Some students of Obafemi Awolowo University, branding themselves as “concerned students” have kicked against the possible visit of the the current Chief of Defence Staff of Nigeria, Lucky Irabor to their campus.
In a statement sent to Ogunwatch on Saturday, the students said the presence of the Army head was persona non granta owing to the part he played in the massacre of #Endsars protesters in Lekki.
The students also said in the statement that they “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 it’s 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.
Meanwhile, when Ogunwatch reached out to OAU students union about the development, Aworanti Salvation, the Vice President, said she didn’t find anything wrong with the Army leader being an alumnus of the school paying a visit to his alma mata: “Well, it is within their civil right to be agitated. But, the Chief of Defence Staff being around is not out of place being an alumnus of the institution. Also, doing the renovation should not be seen as an improper thing to do because it’s a form of his donation to the enhancement of the students’ body.”
The statement partly reads: “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”, they added.
“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 on going 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 resonates with the popular Latin slogan we use on the campus: A luta continua!”
“That is why it is such an unforgiveable aberration that these new set of executives have engraved the name of a man who is in the top echelons of the Nigeria Army, an institution that has perpetrated injustices from time immemorial, on the sacred walls of our union building. Just recently this same Gen. Lucky Irabor, without any remorse, casted aspersions on the Lagos End SARS panel which sought justice for the massacred protesters at Lekki and other parts of Lagos.”
“Greatest Ife! This shows that the Great Ife Students’ Union which used to pride itself as the most radical union in Sub-Saharan Africa, has been adulterated by a set of executives who know the principles of the union, but decided to skip those principles (probably for ulterior interests). Historically, the union has dissociated itself from personalities who have no radical antecedents, especially politicians and officers benefiting directly from the oppressive system of government.”
“The executives of the union has 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.”