective of whoever’s ox is gored.”

“You sha want to put yourself in trouble! Be careful o. Don’t say I didn’t say my own.”

“But the VC himself wrote on his Facebook wall that deliberate efforts have to be made to develop graduates core skills like critical and analytical skills creative problems. How else does one develop these skills if not by asking questions?”

“You can do that in class. Ask your lecturers or your friends. Not the management. Not the VC…”

“Why? Because he is a Prof? Or because he is infallible?”

“Isn’t that a long yardstick?”

“Indeed. By the way, why isn’t he always quick to speak to the students when either party seems aggrieved? Facebook is almost becoming his mouthpiece.”

“Have you forgotten that these days, we are not just always online, we live online?”

“Meaning we enrolled on Facebook, abi? Or is UI University of Internet on Facebook? So much that we must go there to know what is on the VC’s mind.”

“Ah! You are stepping out of bounds! You may have freedom of speech, remember; freedom after a speech is not guaranteed, however.”

“During Adewole’s stint in UI, when students are at loggerheads with the management he comes out to address them. When have you seen Olayinka do same? When?”

“My last statement still stands. Besides he did that – I’m not sure if I will be correct by saying he does that – on Diamond FM during the #FreeMote saga.”

“If that is the case, our mission of baking graduates who are ‘worthy in character and sound judgment’ is a farce. So, I feel UI needs a change of mantra.”

“For you to be worthy in character you must not be disrespectful to the elders. Respect is reciprocal.”

“And disrespect is reciprocal, too.”

“That sounds disrespectful. I’m sure you know.”

“Disrespectful? By asking a question or providing your own version of the solution to the school’s troubles?”

“I won’t answer that!”

“Read this!”

“Universities would not exist without students. Students are at the heart of the academic enterprise. It is worth remembering that some of the earliest universities, in medieval Italy, were established and managed by students.”

“Wait. Pause there. Oya, read on.”

“In the 21st century, in the era of massification, students are often seen as burdens, customers, or sources of income, but seldom as the key rationale for the university.”

Clap yourself! That’s where some of the problems sleep.”

“Those are Prof. Philip G. Altbach’s words, not mine!”

“Exactly my point. At least it is contained in your textbook, not mine.”

“And so?”

“The essence of these discoveries is to implement them and not make them breathe on book pages while they are dead in reality.”

“Well, for the first time today, I agree with you.”

“Good for you. Beyond that, in that same post, students were called ultimate losers. They were also told not to unduly prolong the academic calendar. I may agree with the former. As for the latter, it can’t hold much air talk more water.”

“What do you mean?”

“For instance, look at the case of ID card delay. Till date, only a few have gotten their ID cards. And in fact, those that have gotten theirs were not given what the school promised.”

“What did the school promise?”

“They promised us an e-card that is multipurpose and standard. Yet, they can’t fulfill it after two years. What do you call that?”

“Again, I agree. 100%.”

“Yet, to the management students are still seen as small boys who are immature to think for themselves talk more think for the larger society. Or was it not with our ears we heard that the Students’ Union President had no beard? Tell me, of what connection is the beard and maturity?”

“But we don’t have anyone to report or complain to.”

“Yes, maybe you are right. But be that as it may, for them not to trust our mental capacity to solve problems then we also should question the relevance of the lessons they teach us in class.”

“Yes. Indeed you have raised a valid point. This act has, by a wide margin, crippled students self-esteem and confidence. Especially me.”

“That is why we must continue to ask the right questions. But remember your thinking cap must not be tilted when you are doing so.”

“It must be straight and upright.”

“Exactly. Take a look at the acceptance fee new intakes had to pay. No explanation. No pity. No consultation. Nothing.”

“I heard of a boy who couldn’t raise the fee before the deadline. He had to forfeit his admission.”

“Again, we suspect the possibility of increment in our school fee as well as accommodation fee. We’ve always been told time and again that we are not paying school fee. School fee is free, and that we lucky to make it into this University.”

“I only hope the increment will not come alive.”

“If eventually, it does, there will be no address as to why the increase has to stand. It is just a change we are expected to adapt to immediately by accepting without questioning. Well, would you blame them?”

“I think they have to understand that they, too, can be wrong. Irrespective of their age, status, experience, position, degree or degree, they are not infallible.”

“Add to that, and that we the students may not have it all but we have never lost it all.”

“Of course. Do they have it all either?”

“Well, their body language claims they do.”

“See, let’s talk about something else.”

“Book of life!”

“Imagine, 512 students have been tsunamized out of the school.”

“Ah! About one-sixth of the newly admitted students. This is terrible. Blame the students as you like, the aftermath of incessant strike actions is part of what is playing out here.”

“Zoology is the worst hit. Many are out of Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine too”

“Poor souls. The Minister of Education is the smartest Minister and most brilliant decision maker of all-time. He deserves a fresh bunch of banana for scrapping Post UTME. He must be proud of himself by now.”

“I still feel the leaking of the document called Book of Life is one of the holes in our school’s system. How a confidential document leaks few minutes after the Senate sits on the result is astonishing?”

“Maybe there are snitches in there. For every twelve, you know…”

“There is always a Judas.”

“Another big discourse you’ve just raised. We can’t exhaust it words.”

“You can’t be more correct. If this discussion was to stroll into the ears of these so-called eggheads, one can only imagine what will be its aftermath.”

“I think it is high time we implored an all-inclusive running of the school system – where everyone plays a role in maintaining the system. A system where we see each other not as foes in forwardness but, partners in progress.”

“Hmmm. The question is are we ready for that?”

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I, Bayode Otitokoro, fell in love with the truth from childhood. My mantra is: in an unjust society silence is a crime. With satire, I will clad my society in the attire of sanity.

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