By Ibrahim Lawal
My life as a student activist in University of Ibadan exposed me to all kinds of experience particularly brushes with authorities about objectionable policies aimed at stiffening Independent Unionism. I joined Democratic Student Movement (DSM) with the likes of Babatunde Oluajo a.k.a Sankara and other left wing students movements to champion the course of independent Unionism.
I was elected the Speaker of the Students’ Union Parliament while Solomon Ben Olonade was the president of the Students’ Union. We made no pretence about independent Unionism as we took over everything that belongs to the students. Contrary to the practice of the students’ union account being co-signed by the Students Affairs officers, we stood our grounds that the student union must be allowed to run their affairs without interference from the authority.
These decision did not go down well with the authority particularly our resolve to operate the campus cab through the office of the Vice President, Osazere who doggedly operated the campus cab without let or hinderance.
The University authority having sensed our resolve as a union leader, dissolved the union by a release and ordered that the management and control of the union is now in the hand of the Students’ Affairs Officer.
The Union under our leadership resolved to challenge the dissolution of the union by filing a fundamental right proceedings in court. On the day of the hearing of the case, we mobilised greatest UI to the Oyo State High Court presided by Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola now the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria. I remember vividly that some Zikites came to court with ordinary towel wrapped in their waist while some appeared with nickers without cloth.
We were represented in court by Mr. Kunle Sobaloju while the University was represented by Late Ladosu Ladapo SAN. Mr. Sobaloju powerfully submitted before the court the illegality inherent in the decision of the university authority to dissolve our union without affording us a hearing. Late Ladosu Ladapo SAN on the other hand emphasized the need for discipline as a justification for the dissolution. He even told the court to see the way some of our colleagues appeared in court and the unruly manner we conducted ourselves.
His Lordship while delivering his ruling not only declared the action of the UI management on the dissolution of the union as null and void, he went further to commend the students on their peaceful conduct in court. I was personally impressed with the decision of my Lord as it restates the fact that the judiciary is indeed the last hope of the common man.
It is therefore a thing of joy to me that His Lordship is sworn in today as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, and I pray that may Almighty Allah spare his Lordship life and enable my Lord to make positive impact in the judiciary.
Congratulations my Lord.
Ibrahim Lawal is the Head of Chamber, Olujinmi & Akeredolu.
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