“I know no safe depository of ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” – Thomas Jefferson.

Good things have been recorded in the history of the University of Ibadan from the distance learning to opening of the educational resource centre and reinstatement of a one-time expelled student of Geology department. It is really good to see the first university soaring in its race to even beat the world’s best. This eulogy is not enough for the institution’s effort to make the world proud of it. At least, if everything is best in Nigeria like football match, food price and the security balderdash, we can still be proud of one last hope – the education we are struggling to get.
Education has now caused trouble in the land. In universities today, if your lecturer teaches you a thing, that does not allow you to practice such on him and you can do so if it doesn’t affect him. No matter how good messages are and no matter what you’re told in class, just read and pour them during examinations – that’s a sign of a good student. You can then throw the shell at the school when you graduate. The education we have today is more unlike what they had. Apart from freedom of expression, students are made into robots, to follow any information given. All these atrocities may not be from the school management, but there is greater issue to discuss concerning this power house.

In 2016, an article was written by a student journalist who was later invited for questioning at the student affairs. The article which was supposed to be a clarion call on the decision of the management fell on the wrong side of the soil as he was told twice to provide reasons why he shouldn’t be punished; at least, that was lenient enough. Since then, the case was left steaming until after two years and he was rusticated for two semesters. Meanwhile, everything written in the article was not wrong.

I don’t need to bore you with what the article is about, but we need to really understand what should have been done. I am not teaching the authority her job, but from my wealth of knowledge and as a good son of reasons, since everyone has his own discretion, information by education is still the next thing other than rustication based on gross misconduct. What is really this gross misconduct we have always been hearing? Many have read this article written by Kunle Adebajo but have seen no form of misconduct even though it is a gross alarm, but his offense was vulgar, disgusting, coarse misconduct to UI management. Obviously, halls of residence at this particular time were suffering from some structural damages which needed to be attended to; meanwhile, maybe the management was planning things step by step.

It is only beleaguering that we are yet to know what the definition of gross misconduct means in the students’ handbook – any offense committed unlisted in the handbook may be summed up to be gross misconduct. Meanwhile, for some years now, students have never been given this said handbook – the itinerary for UI voyagers. It is impossible for a lawful state to withhold her own bible since she wants the people to follow her own rule. Nobody knows the dos and don’ts of the university until when someone is being punished, meanwhile, such punishment meted out to this student journalist was just a bundle for his craftiness. When everyone was afraid of talking, many were shivering when they held their pen; he decided to visit every home that has its contribution to the development and it was read that many of them were eager to supply information, hoping if the opinion was written in paper, the authority would have a rethink. Many things written in that article were voices of those he met and interviewed, unfortunately, he turned out to be the sacrificial lamb and soldiers jabbing him with arrow to draw his blood dry.

Had it been that he has abused the constitutional power, the very best is not to take the power but to teach him how to use the power rightly. Freedom has been snatched in all spheres, this is why, even in the academia, students find it difficult to address anything. By creating this kind of infertile ground, things get damaged each day. Abraham Lincoln once said “don’t interfere with anything in the constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties”.

This call may look ugly to anyone that reads this, but we should know that the cry of a baby does not need a sofa note. The management has always been trying in quelling of irresponsible acts on campus. If expelling and rusticating students are the only punishments left, I will only say that the university should have a rethink of what she wants to raise students for – in character and learning. If a student commits a crime and gets expelled, it will later be what goes around comes around. These kind of students, if they are not repentant, there is no way the future won’t be written without them. Then what is the character and learning about? What Kunle Adebajo wrote was an open challenge which was saner enough. It will only be exemplary enough of the management which other schools watch to judge their own cases to come in a milder way other than rustication.

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