Ogunrinade Obaloluwa popularly known as Dudu shares his bitter-sweet academic voyage from being expelled,suspended and reinstated for agitating against school fees increment to leading protests on campus after the death of a student. A student activist, verbally brutal and opinionated , fearless in his approach against any form of exploitation and oppressive policies by his school management.
Dudu’s radical nature made him spend eight years instead of the usual five years in the course of studying food science and technology. Having faced the Students’ Disciplinary Committee four times, Dudu remains a thorn in the flesh for any oppressive educational policies and management.
Today, he shares that despite the unending challenges that greeted his education he now works at Cway Beverages Ota as the quality control and assurance officer. Excerpts.
Describe your academic journey secondary to tertiary.
I graduated from Primary School in 2004 and got into JS 1 that year, and graduated from Senior Secondary School in 2010. My Dad was a retired medical practitioner and he wanted me to study medicine or something close but I knew my capabilities aren’t up to a young lad studying medicine. Wrote JAMB three times struggling to gain admission into Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) three consecutive times but all to no avail , until the third year I told him to let me go to a polytechnic . I gained admission into Osun state Polytechnic Iree in the 2013/2014 session to study Food Science and Technology.
How many years did you spend at home before admission?
I spent roughly three years at home
How can you describe your first year on campus? And how many did you spend generally?
My first year on campus was a breath of new life and a new journey . I was to graduate in 2018 but spent two years at home for Industrial Training ( IT ) as a result of the restructuring the then Governor , Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was doing in the education sector , where there was no admission in the year 2016.
I was to graduate in 2019 , but due to the protest that led to the burning of the school’s medical centre , I was later suspended for two semesters. I was later reinstated at the end of the 2021/2022 session. This made me stay on campus for roughly eight years.
What’s your passion and what has kept you going?
My passion was to study in a good environment of learning and grow in any organisation I found myself in so as to build myself physically , mentally and psychologically . What kept me going were my parents, prayers and the good deeds I have done in the past , they have always brought me much goodwill .
While in school, describe yourself and the things that you were able to do?
Back then on campus , I was a young progressive student and a strict agitator of good welfarism for the Students Community.
I joined Campus Liberation Movement ( CRM ) a progressive organisation that challenged the status quo on campus. The organisation back then had many strong comrades such as Comrade Ijoba, Comrade Bidex, Comrade Seedolf , Comrade O Possible to mention just a few .
Started as a member of the Students Representative Council where I was the chairman of the Ad Hoc committee and I spoke as the leader of the National Diploma Honorables . I challenged management and authorities back then to do the needful where they were victimising or intimidating the students’ communities.
Came back for HND 1 to continue my studies , then the management with their tricks after luring us to pay acceptance fees increased the school fees . It was a strong battle to the end as I mobilised comrades on campus to fight the *Satanic increment of School fees from #32500 to 65000* where I was later expelled in my early days in HND 1 alongside 13 others .
The 14 of us were later called the G-14. It took the intervention of highly referred people and the intervention of the Aragbiji of Iragbiji. The management toId me I was nobody to have challenged them as I was still an unregistered student , a faceless student and I have no capacity to speak for the students’ community as I was not the union’s president . Then I knew within myself I must be in power to challenge the authorities.
Later, I rose to contest the Students Union President seat to challenge the management , but I lost out in the contest from my faculty primaries where many plans came up against my candidacy due to favoritism and voter inducement then . Later I picked up the Faculty President form to contest the election where I won with a landslide. I was elected with a unanimous vote to become the chairman of faculty presidents on campus . I fought the *No School fees No test* struggle , and t the no election No exam struggle ,
What’s your course of study and is it the same as your passion or was it because you had no options?
I studied Food Science and Technology , but later on during my ND 2 days , I was later hoping I had known. I would have studied Political Science as I couldn’t have studied Law as a Science Student .
What were your most challenging days on campus and how were you able to overcome them?
My most challenging day was the June 1st protest we had that turned violent and the school’s medical centre was burnt and I couldn’t salvage the situation. It was a day I nearly cried because I was at the gate of the campus with the then Union president trying to calm aggrieved protesters , when I saw the Medical Centre in flames.
I was able to overcome after facing the committee setup by the school to unravel the cause of the situation and later faced the Student Disciplinarian Council that later later recommend two academic session suspension but was later repealed before it was later reduced to one academic calendar year
Describe your relationship with lecturers and their attitudes towards activism and unionism.
My relationship was cordial as I didn’t n’t take up issues with l but only with management as they are the decision maker of the institution .
Late Rafiu Olaposi Adeleke the former dean of science played a vital role as a father to me on campus . He as well played a crucial role in my appeal as my four semester suspension was reduced to two . May his soul continue to Rest In Peace
What’s your driving force despite your academic challenges?
My driving force was a belief that goodwill pays and my goodwill will definitely save me one day
Speak about your challenges in school and what were the lessons?
My challenges were the management knows the right thing but will always want us to agitate before it’s been done
Is formal education overrated?
Formal education is not overrated as you need to be educated to challenge the status quo of this country and the knowledge of education will get you exposed to the right ways
As a student leader how can new students be guided so as not to make mistakes?
New students should go to classes , obey the law of institutions, read and excel well and join progressive groups on campus that can affect their lives positively both academically and morally
Is cultism the same as activism?
At different times one can not separate some associations from the cultist groups, there are so many similarities. Even yesterday a kegite was murdered at UNIBEN
Cultism is not the same as activism as it has been bastardised as it has deviated from the reasons and tenets of the founding fathers.。 The organisation was founded to fight against lecturer brutalities and fight against intimidation by the management . At this dispensation , one may not be able to separate cultism from activism as activists nowadays seek support from cult groups to win elections and cultists are now in leadership positions on campuses.
Kegite must rise up and start dismissing their members that are now cultists.
Describe secondary education in your locality and what are the challenges and what can be done to salvage the situation.
Secondary school education in my area is going down as students now rely on help to pass WAEC and NECO . Stringent supervision must be put in place as most of our teenagers are now out of school roaming the streets which endanger and expose them to hard drugs and gambling .
Has student activism influenced your life, negatively or positively?
Student activism has influenced my life positively as I can stand up and speak up against authorities that engage in any form of oppression. Activism has given me the required boldness anywhere I see myself as I cannot be intimidated or cornered .