Fight for increased funding of the national health sector and the revamping of the university health center!
Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV), OAU Branch. 2nd October, 2021, https://revolutionarysocialistvanguard.wordpress.com
The death of Adeshina Aishat gripped the student community of Obafemi Awolowo University with great dismay. Aishat a 400 level student of Department of Foreign Languages was declared dead at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, Mayfair, Ile Ife after being administered wrong medical prescriptions at the university health center where she returned due to further deterioration of her health but was again subject to medical procedures that improved in no way the condition of her health.
Students have since the report of her death, began protesting shutting down the Ife/Ibadan Express way and Ede road after locking the school gate to register grievances with the university authorities and Federal government. The school management led by the Ogunbodede administration has responded by shutting down the school.
The reason given for this is that the “management condemns in strong terms the continuous and uncontrolled protests by the students culminating in unbridled brigandage”. This is utter fabrication as the protests were only peaceful roadblocks and the closure of the campus main gate. In fact falsehood is becoming the new stock in trade of this university management. We have not forgotten how the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede went to media outlets telling the press that the university health center is in the best condition, better even than any health facility on any Nigerian campus.
The release also goes on to say that students engaged in acts “detrimental to their health and the safety of the generality of the people”. How did this overnight change of heart happen? When did the university authorities who have done nothing to ameliorate the life-threatening conditions of the campus become so caring all of a sudden?
The management promises to “unravel the circumstances leading to the remote cause(s) of the crises”. The problem here is what the management considers “crises”, the peaceful demonstrations of students or the hellish living conditions that has resulted in a high student mortality rate. In essence the school administration has not directly addressed the root cause of the matter which is the fact that the welfare infrastructure of the university has decayed to the point that the university health facilities have become slaughter houses producing death instead of health.
Rather we see the move by the management as punishing students for expressing genuine feelings of anguish over the loss of a colleague. The vice chancellor did not even have the decency to address students at the protest ground.
While we acknowledge the apology of the school PRO, we remain resolute that those culpable in the deterioration of the university infrastructure especially the health center must face the music. The administration of university has been for years without accountability. Years of Federal government allocation, however meagre they may be, have been unaccounted for yet the health center continues to wallow in rot sending students to an early grave.
It is worth noting that the death of Aishat during exams is not coincidental as the exam period represent the height of mental and physical strain for students. This is the case because of the often slim fitted exam time tables and the rushed academic calendar. The current exams have made many a student sit for more than one exam on the same day.
WHAT MUST BE DONE
– The union must take position on the closure of the school. The Health Center must be closed down for revamping while students on treatment must be transferred to standard hospitals with the management footing the bill.
– We must fight for the rescinding of the decision to shut down the school. However students must be involved in the running of the rest of the activities for the semester especially reviewing factors bordering on the health and welfare of students including the exam time table.
– Today’s protest must begin a press campaign organised and led by the union to demand for the probe of the Ogunbodede led administration to avenge Aisha’s death. Students must campaign for increased funding of the education sector with the benchmark of at least 26% of the national budgetary allocation from the Buhari government.
– We must call for the revamping of the whole health sector sponsored by the Federal government. The Buhari government must immediately accede to the demands of the striking National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) including a monumental increase to the salary of health workers.