One of the major reasons why the Ojo Aderemi-led-administration called a congress, which was later criticized as the first step which led to the suspension of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union, was to address the resolutions made during a previous congress called by the Ojo Nifemi-led-administration. A major resolution made during this period was that Uites shall not write the first semester examinations until their identity cards were ready. The Congress of Ojo Aderemi administration resolved that the resolution of the previous congress be upheld, since the interval between these two periods did not witness the distributions of identity cards to students. Thus, Uites developed the hash tag #NoIDCard #NoExam to tell the world of the inadequacies of the nation’s premier University.
The demand for the Identity cards didn’t emerge from a vacuum. It originated based on several experiences and tales from students of the University community. Students had expressed grievances on how they were harassed by security operatives due to their inability to identify themselves as students, some had lost worthy scholarship opportunities and some had encountered trouble from bank officials and transactions due to the absence of a valid student identity card. Indeed, the benefits derived from having a valid identity card are inexhaustible. Sadly, while these identity cards were paid for, the management of the University of Ibadan has till date, been unable to give to us, that which we paid for.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, during a Press Conference which was held after he had declared the closure of the undergraduate activities in the institution, following the May 29 protest, gave reasons why the school was closed and why the identity cards were yet to be produced. The VC, at the conference which had in attendance, other members of the school management explained that the school was unable to provide the cards at the appropriate time due to the development which was about to occur.
According to a report titled “Why UI was closed – VC” published by The Guardian on 5th June, 2017, Professor Idowu Olayinka was quoted to have said “We suggested that they could use their library identity card, course form or clinic identity card as a means of identification to write the exams, they kept threatening that they would not write the exams unless the identity card was produced. And, I am not a magician that will produce 30, 000 cards in a day.” The report stated further that “on the issue of the contentious identity card, the VC disclosed that the contract for its production that will last four to five years depending on the duration of the studies, has just been awarded, pointing out that the students were just looking for excuses to avoid writing the first semester examination.” Conscious reader, do well to note that the report was made in June, and we are now in the month of November. Well, happy New Year in advance.
After the school was reopened, the school management made a release, informing all undergraduate students of the process of identity cards registration. The process involved capturing of photo, signature and biometric data. To this effect, the University released a time table for data capture on Faculty basis, thereby instructing students to ensure their availability in any of their faculty days. The registration which took place between the month of August and September, witnessed the massive turn out of students at their various registration centers as they cued up in line, went in turns and complied with instructions given by the officials. Students dedicated their time, hoping to have the card as soon as possible. However, only if they would receive it tomorrow, for till date, no regular undergraduate student of the University of Ibadan has received the identity cards paid for about 2 sessions now.
Final year students are the major ones at loss here. The explanation of the Vice Chancellor indicates that the new identity card is to be valid from the day students are given till the day they graduate. But how about those who are already in their final year? Those who paid for identity cards in both previous and current session? How about the money they paid? Of what relevance will the identity cards be to them? Did you say for examinations? It should interest you that some final year students are offering just one course, some, two courses, and several others in similar figures. One can only assume that the identity cards will be of relevance to final year students upon graduation from this institution.
Now, the Students’ Union has been suspended, the ID cards are yet to be distributed (that is even if they have been produced), and the Students’ Union building is under lock thereby affecting the operations of students’ organizations. Students now live day in day out with silence on their lips, fears in their hearts and hopelessness in their minds. Nonetheless, while we may not be able to protest the delay in ID card production and distribution, the management of the University of Ibadan must admit that they are indebted to the students, for they possess that which is theirs. It is high time the University informed us on the true state of things, it is time for accountability, it is high time we received our identity cards.
Till next week… Stay Focused, Stay Conscious.