Important protest messages from Greece
By Isiaka Adegbile, (one of the victimised students, OAU, Ile-Ife, Nigeria)
The negotiations between the Student Union at OAU and the University authorities that were scheduled for last Friday failed. After the protests on Thursday, June 5, the students thought there would be a meaningful outcome from the negotiations, but these were stalemated when the VC, professor Roger Makanjuola insisted that only the university governing council can reverse or review the question of fees. This infuriated the students on that campus and a student congress was fixed for Monday, June 9, 2003. The mood was so angry that it was termed the "mother of all congresses".
Once the students had been informed that the negotiations had been stalemated because of the above reasons the following resolution was passed:
1) That the students embark on a lecture/registration boycott on Tuesday June 10, to put more pressure on the university authorities and force them to negotiate on fees with the aim of getting them reduced.
2) That the victimised students' union leaders, the president Akinkunmi Olawoyin and others be reinstated immediately and unconditionally.
3) That the date of registration be extended pending the outcome of the negotiations
4) That the union leaders are still the democratically elected union leaders and remain so.
5) After the 24-hour ultimatum the welfare conditions on campus must be improved with the provision of stable water and electricity supplies, and that there should be provision of water storage tanks in the halls of residence.
The resolution was also backed up again with a mass demo round the academics areas to enforce the congressional resolution with the aim of paralysing all activities on campus. Tuesday's (June10) activities are expected to be very effective with some form of paralysis of vehicular movement.
The students are actively involving the workers on the campus in their struggle and so the unions on the campus have been invited to the negotiation table as observers. These include the representatives of the academic staff union of university (ASUU), the non-academic staff union (NASU), senior staff of the university (SSANU) and the technicians union (ASSUTON).
Meanwhile the VC has consented to another meeting on fees and it is scheduled to take place on Wednesday June 11. As opposed to last time, the student union is hoping to mobilise the students to the venue of the meeting, in order to mount pressure on the university authorities.
We are still demanding that students and workers all over the world put pressure on the VC so that he cooperates with the student union and agrees to negotiate, to reduce the fees, and to lift all measures of victimisation of the student union leaders and activist involved ion this struggle.
We would particularly extend our gratitude to the Pakistani MPs who have sent protest letters to the OAU authorities, as well as the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign, and also to our young comrades in Canada who responded so quickly. We also extend a thank you to the important protest messages sent to the VC of OAU (see below) from trade union leaders and youth in Greece and from the Spanish School Students' Union. These messages do play a role in making the authorities aware of the fact that the Ife students are not isolated and that the workers and youth of the world are following our struggle.
June 9, 2003
Keep sending protest letters to:
Vice chancellor, Prof ROA Makanjuola,
Obafemi Awolowo University,
Ile-Ife, Osun state,
NOTE: In a previous article we gave an email address for the President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo. This is no longer working and we suggest you look up your local Nigerian Embassy and send protest messages also to the Nigerian Ambassador in your country demanding that he intervene to bring an end to the repressive measures being applied at the OAU, Ile-Ife.
Send copies in BCC to the email address of the Editorial Board of the Workers' Alternative, email@example.com so that the students on the ground can be informed of the campaign.
Protest letter from Greek Trade Union leaders and youth
To the Vice-Chancellor,
Dear vice chancellor,
It has come to our knowledge that the students at Obafemi Awolowa University are protesting and demonstrating against the increase in fees. And being a Vice Chancellor instead of solving the problem of the students you and your administration have suspended Akinwumi Olawoyin and other students. We believe that this action is unjust and unfair, because the students have the democratic right to protest against the increase in fees.
We demand that the increase in the fees should be immediately taken back and the students who have been suspended should be restored to their relevant departments/classes, otherwise we will start a campaign against this unacceptable action in all the workers' organisations and parties in Europe.
Member of the Executive Committee
of the Athens Trades Council.
Tsitonis Takis, Member of the National Executive Committee of the Greek Archaeological Sites Workers Union.
Dimarogonas Dimos, Member of the National Executive Committee of the Greek Federation of Unions in the Ministry of Culture
Nikakis Dimitris, Vice President of the Shop Workers' Union
Nikolaou Martha, Member of the Executive Committee of the Shop Workers' Union
Polatos Dionisios, Member of the Executive Committee of the Shipyard Workers' Union
Milonas Elias, Olympic Catering Workers' Union
Thanos George, Olympic Airways Union
Karigianis Leonidas, Member of the Athens Trade Council Unemployed Workers' Committee
Voulis Dimitris, Ex-Chairman of the National Ambulance Workers' Union
Kanelopoulou Christina, Member of the PASOK Athens Youth Committee.
Karagianopoulos Stamatis, PASOK Youth, B4 District Committee
Gougoussis Spiros, Editor of the "Sosialistiki Ekfrasi" newspaper
Doulos Orestis, PASOK Youth
Sapranidis Nikos, PASOK Youth
Karaiskos Theodoros, PASOK member
Bouras Kostas, PASOK member
June 09, 2003
Spanish School Students' Union (Sindicato Estudiantes)
sends message of protest to OAU authorities in Nigeria
Vicerrector de OAU,
Sr. ROA Makanjoula
En Madrid a 10 de Junio de 2003.
Dña. Miriam Municio Castellano, como secretaria general del Sindicato de Estudiantes de España y en representación de dicha organización exige:
La Universidad Obafemi Awolowo no debe subir las tasas así como no se debe de llevar a cabo ninguna represalia contra los estudiantes que se han movilizado contra dicha subida.
Los estudiantes compañeros del Sindicato de Estudiantes de Nigeria Akinwumi Olawoyin (presidente de dicho sindicato), Isiaka Adebgile, Ekundayo Fadugba (relaciones exterioes del sindicato), Asan Abass (portavoz parlamentario) y Olugbenga Adewale no deben ser sancionados por lo que se deberá retirar los expedientes abiertos contra ellos.
Sin más asuntos que tratar:
Secretaria General del Sindicato de Estudiantes de España.
Madrid, June 10, 2003
As the general secretary of the Spanish School Students' Union, I, Miriam Municio Castellano, demand that:
The Obafemi Awolowo University should not increase student fees, neither should it impose repressive measures against those students who have mobilised against these increases.
Those comrade students of the Student Union in Nigeria (Ife)Akinwumi Olawoyin (president), Isiaka Adebgile, Ekundayo Fadugba (relaciones exterioes del sindicato), Asan Abass (portavoz parlamentario) y Olugbenga Adewale must not be victimised, therefore we are calling on all sanctions against these students to be lifted.
General Secretary of the Spanish School Students' Union