Students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, have declared the Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor “persona non grata” on the campus while also rejecting the plan to name the Students Union Building after him.
The students under the umbrella of Concerned Great Ife Students, in a release on Friday wondered why the Ife Students Union leadership would have gone out of the norms to honour a man “who made gesture of Nigerians that were killed during EndSARS in Lagos State and went further to make mockery and cast aspersions on EndSARS panels who were demanding justice for the victims in the state.”
The students said, “It is unforgiveable aberration that these new sets of executives have engraved the name of a man who is in the top echelon of the Nigeria Army, an institution that has perpetrated injustices from time immemorial, on the sacred walls of our union building.
READ ALSO: Petrol can’t sell lower than N510, NNPC
“Just recently, this same General Lucky Irabor, without any remorse, casted aspersions on the Lagos EndSARS panel which sought justice for the massacred protesters at Lekki and other parts of Lagos.” Titled: “Gen. Lucky Irabor Is Not Welcome On OAU Campus,” the students vowed that his presence would be totally resisted by the mass of students.
The statement reads, “To start with, it is sacrosanct at this point to condemn the inscriptions of ‘peace and leadership centre’ on the walls of the Students’ Union Building. There’s no peace where there is relation to injustice, because peace in its real sense is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice. Therefore, the ‘Peace and leadership centre’ must be removed with immediate effect. Great Ife students’ union is a pressure group, not an NGO nor a charity foundation. Those into such activities amongst the executives should not mix it with the ideas of the union.
“Speaking of justice, the Great Ife Students Union Building was named after Ken Saro-Wiwa whose lasts words were “…the struggle continues” to symbolise the ongoing fight for an egalitarian society where the resources of the nation will be used to cater for the needs of all be they small or great; young or old. Those last words of his resonate with the popular Latin slogan we use on the campus: Aluta continua.”
They regretted that the Students Union leadership chose some cosmetic renovation of the SUB over the challenges the students were facing on the campus and off.
The students cited reports of colleagues in Fajuyans fetching well water because the university authorities could not provide potable pipe borne water to different blocks in the halls of residence, the skyrocketing prices of commodities and extortions of bus drivers.
“The executives of the union have exposed their intellectual bankruptcy as they admitted that the noble activist, Ken Saro wiwa (who was gruesomely murdered by the abacha military junta) is worthy to be honored by the union and also chose to honor Lucky Irabor who serves in the same military that unjustly killed the activist.
“The gross insensitivity of these union officers is that the commissioning coincides with the 27th anniversary of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s brutal murder by the Abacha junta. As concerned Great Ife students we posit that the union should have held a commemoration for Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 8 murdered for fighting environmental degradation and exploitation by multinational companies.
“A vibrant union would have called for post mortem exoneration and also held a rally to increase awareness about climate change a burning issue of the 21st century. Rather than inscribe the name of an impenitent general who defends the Nigeria military after they victimise social justice crusaders like Ken Saro Wiwa and End SARS protesters.”
“We hereby reiterate that General Lucky Irabor is not welcome on campus and his presence will be totally resisted by the mass of ever conscious Great Ife students.”