by Idris Banjris
The elections for the new Students’ Union leadership at the Obafemi Awolowo University were completed recently. It required mass resistance by students against attempts by management to manipulate the process through the electoral commission.
Recently, the University administration has tried to interfere in the Students’ Union elections to weed out radical student activists. But students have continually stood up against such attempts.
This time around, management first tested the will of the students with a “109 indictment list” of students that the university administration saw as being too radical. But rank and file students rose up against this attempt to interfere. The school authorities feared the resistance it faced in the last union election, so it changed its tactics, settling for using the electoral commission.
The commission delayed the elections to frustrate and disenfranchise the students. It then kept most of the ballot papers at its office and sent insufficient ballot papers to the polling units. Students in their hundreds resisted this and demanded that the electoral commissioners provided sufficient ballot papers or the votes cast would not be counted. Furthermore, students at the Faculty of Health Sciences stopped the voting process until enough ballot papers were brought to the polling unit.
With this event, the electoral commission’s chairman had no choice than to postpone the election till the next day. In other faculties, students monitored their votes till these were properly counted.
The election for the leadership of the parliament also aroused some agitation as the president-elect made his ballot paper public and encouraged other newly elected executives to do the same. The results of the election were that all our comrades that contested won from their various faculties.