By Bayo Fasunwon
When President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his personality to Nigerians, little did we realize that he actually described himself with that which was familiar. He had told all who cared to listen that he belongs to all, and belongs to nobody. Over the years, actions and inactions had questioned the validity of this description. However, one could not cease to wonder where he got that metaphor from.
In recent times, yours truly have come to realize that instead, it is the Social Media that belongs to all and belongs to nobody. On this platform, bureaucratic bottlenecks are broken, and people are allowed to express their wisdom or stupidity; grievances or support; joy or sorrow; sanity or insanity and also view in silence the dynamics of different society.
It is this nature of the social media that makes commands my reaction to the tantrums of Mr. Omoyele Sowore. The social media has been loaded with reactions to his reactions to the circular sent to the students of Adekunle Ajasin University, informing them of the need to imbibe the culture of the best State University in Nigeria or get sanctioned. The Registrar had written that the Senate (the highest decision organ of the University comprising of the Vice Chancellor, top management, Deans, Heads of Department, professors, and Directors of Institutes) had ‘observed and frowned at the rate of indecent dressing among the students of Adekunle Ajasin University’, and had ‘after a thorough deliberation’ on the issue arrived at the conclusion that any student who dresses indecently, (in accordance with University’s appearance culture), ‘is deemed to have committed a misconduct’ and would be rusticated. Gleaning from the above, ‘a thorough deliberation’ implies that there would have been observations, reports, supporting and opposing views considered before a conclusion was arrived at. It would also imply that the objective of the University to produce graduates in learning and character would have guided such discussions and eventual decisions. If any had had the opportunity of attending argumentative programs of academics, one would understand the meaning of ‘thorough deliberations’. In other words, the circular was not a fiat, but an outcome of the ‘deep calling to the deep’.
Sowore had described the outcome of the robust intellectual reasoning as ‘bizarre’ that is eccentric, extraordinary and anomalous. The decision to him was also ‘belligerent’ that is pertaining to war; ‘backward’, that is retrogressive; ‘insane’ that is signifying that the Senate consisted of people who are mentally deranged; ‘nonsense’, being without good sense and or absurd behavior. These adjectives implied that Omoyele Sowore had described a group of in-depth thinking intellectuals as mad people ‘that should be fired for indecent reasoning’. His hate speech was concluded with the provocation of the students to insurrection by insisting that ‘resistance is your best bet’.
While it gladdens ones heart that thoughtful deliberations on social media had questioned his rationality, it is important to also question his motives for Nigeria. Under the cloak of ‘struggling for the masses’ his history explains a man who seeks for insurrections without thought in a country he calls his. His choice of words also depicts a man who though learned remains unschooled in the subjects of decency and culture. He remains an opportunist, afraid and ashamed of his failures, and seeks to manipulate others to hand over to him the success he deserves not. While revealing himself as a subtle manipulator of youths, he remains the hireling shepherding many to destruction.
In every academic environment as is in every political system, there exists undeniable freedoms. However, it is anathema to natural justice to engage in unbridled freedom that impacts negatively on others. The various universities, the world over, have their ethics and codes which all intending students must abide with. These ethics, marries the students and staff to the discipline and culture of such Ivory Towers. These codes, sometimes similar, are however unique and reveal the independence and idiosyncrasies of the various citadels of learning.
Sowore may not understand that globalization has not in any way destroyed the uniqueness of societies, and that good morals remain the epitome of African societies irrespective of exposures to contaminating cultures. While tattoos may not be significant in the larger society, it still remains an identification logo of many illegal groups amongst students. Furthermore, it might interest Nigerians to note that certain jobs are not given to those who have tattooed bodies. You may search that out. In addition, deliberate exposures of sensitive body parts may not even affect Lecturers as much as it affects co-students in the classrooms. Sowore and yours truly were in UNILAG at the same time, and the bloodletting ‘genocide’ against perceived cult members are still fresh on my minds. Did he ever consider his actions as murderous acts and intents as insanity? His ‘Pro-African’ stance against the realities of HIV and the consequences on his gullible followers then are histories that cannot be forgotten.
In every political system, sanctions are placed not to punish, but to deter unhealthy behavior, and so protect the members of the society in the long run. When however, a stranger begins to berate the sanctions in an environment in which he neither lives, nor contributes to and associate with, such needs psychiatric examination. No good man can successfully govern uncontrolled, unrestrained and uncultured community, so the Senate of Adekunle Ajasin University has in its wisdom taken steps that would produce worthy ambassadors of the University, State and Nigeria as a whole.
To the students of the University, it is democratic to engage the management of the University on issues that bother you. However, it is wise to understand that he who is pushing you to war has his wife and children outside this nation enjoying uninterrupted educational system. Therefore, instead of chanting the songs of war, beat your swords into ploughs, discuss issues and conform to the culture of the University which you willingly subscribed to. There are checks and balances to ensure that a public university does not become despotic, so one could be rest assured that no ‘Hisbah’ helmsman can wield a hammer of terror without restraint, especially in a law-abiding State as Ondo State. If Omoyele Sowore in his untamed tantrums and uncouth vituperation had intended another disruption of academic activities in the best State University in Nigeria, he remains a failure. According to Tomoloju Olamide Austin, an alumnus of the University which Sowore disparaged, “Mr Sowore, you miss this one o”.
Let me leave Mr Omoyele Sowore with this question asked by Adedayo on Facebook. “Can he (Sowore) allows(sic) any of his staff to dress indecently to OFFICE let alone his own children (sic)”.