For Tunji Ekpeti Micheal, rustication for a semester was the last thing he expected he would get after joining his colleagues in a protest in November 2015.
Following his rustication, students of the University of Ibadan (UI) have been protesting since Monday to express their displeasure at “an unjust decision” and have demanded the unconditional reinstatement of their colleague.
While speaking with TheCable, the 500 level student of Petroleum Engineering said he had made peace with the verdict from the management.
Students are protesting your rustication; how do you feel about this?
In all honesty, I was rusticated for a semester for a protest on light and water in the hall of residence, Independence hall. I did all I could when I faced the panel in the school to make them see that I didn’t start the protest. In fact, I was on my IT in Port Harcourt then and I came back to submit some documents in my department and I printed the email they sent to me from my department requesting I submit those documents so I had a very legit reason to be in school. I took just a week off from work.
For me, it’s not like I can’t make peace with my one semester, I can live with the one semester, it won’t kill me because I’m convinced in my mind that I didn’t do anything criminal. I think the students are protesting because they see this as something that could just continue and they see if a boy that was part of protest was given a semester’s rustication, what message does this send to students that are about to come out and protest against things that are not ideal? We all know that the management might be trying but sometimes things are not ideal on campus and being the ones that are here bearing the brunt, they think they have to speak out, that is why they are taking it this way.
Do you think the management can accuse you of being responsible for the chaos currently on campus?
If the management says that, then that will be most unfair of them because I have not been associated with the protest since Monday. I have not been on campus; I am at my residence off campus. I have been getting updates about the protest on Facebook. People have been calling me but I have been in the comfort of my room.
A news medium reported that you’re dead…
I am not dead, I’m hale and hearty. I am not angry because I understand how these things could go. When things happen, some news medium could just take advantage and report what is not.
What is the way forward for you?
The way forward for me is to make peace with whatever comes. Right now, what is on my plate is one semester and I have made peace with that.
What if the management apologizes and reinstates you?
I will accept the apology. Why won’t I be able to when I have been able to make peace with the adjournment of one semester. If they redress and the one semester is no longer an issue, that would be wonderful news for me.
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