Activist dies in 41-yr struggle with YABATECH for certificate
THE pioneer President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Sunday Oladele, who secured victory after 41 years battle with Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, has died while planning for his convocation.
This was disclosed to the media by Oladele’s son, Olalekan in Abuja, yesterday.
According to Olalekan, the 72-year-old activist was celebrating his victory against YABATECH after the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges in June 2021, ordered that his certificate be given to him after 41 years seizure.
Speaking from the sidelines in a press conference by the Chairman of Pa Oladele’s Burial Committee, Senator Dino Melaye, and NANS President, Sunday Asefon, Oladele, alongside a few others, had in 1980 led the rebirth of the students’ movement from the proscribed National Union of Nigerian Students after the military government of Olusegun Obasanjo had, during the ‘Ali Must Go struggle’ led by Olusegun Okeowo, banned student unionism, which was firmly organised under NUNS
Oladele was said to have led others, regrouped them, wrote a new constitution and in 1980, founded NANS.
“This effrontery later earned him and most of his colleagues varying consequences such as expulsion, rustication and withholding of their certificates.” Melaye said.
“Seeing how long the injustice had persisted, the Senate mandated the management of YABATECH to release forthwith his certificate withheld for 41 years,” the Senator stated.
The Senator emphasised that with the intervention of the Senate Committee, the management of YABATECH agreed to present Oladele with his certificate at their next convocation but unfortunately, he died two weeks after the decision was taken.
According to him, a letter would be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari, Ministers of Education and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, to ask that this great Nigerian, who sacrificed all for the betterment of this country and who was denied justice for 41 years, be immortalised.
“He came to Abuja to fight for justice where he met his untimely death. I want to believe that by the time we put our heads together, the federal government must immortalise him because there are people of less national value that have been immortalised by the federal government.
“So, the Nigerian students’ body is requesting unequivocally that this great Nigerian be immortalised and one famous national institution in this country named after him,” Melaye pleaded.
Adding, “we, as also students, former students and leaders, still have Students’ Union Buildings that have not been named after individuals. We will encourage through the president of NANS that this institution’s Students’ Union Buildings be named after this great Nigerian.”
Olalekan who told the media that he is the first child and only son of the deceased, revealed that he has two sisters.
Ruing the death of his father, he narrated how he spoke with him before his death and how the last conversation was momentuous.
“He was in high spirits, suffered for 41 years, but died doing what he loves best.
My father has always talked about his struggles to get his certificate from YABATECH. He was in high spirits, having got that Senate victory and was really looking towards that convocation ceremony in YABATECH in a big way,” Olalekan stated.
“My father fought with love for the masses; it was never a burden to him. He never had any regret. His only regret was that his struggle to see better Nigeria was not actualised in his lifetime. But other than that, he never had any regret.”
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