Essay by Ayokunle Adeleye

OOU Medical Campus, Sagamu, on FIRE

by Ayokunle Adeleye

 

I gained admission into Olabisi Onabanjo University in 2005, and I’m still in school. My Matric Number therefore is 050

but I’m still in 500 Level- not even final year! Yet I’m not in school because I repeated, neither did I resit. I’m still in school because I’m in Nigeria, because I’m in Ogun State, because I’m in OOU.

But I didn’t get here by lack of somewhere else, (lest you say beggars can’t be choosers). I could have gone to any University in Nigeria. (My results were tenable anywhere in Nigeria.) It was therefore not a dearth of options, it was not a lack of acceptance anywhere  else, it was a matter of (imposed) choice.

My father had learnt that OOU had the best medical school in the country (as it did a baker’s-dozen years ago), and made me come here. Little did he know that after the crest came the trough, that after the zenith came the nadir, that after the peak came the depth.

And that’s where we are NOW.

My mates went to Unilag, UI, Uniben, Uniilorin… Of course they are House Officers now. They had hostels, generator-powered classrooms, school buses that they  could take to Intercollegiate Quizzes. I have none of that, and I’m still in school. What is worse? I contribute money to buy the class generator, and contribute money to procure fuel- yet the heat is not cured, so much that the lecturer brings her own fan to class.

You see, OOU is plagued by strikes. Internal, national, external, even extraterrestrial. And who pays? I! I lose time, I waste rents and fares and now fees? Many of my colleagues lost parents in this struggle. Many fathers (and mothers) paid the first  school fees of 15 000 but are not alive today to see us pay 150 000- all at no fault of ours! Yes, it saddens. I’m glad you feel my pains, but Prof does not- and cannot. Not while he’s Dean. Not while he expects me to book an appointment to see him. Not while he plays deaf, insensitive, insane.

Yet I don’t complain. I keep quiet through strikes- whether wise or stupid, whether precious or preposterous, whether logical or political. He gets paid for work he did not do; remember the ill-fated “No work no pay?” And, surprisingly, disappointingly, insanely, he expects me to pay for these lost sessions, for his unofficial leave, and, in essence, for his strike.

Does that sound sane to you? It doesn’t to me! You see, a sane mind comprehends that if you enter for a 6-year course, you pay for 6 sessions, provided you don’t repeat a class. Not so?

It is bad that School Fees have consistently increased over the years from 15 000 in 05/06 to 150 000 in 12/13 (indigene figures). It is worse that these new fees are applied across board. It is worst that I am now expected to pay for those times I wanted to learn but had striking lecturers. It is insane that I am threatened with rustication and expulsion for
refusing.

You see, in Medical School more than anywhere else, my lecturers are meant to be models of character. And when they resisted, defied, Jonathan they taught me to do the same. It should therefore come as no surprise that I shall resist this insane directive.

Interestingly, his name also starts with J; Jonathan, not Jesus.

And before you tell me that a Medical Student ought not to protest, I will tell you that although I am sheep, I am not a fool. On the contrary, I am (believed to be) sharp in mind enough to comprehend Medicine- in all its mightiness.

And that it was on such sentiments that I accepted an irrational increase in school fees. It was on such sentiments that Prof denied me the opportunity of featuring in Uniilorin’s Medical School’s Health Week Quiz. It is on such sentiments that my school bus is allegedly usurped by members of Faculty. It was and is on such sentiments that… abegi, make I no bore you jare.

It is hightime I said “Enough is enough”. And, yes, I am saying it- the peaceful way. I believe in sanity and amicability. In Psychiatry, insanity is subdued with force- you don’t let a mad man roam around, you hold him against his will till he is well. And if Prof does not sempe, he risks force, he risks violence: he wants me to steal. I gladly told my parents that the
University had accepted that I would pay 6 school fees and no more. What do I say now? That there’s a new Pharaoh in Egypt who knowest not Joseph? Or that there is some (mental) instability at work?

Thomas Aquinas said, An unjust law is no law at all. I therefore have a choice to fight back with these peaceful, respectful, amicable, words, or to raise arms and defend my sovereignty. I hope Prof listens now. And I pray he doesn’t make me turn to violence.

For in the latter case there will be no respect for grey hair as I strive to pay 300,000 for last year and this- and seek 150,000 for next year’s.

And Prof, please, don’t ever threaten me with rustication for fighting for my rights when you don’t hesitate to demand yours from Dr J in Aso Rock.

The Constitution of Nigeria allows me freedom of speech and expression (I know it’s easy for you to forget that, and I forgive you). My training in Medical School allows me to make a provisional diagnosis. Everything aforesaid is by liberties guaranteed by either or both.

By inference, therefore, you are liable and I can sue you for infringing on my rights to freedom of speech and expression- and for delaying me unnecessarily in school. And I doubt I have slandered you, in which case I tender unreserved apologies apriori.

And I for add my name but you fit forget to remember say you no suppose threaten me or rusticate me. And I
have a suspended final MB to write. Even as I am in 400 level, and 300 level, and 200 level- all at once.

For I am tagless, nameless and faceless. I am the Spirit of the OOU Medial Student. I am the Truth.

Sue me!

Another concerned medical student.
OOU, Sagamu.

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