UNILAG Students Condemn Suspension Of MSSN Excos, Activities
…take to #BRINGBACKOURMSSNUNILAG on social media
By Abdullah Olamilekan, UNILAG
Angered by the directive of the management of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) that the current executives of Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) UNILAG branch should vacate their offices and the secretariat be shut, students have begun to bemoan the action of the management.
This directive was contained in a letter titled “Completion of tenure of office,” signed by Deputy Dean I, Students Affairs Division of the university, Dr. A K Adebayo for the Dean, Prof. Tunde Babawale on behalf the authorities of the university.
“The current executives of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria came into office September, 2014 and by general practice and in accordance with the rules and regulations guiding students associations, clubs and society in the university, your tenure lapsed in September, 2015.
“You are hereby expected to forward your hand over notes to the staff advisers on or before November 9, 2015,” the letter read in part.
The directive also noted that the keys to the MSSN vehicles and the secretariat, reports on the finances and any other property of the society shall also be handed over.
The letter did not state whether an electoral committee shall be constituted or election will be conducted in January when the school is expected to resume.
Meanwhile, Students have taken to the social media as they launched a hashtag of #BRINGBACKOURMSSNUNILAG campaign in less than 24 hours of the announcement to press down their dissatisfaction over the suspension.
In a related development, the students expressed grief that the suspension will create inconveniences for different categories of, who will need to access the services of the branch.
They lamented that the newly-admitted undergraduates, Distance Learning Institute (DLI) and the Diploma students will mostly be at the detriment.
They have also expressed anxiety that the Holiday Training Programme (HTP) of the branch where students learns various skills like beads making, graphics&web designs, driving, tailoring, events decoration among others has been subjected to jeopardy.
Ibrahim Animashaun, from faculty of Law 200L, noted that it was pathetic that the “machinations” came from some Muslims camouflaging under several deceitful pseudonyms.
“Many words are better left unsaid, but sincerely I feel dashed, damp and embittered about this cannibalism,” Animashaun said.
A 200L student from English department, who craved anonymity, said it was very despicable the length a Muslim can go to hinder the growth of his religion, just because of control adding “that is the case of the so-called staff adviser.”
Rasheeda Opere Biology Education, 300L, condemned the suspension calling the management to reverse the suspension and swing into thorough investigation of the crisis.
She said, It saddens my heart that this is coming from some group of Muslims who are propagandists and have nothing to offer students on campus.”
Another female student, Fatimah Alaafin Integrated Science Education 300L, described the suspension as uncalled for asking the staff adviser would uphold the votes of the only 23 aggrieved students to the detriment of the majority.
“I was really amazed at the whole development and the decision of the management. It’s only in Nigeria that this happens,” Alaafin enthused.
Meanwhile, the genesis of the MSSN saga came from the heels of an anonymous letter addressed to the management alleging the branch MSSN administration was not accountable, existing under external Influence and a partisan “Shura” (consensus) system.
The management afterwards instituted a panel chaired by Dr. Luqman Adams. The panel, as part of effort at finding a lasting solution to the matter, requested students to write in letters.
The panel upheld some decisions which were contained in a statement issued by the Dean, Students Affairs Division, Prof. Tunde Babawale on the 2nd of June, 2015.
The statement read in part, “I wish to forward to you the decisions of the University Management at finding a permanent resolution to the perennial crisis within the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), University of Lagos branch.”
The decisions include that, “1. The University Management has directed the Students Affairs Division to start in earnest the review of the constitution of All Associations, Clubs and Societies on Campus and also circulate for implementation the Financial Guidelines as approved by the Vice-Chancellor to those Associations to regulate the disbursement of funds.
“2. The MSSN bye-laws should be reviewed especially the section on the composition of the Shura. The inclusion of postgraduate students, Area Units, and Area Council representatives on the Shura should be discontinued. Representatives of the Muslim Community (i.e. Staff Adviser) and a nominee (Muslim) of Dean, Students Affairs, should be included in the Shura to serve in advisory capacity.
“3. The current MSSN (Unilag) Executive would be allowed to complete its tenure. However, a committee is to be set up to review the MSSN bye-laws to conform with University rules and regulations before another election into the Executive positions is conducted.
“4. The current MSSN (Unilag) Staff Adviser, Dr. Tajudeen Yusuf has offered to resign his position having served as the Staff Adviser since 1999. Subsequently, the position of the staff adviser will be occupied by two persons (one Male and one Female) who must be Muslims. Their appointment will be done in consultation with the Muslim Community.
“5. Management implores the Muslim Community to be more involved in the activities of the MSSN. They have to assist the staff Advisers to enforce discipline amongst all Muslim students and should also report to Management through the Dean, Student Affairs, any student for appropriate disciplinary action whenever the need arises.”
Prof. Babawale also said the Muslim Community was requested to note for implementation the University Management’s decisions on the resolution of the crisis.
He added that the Student Affairs Division has commenced the implementation of the decisions and requested the Muslim Community to assist by way of suggestions on necessary steps required to enhance the maintenance of peace and brotherhood within the community.
Currently, the staff advisers of the MSSN UNILAG are Dr. Ismail Musa from Islamic Studies and Dr. Mrs Hikmat Koleosho from faculty of environmental.
At a congress presided over by the Amir, Abdur-Rasheed Adeoye and attended by Dr. Musa and a representative of the DSA, Mr. Raji for the adoption of the bylaws review, 23 voted NO to the adoption while 116 voted YES – that the review be adopted.
The votes of the 23 students, who voted against the motion was upheld, but the Amir adopted the 116 votes based on the majority when Dr Musa had said Amir’s decision was final.
While there are allegations by some aggrieved students that the congress was not well publicized and they were not aware of the bye laws review, counter arguments showed that the review was belated.
The majority however, maintained that congress was well announced, that the Amir even extended it to allow for wider participants.
Investigations showed that the late information of the meeting is due to the meeting of the excos with Dr Musa and the secretary of the community prior to the congress.
Allegations have however, been piling on Dr. Musa as he is being alleged of playing the ostrich. Apparently aggrieved students are taking swipe at the embattled staff adviser on the social media.
Students have also condemned the decision to make Dr. Musa as the principal signatory to the branch bank account.