The ninth day of November (9/11) 2015 is a 9/11 indeed in the history of MSSN UNILAG. After the Salafists coup on this day, a lot of questions naturally arose from concerned fellows. Was the society banned or suspended? When and how would the activities of the society be restored? In the absence of MSSN on campus, what would be the fate of the prospective students during registration?
What would be the lot of the staylites during the coming Ramadan? How about the graduating Muslim students during convocation? Who would lead the Muslim students in prayers?
It is worthy to mention here, the rascality, show of pugilism as well as cover up schemes as displayed by coup plotters few days before and after handing over. The 16 October’s general meeting had earlier revealed some Judases who were hidden enemy (in friendly appearance) of the society.
One of such is a beneficiary of MSSN UNILAG Law School Scholarship worth N300,000. The Tijaniya boys (another splinter group with one of the member of UMC as its general), had written a letter prior to the handing over for a recognition in the school to the Director of Students Affairs (DSA) while another splinter group (which has one of the executives of the UMC as its Marshal) had published and distributed pamphlets (under the alias: Peace Lovers Group) with multitudes of distortion and dilution of facts.
The Salafists had used the name: “Sunni brothers”,and “Concern Muslims”in their several anonymous letters. Another camouflage used to deny their involvement in shutting the society is the name “Jabata Boys”. However, like the former like the latter, the so called Sunni brothers and Concern Muslims were not only members, but in fact, core members and leaders of the Salafist group.
The staff adviser himself had declared in a controversial tune that “ anybody can lead Solat” prior to handing over. Fain would one of such “Jabata boys”, Yusuf Adisa (the leader of the coup from the salafist’s wing) go round the halls of residents (few days before and several days after handing over) therefore, to cause scenes of chaos in the mosques, claiming he has been appointed as the Imam by the DSA. It would take the intervention of the crowd, to curtail his many times ferocity.
Counting down to January 2016 with arm crossed, all passionately awaiting the promised election, after all, it’s just a matter of two months. For the first time in history, appointment of executives of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, UNILAG Branch would be made by election. And how would such unprecedented election look like?
Would it be an APC-PDP affair? Would it be by electoral college like the University of Lagos Student Union (ULSU) election? Would there be manifestoes, debates and campaigns like faculty presidential elections? Only time would tell.
Fast forward to January 2016, clock ticking, days counting, January came close. Nay! It came and left, yet the promised election didn’t come. Even the caretaker committee had barely been formed by December 2015. The composition of that group is yet another shocker; most of the members were of the different factions controlled by the “babas” (some were even graduates), after all, it was the staff adviser, the general himself in charge.
The rationale behind such silly formation is yet unknown till date. We only woke up to see a list of salafist loyalists shuffled with unknown faces chosen to take over the affairs of MSSN UNILAG. Despite this, the general members moved on, hoping for January to come, but then, January would never come! Not even with the shillyshallies of the caretaker committee.
Rather than working on the bye-law review and election process, they kept on dawdling on changing the name of the society, dumping the title of “Amir” and “Amirah”, adding and removing some posts, and many other balonies.
The waiting continued indefinitely, temperature rising till it could no longer be held. Yet, as at March 2016, the promised January hasn’t arrived. All the while, the drama at the Mosque continued, Yusuf Adisa and his boys are still as ferocious as ever.
The Imamship of the mosque has been taken over by one the secret agent of the “Babas” who himself has a vested interest in the leadership of the society, and who was never a student of UNILAG anyway but a mere mosque attendant of the UNILAG Central Mosque. He is known to have a great hatred for the society (the same MSSN UNILAG that secured him the mosque attendant job) because he was not allowed to marry the then Amirah of the branch (like he blabs around). What an ingrate the children of Adam are!
Could the appointment of a mosque attendant who is never a student of UNILAG be called crisis resolution? Isn’t this “External Influence”?– the same offence the society was mendaciously alleged. Many facilities of the Mosque could no longer be used, you dare not even hold a joint hifz session around the mosque. Members had to go as far as Amphitheater.
Worse hit were the freshers, no coordinated freshers’ orientation, no assistance whatsoever, the newbies fell in the hands of the Christian Fellowship groups who scrambled over them for increase population. Mu’takifuun (campers in mosque during Ramadan) and the entire fasting Muslims during Ramadan were not left out of the “spoil”, as the free feeding and programmes usually organised by MSSN was no more, students and other delegates had to pay exorbitant price for low quality and quantity food.
The boiling point was on 16th of March 2016, when hundreds of students trooped out with placards and converged at the DSA’s office to protest against the lollygagging of the staff adviser and his caretaker committee. The DSA promised to convoke a congress of all Muslim students within a week – a mere verbal wit to calm the student’s Fahrenheit. Expectedly, one week after, the promise remained a mirage.
To fulfill all righteousness, the DSA through the staff adviser announced two weeks later, that a congress would hold on 6th of April 2016 at AfeBabalola hall.
But why AfeBabalola and not the Mosque?
Why Congress now after 2 months from January?
If not for protest, wont there be a congress in the first place? Everyone baffled.
The congress on April 6, 2016 turned out to be a mere lecture with the two staff advisers as the discussants – no single issue relating to the restoration of the society’s activities was resolved except to debate either to relate with other hierarchy of the society or not. It was another lollygagging motive to withhold the society forever. Meeting inconclusive!
The March 16, 2016 protest by the Muslim students was perhaps a ginger to the general students who have been holding their resentment towards the school management for long. Thus, on the same day April 6, 2016, starting few minutes after the inconclusive congress, and running through Friday 9th of April, 2016, the general students of the University staged a massive protest organised by the student union of the University (ULSU), complaining about shortage of water supply, hike in prices of items, rationing of power supply and many more.
This culminated in the ultimate ban of ULSU and expulsion of some students. The ULSU protest and its aftermath has been major concern for the school till date.
It seems irrelevant therefore, to talk about MSSN UNILAG anytime soon even though some key officers of the school are Muslims….. Things naturally working out for the lollygagged.
More salts to the injury, the matter seems to have been sidelined, silenced and buried forever. The general clamp down on students by the University management has brought the fear of expulsion hanging over undergraduates like the sword of Damocles. They dare not protest within the school – they have signed the indemnity form.
They dare not post anything about UNILAG in general on social media – the management is checking that. The case of OlufemiAdeyeye who bagged a suspension term for criticising the University management on his Facebook post still roams the students’ memory like a lost sheep.
Therefore it is not likely that anyone would talk about MSSN UNILAG at all. The staff advisers or his caretaker committee is not willing to do so – it is part of the lollygagging strategies of his Salafist ally. The general students who are willing cannot do so – the school will “flog” them for if they do that.
Still more salt, a new DSA was appointed few weeks ago to direct the affairs of the whole students of University of Lagos! Perhaps the former was not reappointed due to the numerous student crisis that happened during his reign, ULSU itself is still fighting for its own re-installment, the general public itself is busy battling for survival on the economic front, the media has long been buried in the kaleidoscope offered by the Nigerian politics; there are too many other issues to deal with.
Therefore, everyone is busy with their own problem, no one has time another. Who then would at least talk about the issue? When would the issue be revisited. When would MSSN UNILAG be restored? When would the student society that handed over to the management on 9/11 2015 be handed back to the students?
For how long would the salafixation continue? When would the proverbial madness of the crisis resolver attain maturity? Would it take 16 years like it did in MSSN OAU? Now the Salafixation seems to have come to stay. Dawah camp, adkhar in jama, Dawah week, Tahjud in Jama, Success dua, and other programmes of the society are bidiah, and now, they are no more……. The happier they are.
Before I rest my case, I would love to appeal to the new DSA, Prof. Adeleke (if at all this write up gets to him), he has been known to be a man of intellect and trust who had his PhD in conflict management and therefore would not support nepotism, or injustice in any form. I therefore appeal to him that he please revisit the MSSN UNILAG crisis with objectivity and without delay.
My appeal extends to the school’s Senate, Council and Congress, the continuous silence of the management on the matter may put a negative smear on the school. For example, the public might want to reasonably conclude that the school is religiously bias or anti-Islamic since other religious activities still hold without disruption while the Islamic activities on campus continues its indefinite suspension.
Let the trio therefore effect a quick restoration of the society. My appeal also extend to the elders of the University of Lagos Muslim Community (UMC), for the sake of Allah, let the interest of the Ummah be placed above all personal desires. Let the leadership of UMC regain its trust and dignity in the student by treating the MSSN UNILAG issue without prejudice.
The appeal would also reach the coup plotters. Let all be reminded of the day of accountability. Slandering, calumny, militancy, extremism, desperation and telling lies are not the ways of the real Salafs.
I wouldn’t forget to appeal to the UNILAG Muslim Alumni, whose handwriting can be felt in this issue, at least the National General Secretary of UMA is the Chairman of the panel that recommended the suspension of the society in 2015. Although those are stories for the latter days.
I only want to appeal to the UMA who had also benefitted from the society during their undergraduate days, and the general public, many of us benefited in one way or the other from the society while on campus. Unfortunately, our immediate generation to come would not enjoy such benefit if the salafixation of the society continues. It would be ungrateful and demeaning of us therefore to ignore the society when it’s in need of our proactive support toward its revival.
To finally drop my pen, I would like to reiterate that this article does not intend to castigate any group or individual, it has its specific audience spelt out in the introductory paragraphs, whosoever feel offended or abused therefore should check to ensure they are not of those exempted from reading first, and if not, they should check their conscience next. Lest I forget, my final appeal to the crisis resolvers – please, fix the crisis and not salafix the society!
Former Editor-in-Chief, MSSN UNILAG