It is not uncommon to hear People refer to the Students Union in the University of Ilorin as a “toothless Bulldog”,while this is usually said in a sneering,insulting Manner,I consider it a very good thing that the Union has been able to perform its Duties very commendably well even “without Teeth”,especially when one considers that those “teethful” Unions have routinely inflicted grievous Bites on themselves,the Students and Society at large in the Course of their much celebrated “Aluta”
Students Unionism in Nigeria has been characterized to a large Extent by militancy and anti-social Activities,routinely resulting in the Death of Students and the destruction of Properties and Infrastructure,oftentimes to the detriment of the Students themselves.Although these Crises are mostly borne out of Demonstrations with legitimate Bases,they are usually escalated into full-Scale Riots by Miscreants and the volatile Nature of Youthful Emotions,these;when considered alongside the grossly unprofessional Attitude of Nigeria’s security Forces,makes one begin to realize that it is extremely unreasonable and irresponsible of Students to persistently engage in an Activity that has consistently turned out to be one of Futility…and Regret.
Examples of the Futility of these Riots are manifold in Nigeria today;see Ahmadu Ali,the Villain in the (in)famous “Ali must go” Protests of 1978,where a number of Students lost their Lives in the shut down Universities across the Country for Months,Protests that were sparked off in response to a marginal Increase in Sch,today;Ali has not gone anywhere,Ali is now the Chairman,National Universities Commission,and Students pay between 30,000 and 200,000 Naira in Federal and State Universities. Recently in EKSU,A Student;a known Cultist was knocked down while trying to extort Money from a Motorist,his eventual Death resulted in a Fracas on the Campus,where University and private Properties were destroyed including the School Farm,which was broken into and Animals and Poultry carted away to be feasted on through the Night,while partying and dancing,this highlights the usual disconnection between the stated Cause of a Crisis and the true Motives behind it.
Scholars have provided four methods of managing crises. These are: the use of violence and coercion, bargaining and negotiation,
problem solving and mediation,at UNILORIN, the SUG takes the second Approach;they listen to the Students,through the normal Channels and by taking Time to attend Faculty Congresses(I know of my Faculty),then make Representations of these to the Vice-Chancellor in regular Meetings with him,Ironing Issues out and solving Problems before they get critical Mass to deteriorate into Crises. So far,they have had many tremendous Successes in impacting the Students positively,most notable of which is the SUG Buses Initiative,which has done a lot to ameliorate the transportation Issues in the University.
So,I thank God for placing me in a School where the SUG has enough self-Control not to bare its Teeth at every Provocation,nor even bark unnecessarily and I hope that the SUGs of certain other Institutions take a Cue from the UNILORIN SUG,tame their rabid Behavior and embrace reasonableness in their Dealings with Authorities,Militancy has not been working,try bargaining and Negotiation;it works…we know.