“STUDENTS WHO HAVE MATRICULATED IN OTHER POST-SECONDARY HIGHER INSTITUTION OTHER THAN THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS ARE NOT ELIGIBLE”
In reference to the last elections, some candidates contesting for executive positions at the department and faculty level were disqualified, it was rumoured at that time that the reason for their disqualification was because they have matriculated in a post-secondary school of learning before their matriculation into the University of Lagos.
It was referred to as a rumour because though the fact was before us, the policy was not in the electoral guidelines at that time, leaving one to wonder why in a university system that ought to be a model and shining light to the larger society, a written guideline can be altered and implemented without due process and communication. Students saw the guidelines, by the guidelines, they were eligible, they went ahead to purchase the form, spent money on campaigns, hopes were high, only for them to be disqualified hours to the election on the ground of a policy that was not included in the electoral guidelines without compensation and without proper communication – this act, by all standards, is below what is expected of any university system, let alone the University of first choice and the Nations’ pride.
In a recent development, the Student Affairs Division of the University released the guidelines for the make-up elections for executive positions in the Halls of Residence and three faculties. The number (IX) of this electoral guideline reveals the rumour that spread during the last election that disqualification of students in the last election was based on matriculation in other school before the University of Lagos official.
The question is; on what basis was this policy enacted? Has the long term implication of this policy be considered? Well, the sponsors of this policy have two strong points that looks good on the surface and it is on their point that we will make our analysis:
POINT ONE: That in the larger society, an individual with dual citizenship is not eligible to contest for elective office, so people that have matriculated twice should not contest.
The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is clear on the eligibility of candidates for electoral positions. Section 28, 66(1); 107 (1); 137 (1); and 182 (1) makes it clear that candidate with dual citizenship can contest election except when the individual is not a citizen by birth which means that candidates can hold dual citizenship and contest in elections.
POINT TWO: That those who have gone to other schools before the University of Lagos are those causing students unrest hence the need for Akokites to be led by true Akokites.
On what basis was this assertion made, that the unrest in the school are caused by those who have matriculated in one institution before the university of Lagos, are we saying we do not have students who have gone to other schools before and held leadership positions on this campus with exemplary leadership qualities, or are we saying that all those that are coming from other schools are haters of peace, do we not have students who have not gone to other school before that have caused “student unrest” even without holding leadership positions? We are aware that this insinuation must have been as a result of the April protest of last year but have there been any valid report that confirms that matriculation in other schools by the leaders was the reasons. The university is a stronghold and a model for the society, policies should not be as a result of insinuations or assumptions but by facts and empirical study.
It is on this note that The Press Club, University of Lagos maintains that this policy is not in the overall interest of the University of Lagos as an institution and Akokites as a whole. This policy will build segregation, discrimination among others, which will eventually lead to inequality, hatred and contention among our students – a valid remote cause for student unrest. Every Akokite has equal rights and responsibility. More so, every Akokite should have a right to vote and be voted for. Anyone that will be carrying the certificate of the University of Lagos should be fully baked. We hereby urge the management to probe further and reconsider this policy.