By Amaka Abayomi
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has joined the call for the immediate opening of the Lagos State University (LASU) for academic activities, adding that the only guarantee of a smooth academic calendar is for the legitimate grievances of the staff unions to be addressed as quickly as possible.
According to the National Coordinator, ERC, Mr. Hassan Soweto, as far as the ERC is concerned, there is no justifiable reason to continue to keep students and staff at home even after the general elections which were the ostensible reason given for the closure have now come and gone.
“We therefore urge the Lagos State government and university’s Governing Council to order the opening of the varsity so that academic activities can resume forthwith. “The seemingly unending crisis in LASU that has led to this unfortunate closure is actually a product of two factors:
One, the characteristic highhandedness and abuses of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Obafunwa, whose style of administration is more in line with the despotic style of running military garrisons than an academic environment, and two, the agenda hatched sometimes last year to deal with all those, including students, members of staff and unions, that participated in the victorious struggle for reversal of hiked fees.
“Bearing this in mind, we strongly consider as irresponsible and suggestive of complicity, never mind arrogant, recent statements credited to the Lagos State Government through the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Fatai Olukoga in which he claimed that staff and students unions in LASU are the cause of the closure.
“The Special Adviser, at a media briefing, made the following uncharitable comments: (1) that ‘the problem of LASU is just overbearance of our unions’ (2) that ‘government would no longer tolerate indiscipline on the part of the students, lecturers and other stakeholders in the institution’ and (3) that ‘the delay in opening the school is the fault of LASU unions and Students Union, unless they go back and have a sense of reasoning before the school will be reopened’.