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By Abideen Muhammed Ayomide
A 500 level student of university of Ibadan in the department of law, Kunle Adebajo has been suspended over an investigative story he wrote in 2016 – the constructive criticism was done in 2016 and he earned two semesters suspension in 2018. The suspension without doubt, if allow to stay will debar him from proceeding to law school and by extension plunges the society into autocracy.
Meanwhile, as the management of the so called premier university surprised the world by suspending him for two semesters in 2018 without charging him to court, they could not refer to the article as fallacy. No case of libel or slander yet he was punished. His offence is clear: he said the truth in a corrupt land! This is not a situation that one will preach ‘grin and bear it’.
The management under the umbrella of Pro. Idowu rather than proving the report wrong, they spilt up and call for misuse of disciplinary action. Is it not repugnant, irrational and illogical that our supposed professors could not interpret deeply an objective work aiming at upgrading the standard of the school. They bagged PhD yet they show us ‘slash and burn’ over the good initiative of Kunle Adebajo.
Kunle Adebajo wrote a well detailed investigative story as regard the poor state of halls of residence in the university titled: “UI: The Irony of Fashionable Rooftops and Awful Interiors” published by the Guardian. The story sound perfectly plausible and won him plaudits from the well meaning journalists. He has done nothing than saying the truth and applying the literacy learnt in the school environment. Why will the trainer now subject the trainee to picked between ‘literacy and liberty’?
It is on this that I say the suspension is a mere farce and show of victimization. I thought we are no more in military era where our leaders resort to dictatorship to cover their mal-administration and enforce hardship on people until UI came up to infringe on the press right outrightly. The supremacy of the Nigeria constitution is not respected. No extant law condemning his action yet he was punished.
And wait, what happen to the freedom of the press? Where is the freedom of information bill passed during last administration? Without doubt, the unspoken message of UI is that they are above the law and not accountable to their subjects which is one of the very clear signs of a bad leader. As such they must kowtow.
Funny enough, instead of the school to cover up the shame put to their table by our colleague they turn it to game of dirty politics. I could remember vividly that I visited the school this year, April. The three halls of residence I visited depict the beautiful work. In fact, I have a feeling that something is missing in the work. The article is nothing but a vicious fact
Judging from the decision of the management one can blindly conclude that they are treading the path of those that seek power with sole aim of looting our common patrimony. In fact, a foul play is perceive giving room for a mischievous charade. The game is simple, they needed to shy people away from saying the truth and cage their right while protecting their shortcomings. Alas! They fail.
Also, the action of the school confirm that there is a great aberration embedded from their precedessor or political genes. However, it creates a palpable fear in our heart and pose danger that what will be the fate of the faithful if cabinets like that of the university of Ibadan is giving baton of leadership to rule our nation at large?
There is one thing that must be cleared to the management of UI: the article is a pure constructive criticism and campus journalists are not alone. We are a big family across the nation who uses pen to right the wrong of our leaders. We have many great journalists among us who started as a campus journalist. To now gag against one of us or melting out punishment unjustly is like killing the ‘bread winner’ of a family. God forbid!
We the press members therefore demand for unconditional reinstatement of Kunle Adebajo in order to proceed to law school. I beacon on all the well meaning Nigerians, journalists in the mainstream media, human right activists and NGO to support us and save Kunle Adebajo from the unjust treatment of UI for saying the truth in this democracy world. We are not demanding for anything other than the press right and freedom of information.
In conclusion, I believe without an iota of doubt that the management of UI has a listening ear and they will surely reinstates our colleague. I hope that they will kowtow the law of our land that permitted press right and yield to the calling of everyone on the bone of contention. I appreciate those who always serve as our backbone in one way or the other. The tribune, the nation, the Premium Times, the security monitor, the iwitnees, JCC Oyo, NANCE, NUCJ and the list is endless.
Abideen Muhammed is also a campus journalist and can be reached via email@example.com.