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Education Rights Campaign (ERC) Condemns The Stand of Futarians on The Lingering Futa Crisis.

With the ongoing crisis of the Federal University of Technology Akure, Comrade Owot Owoyomi Damilola Coordinator of the Ondo State Education Rights Campaign (ERC), gave a statement to condemn the stand of futa students on the crisis... his report read:
"ERC CONDEMNS THE POSITION OF STUDENTS ON THE ONGOING FUTA CRISIS.
  • Calls for a rational decision of students
  • For a solidarity support of every single student
  • Demands immediate intervention of the Federal Government
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) Ondo State Chapter  condemns the position of the students in the ongoing crisis at the Federal University of Technology,  Akure (FUTA), where the members of the NASU,  SSANU & NAAT,  organized under the Joint Action Committee (JAC),  are protesting in demand for the removal of the Vice Chancellor,  Prof.  Gregory 'biyi Daramola who has been alleged of financial misappropriation. It can be recalled that the VC was invited by the EFCC on the 4th day of October, 2016, to answer questions on the financial misappropriation allegation filled against him by the Auditor General of the federation.  

According to the extant rule guiding all public office holders which states that “any public servant under investigation must be under indefinite suspension pending the time he/she will be proven innocent or guilty". It can also be recalled that this same section has been used by the VC himself on 3 arrested FUTA students early March. Hence,  ERC believes that the VC should not be above the law and should voluntarily place himself under indefinite suspension until he has been proven innocent of the financial misdeeds. 

However,  our attention has also been drawn towards the incidence of buggary at the university yesterday,   21/12/16, where the Students Union president,  Oladele Solar,  among others was reportedly arrested for trying to get into a locked office. While other sources have pontificated that the members of the JAC tortured the said union officers but here are some facts ERC is able to gather from the contrasting information;
  1. JAC is on protest and administrative offices were shut
  1. The DSA wanted to meet with the students union in his office
  1. The office was found locked by members of the JAC
  1. The Dean instructed that the door should be forced-opened
  1. Students union leaders tried to force the door open
  1. JAC noticed them and got them arrested for bugling attempt
Hence,  ERC poses a question to all students that “assuming it was during a students' protest that someone tries to force-open a door locked by the students,  what will the students do? "

It is high time we stopped been biased and sentimental and face the reality. Truly when 2 elephants fight,  the grass there suffers.  Yet,  the crisis in FUTA calls for a radical thinking. ERC considers corruption as an obstacle towards development of public education in Nigeria.

Hence,  students need to take a critical look into the corrupt allegations of the VC.  Instead of taking side on either party,  it is very imperative to start the process of calling on the intervention of the federal government to this by the use of social media,  organized movements and rally of students.  This will go a long way to immediately attract the attention of the federal government.  

While the laboratory equipment are not enough,  the university library is getting outdated,  there are no enough hostel accommodation, and also students welfare has continue to degrade,  the VC has reportedly continued to siphon and fritter away the university funds on frivolous gifts,  payment of housing allowance when in government house,  use public funds to finance private expenses and more.

Why shouldn't the greatest FUTARIANS start to capitalize on this opportunity to demand that the looted funds should be reversed and used properly to attend to students needs on campus?Why shouldn’t the student start calling in the federal government to immediately attend to FUTA crisis in an attempt to hasten her resumption?Why shouldn’t students join in the campaign against corruption and looting of university funds?Why shouldn’t students join the campaign for justice?Why shouldn’t students join the demand for democratic running of institution were both staff and students will have a say in the running of the university?Why shouldn’t students join the campaign for a free and functional education at all levels?Why shouldn’t students embrace socialism which is the only long lasting solution to the issue of corruption in NIGERIA?This and more are some of the radical questions we at ERC poses to all FUTARIAN. 

While the senate of the university have gone ahead to approve a new calendar for the institution amidst crisis,  we should ask them firstly to resolve the issue on ground as students cannot resume in such a crisis-filled FUTA community.

We should as well ask the DSA why he has cloned a new website if it is not an attempt to quickly accumulate the fees of students and change the story when the original website arise again.  We should also question the legitimacy of the new portal if it has come when the original FUTA website is under a cyber attack and even during this period of disagreement in the school.  We should also question the SU president on his plans and ideas to ensure the jan3 resumption rather than blindly believing in such an illusion. 

Hence,   ERC calls on a radical approach of student comrades and activists toward resumption of FUTA and not to take side with any of the parties. 

We also call in the federal government,  who have of course claimed to  be fighting corruption,  to immediately rise up to intervene into the. FUTA crisis before things get out of hand.  We also charge the students’ leaders to start mobilizing students for mass campaigns to immediately draw the attention of the federal government rather than turning the students against the JAC. 

JAC should also start linking their demands toward the ones that will benefit the FUTA community rather than just the removal of the VC as this may not solve all the problem on ground. 

While we continue to fight against corruption in NIGERIA,  It is necessary to note that it is until the running of university is democratic under the control of staff and students that the problems of corruption can be totally eradicated in our various institutions. 

Com.  Owoyomi Damilola OwotOndo State CoordinatorEducation Rights Campaign (ERC) 07065184322[email protected]"

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