By Lakunle Jaiyesimi
It is no longer news that Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria is in crisis, as reported by various platforms. Wumi Raji, an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts of the same University wrote that the University “is in deep crisis” and has a lot to say about it, http://thenewsnigeria.com.ng/2016/07/crisis-in-obafemi-awolowo-university-ile-ife/”.
On the 15th day of July, 2016, a hitherto Google-unknown character, in person of Adediwura Alawode, brilliantly wrote a rejoinder to Wumi Raji’s piece, http://thenewsnigeria.com.ng/2016/07/rejoinder-obafemi-awolowo-university-crisis-and-falsifiers-at-work/“. The choice of the tag “hitherto Google-unknown character” in describing Adediwura Alawode was a result of the fact that while Wumi Raji provided his full identity, including his department, designation and a bold picture in the piece he wrote, the rejoinder writer only went as far as stating at the end of his piece, “Adediwura Alawode writes from OAU”.
Inasmuch as no one is to immediately presume that the referenced OAU stands for Organisation of African Unity, it is right to be curious about and mentally investigate the jurisdiction of facts ‘soothingly’ presented by ‘Mr.’ Adediwura Alawode (the use of Mr. here is apologetic because of the writer’s inability to supply an accurate identity, or any at all). This writer wishes to know who the rejoinder writer is in order to situate the arguments and juxtapose his facts, opinions and conjectures against those of Dr. Wumi Raji (the choice of Dr. here is the result of the fact that, in some quarters, designating Associate Professors as Professors is an anathema).
The rejoinder is an eye-opener interestingly as much as its prequel. Thankfully, the rejoinder did well in its objectively pin-pointing a seeming blunder made by Dr. Raji, “Wumi Raji was so actively interested in serving lies as truth in his ponderous piece that he joyously invented dates and events. One instance is what he said in paragraph eight: ‘precisely on Friday June 5’. There is nothing precise about that day. The event he credited to that day did not happen at the time and could not have happened because in the calendar that people of conscience and lovers of justice have, ‘June 5’ was a Sunday.” The remaining part of this paragraph in the rejoinder is incongruous to the earlier part. We should get to it.
It is a given that no official activities are expected to be carried out on Sundays. Alawode also stated, “There was nothing precise about that day….” He seemed pretty sure that the event happened but “did not happen at the time…” leaving us to curiously imagine when the event actually happened. Rather than providing a date when the event happened, if it did, or categorically stating that the event never happened, Mr. Alawode made an incongruous request, “I leave you to imagine what this lecturer would have done had a student quoted a page wrongly in his/her essay. Maybe somebody should do him a favour by telling him that some students can score 100%, deservedly, in some courses. This becomes important because this teacher found it hard to believe that Prof. Salami was scored 100% in one aspect of the areas he was assessed in.” It was a shocker and a beckon to ask further questions, “Se a ja ti tele ni?” translated, “Have we, as brothers of a Union, previously been at a perpetual duel?”
To acquaint oneself of any fact regarding this event therefore, one is left with no option than to resort to the information provided in the prequel, “On Wednesday June 1, the Registrar and Secretary to Council, in flagrant display of an attitude of utter contempt for the court of law, sent sms messages to the shortlisted candidates informing them that the interaction which had earlier on been suspended would soon be re-visited. They were told to get themselves ready for it.” Note that this was on Wednesday June 1 and Dr. Raji continued, “Two days later, and precisely on Friday June 5, the candidates were sent letters by the same officer, informing them that the interaction would now take place on Monday June 6 in Abuja, FCT.” Incidentally, Dr. Raji, in his piece, stated events and dates as they happened. An error here is the displacement of ‘3’ for ‘5’ in Friday June 3, and, for making this typographically error, for which Dr. Raji may have to admit is unacceptable, the wrath of Mr. Alawode was incurred.
On a second thought, there is that argument that the former did not commit an unforgivable blunder of writing, “Two days later, and precisely on Friday June 5….” He actually wrote Friday June 5 and rather than Mr. Alawode noting the error and presuming that Dr. Raji meant Friday June 3, he chose the convenient assumption of Dr. Raji’s intent to be to write that the event happened on Sunday in order to attempt to discredit Dr. Raji. This gives one the unsolicited impression that something is amiss. What could be the justifiable rationale behind the tirade that is this rejoinder?
A second look. Who is Mr. Adediwura Alawode? His rejoinder constituted the first and last page that caught my attention on Saturday July 16 and I needed to place at least a face to the beautiful words expressed by that mind (is he Mr. or Mrs. Alawode, again?) and not to a beautiful mind that produces those words.
Deploying Google on Mozilla Firefox, about 137.000 entries were reported with only a few listing Adediwura Alawode. The few entries that listed this name were similarly tagged with this rejoinder, which goes to say, outside of the latter, Adediwura Alawode does not exist. In order to preclude his non-existence outside of Firefox Google space, this writer took the pains of deploying Google on Google Chrome, which interestingly reported fewer entries, with similar tags to this rejoinder, which would be rewarding to review.
Mr. Alawode as he wants us to believe, in his rejoinder, describes Dr. Raji as belonging “to the same depraved universe of those who project and accept falsehood as truth.” That is an affront but one would hope that ‘facts’ to buttress this would be presented. He continues, “The ethically deceased inhabitants of that degenerate space are always animated by and drunken with happiness when grossly distorted facts favour them. But when they are at the receiving end of such vile practice, they hang no fire in howling about how their human dignity and rights are battered and violated.” More of this in the second paragraph.
The third paragraph states that, “The position of the JCSSB remains that its duty was never usurped. And this provides a strong rebuttal against the fabrication of people like this university teacher….” The question of identity of Mr. Adediwura Alayode juxtaposed with his absolute knowledge of the position of the JCSSB posits further questions, “Who is Adediwura Alawode?” “Is he or she directly representing the interest of the JCSSB as a member or a mercenary?” “Is he or she a real figure, disguised to protect self from the arms-way of destroyed reputation, thereby employing a pseudonym?” “Is he or she simply intent anonymously on attempting to affect further discord by presenting, in some cases facts and in others, conjectures and personal opinions, sometimes false and calculated to harm?”
The facts that this rejoinder is not signed off by the JCSSB and that the identity of Mr. or Mrs. A. Alawode, is in question interrogates the claims and counterclaims in the rejoinder. The title of the rejoinder, “Rejoinder: Obafemi Awolowo University crisis and falsifiers at work” also implies that Alawode is privy to the facts, if facts are truths, which the rejoinder claims Dr. Raji does not have, because the title proclaims that the submissions of Dr. Raji are lies and against the truths that he (Alawode) possess.
The third paragraph of the rejoinder went on to establish a contradiction by Dr. Raji of himself, “Because his is not an intellectual mind habituated to the grace of depth and thoroughness, Wumi Raji in paragraph 10 of his prolix write-up contradicted himself by saying the same JCSSB which in preceding paragraphs he had told us the Governing Council hijacked its responsibility ‘simply brushed aside the letters [written by some of the candidates who alleged they did not get the information on the venue of the meeting they were invited to] and went ahead with the interaction’. When a person is more amenable to evil, s/he never lacks the resources of contradiction.” The contradiction here is however not obvious and may require a microscope to note.
The fourth paragraph, “The falsehood he assertively projected as truth is the invention of the fevered minds of the leaderships of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) which, though do not have any say in the appointment of a VC, have sworn to disparage the process that threw up Prof. Salami.” One wonders what a Union of members of staff of an institution is expected to do if not to demand that all decisions that borders on their welfare and processes leading to them are just and fair. Somewhere in this paragraph, Alawode slotted in “quixotic quest” to note that the demands of the agitating Unions are impractical. One wonders again, “How so?”
The fifth paragraph mentions that, as against the “restraining order” expected by the Unions to be granted against the Governing Council by the Federal High Court at Osogbo, Osun State, it was a notice for the respondent. What does a notice mean? Nothing? Does it include the notice of a case that is already in court and that is expected to be obeyed? And what does this particular notice contain? However, the capitalized sixth paragraph of the rejoinder actually screams of the possession of facts relating to the content of the court injunction by Adediwura Alawode. It will do the public a lot of good if he informs the latter of its provisions.
The next paragraph, in discrediting the action of the FGN, states, “Incredibly, the dissolution of the Governing Council by the Visitor on June 30 was inspired by that falsity, which neither the Minister of Education nor President Buhari bothered to crosscheck. In the advertorial announcing the dismissal of the Prof. Rowland Council, the president ‘ordered’ that the process for the appointment of a new VC be suspended pending the outcome of the court case. But the reality as at the time that ‘order’ was given is that there was no ongoing process to appoint a new VC.” Does this admit that there was a substantive court case but that there was no ‘ongoing process’ to appoint a new VC?” Of course, it does! The question is, “Has the process of appointing a new VC been concluded?” The answer is no! Hence, observing the rule of law includes acknowledging a court notice.
The rejoinder continues, “There was already a substantive VC who had assumed duty on June 24.” How so? What does it consist to assume duty? Sending out messages through sms from an unknown location? Without appointment letter? And without the general acceptance of the people to be governed? Maybe not.
“The Presidency through the Federal Character Commission had even issued a certificate of clearance to the university Registrar, authorising him to issue a letter of appointment to the person announced by the Governing Council as the VC.” When has the possession of appointment letter not a prerequisite to assumption of duty? “The president’s ‘order’ should have been that the unions should go back to their job and await the outcome of their court case. That is the habit of civilized and rational minds.” If tactically giving orders to the President is not considered tantamount to dictatorship because you cannot be dictatorial to your boss, then it is considered that the content of Alawode’s order reeks of it.
The eighth paragraph focuses more on the person of Dr. Wumi Raji, “It is strange to read Wumi Raji celebrate the dissolution of Governing Council without an investigation first to establish the veracity of the allegations whooped against it by NASU and SSANU leaders. It did not even bother this ‘activist’ that it is not the behaviour of decent people to take actions on unsubstantiated claims. It beats the mind that the criminal acts of the union leaders found acceptance in his mind. He saw nothing wrong in those violent people locking up members of the Governing Council in order to prevent them from doing their duties and serve them a court notice their uncultured minds interpreted as a restraining order.” The prequel obviously does not celebrate the dissolution of the Governing Council as Alawode would want its audience to believe, except if it admits that it was an allusion. Besides, the rejoinder is litter more with unsubstantiated claims as against what it presents to the audience about the prequel. “And this is a man we spent time at different points in his career fighting the injustices meted out against him!” Who are “we”? The position of the subsequent paragraph has previously been dealt with.
The tenth paragraph attempts to discredit Dr. Raji as not being “genuinely concerned about the well-being of the school” while the writer tactically remains silent on its responsibility, or otherwise, of being a ‘genuinely concerned’ stakeholder. Of course, it is probably not a responsibility as the tag ‘Adediwura Alawode’ is absent on Google and Google Scholar, which fundamentally qualifies you as an academic. The tag may also be a deliberate attempt to avoid taking responsibility for its stance.
In attempting to justifiably establish that the University Autonomy Law 2003 (as amended) was violated by the President, “regardless of the double and warped morality of the likes of Wumi Raji, the rejoinder concludes, “Unless the court invalidates the process that produced him, Prof. Salami remains the substantive VC of OAU.” Again, the simple and obvious objective question is, “Has the process to appoint a new VC being exhaustively concluded?” Even if yes, “Does the University Community, including the major Unions, not possess the right to request a reinvestigation of the process that produced a VC, who waits to be given an appointment letter?”
Beyond what we know so far, there is much more that needs be known. The NASU Chairman, Mr. Wole Odewumi, who spoke to Punch on Monday July 11, said “What we are simply asking the Federal Government to do is to appoint an acting VC for the university. We will hand over to the person and stop the protest. There are things inside the Senate Building which we don’t want anybody to steal and that is why we are always here.”
While the rejoinder is full of insults and insolent remarks targeted solely at the person of Dr. Wumi Raji rather than focusing on issues, and while the prequel and rejoinder have done so well in presenting claims and counterclaims that further help the better understanding of the crisis at OAU, there are more questions begging answers:
What does the notice of the court case portend?
Why was the selection process not suspended until the resolution of the court case?
Did the Registrar announce the closure of the University “in an apparent attempt at averting tragic confrontations”?
What evidence does Dr. Wumi Raji have to confirm that the third candidate was stricken with stroke? Was a medical checkup not requested of the candidates to ascertain their states of health?
In conclusion, the 11th paragraph of this rejoinder attempts to locate Adediwura Alawode but no one can tell you your true identity if you do not have one. As far as Obafemi Awolowo University is concerned, Adediwura Alawode is alien to her and the latter cannot claim to possess knowledge and facts about an Institution he does not belong to.
‘Kunle Jaiyesimi writes from Brazil.