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Power Restoration Halts Protest On OAU Campus

On Saturday the 25th of September 2021, the students of Obafemi Awolowo University staged a protest to express their grievance over power outages during the examination period. Earlier that week, residents in some campus hostels such as Adekunle Fajuyi and Awolowo Hall groaned over the lack of water supply and unhygienic water being sporadically supplied. Students complained that they were unable to drink, cook and wash with the water, with  one student who pleaded anonymity saying: “The water supplied is no different from gault.”

The day before the protest, an electrical blackout that lasted from afternoon until the evening, stopped the students from carrying out their daily activities. This occurrence is unusual as students are used to a regular electrical power supply in the area. A student who also pleaded anonymity while expressing his discontent stated that: “Most students on campus depend solely on electricity,” adding that some students only have soft copies of their learning materials. This implies that the lack of electricity will prevent them from accessing examination materials as some students sat for examination on Saturday without electricity to prepare.

In an interview with one of the students who convened the protest, Ajayi Cephas, he stated that it all started with “the singing of revolutionary songs by two students (myself and a roommate) in my room.” Then “a former presidential candidate of the Great Ife Students’ Union in the just-concluded Central Executive Council election, Francis Adegoke, popularly known as Honourable Stateman entered my room to fuel it up. We mobilised students, mainly Fajuyians, and we went to Awo Hall for massive mobilisation.”

He also added that “the original plan was to mobilise ourselves from Fajuyi to Awo hall, down to Angola and Mozambique hall, then to Morèmi and Akintola hall and eventually head to the University Senate building but they stopped us by restoring electricity.” He stated that they were few steps away from Awo Hall when the light was restored.

Honourable Stateman, who was the convener of the protest, while addressing students after electricity was restored gave an impression that electricity was restored because the university management sensed that students were already staging a protest. He added that if students had been proactive about the issues as they did about light, all other problems would be resolved including the supply of dirty and unhygienic water. Till the time of filing this report, nothing has been done to address the issue of unhygienic water.

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