… How aggrieved members took over social media
Social media has been agog for days following the closure of Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) activities by the University of Lagos authorities (two years ago).
The aggrieved students, who have benefited immensely from the laudable programmes of the society, a fully registered religious group in the University, have rejected the new directive signed by the Dean, Students’ Affairs Division, Prof. Tunde Babawale.
The students took to their Facebook walls and Twitter handles to express dissatisfaction and grief over the suspension, with the #bringbackourmssnunilag and #myunilagmssn hashtags respectively.
They also lamented that the newly-admitted undergraduates, Distance Learning Institute (DLI) and Diploma students will be at utmost disadvantage, as a result of the University-ordered shutdown.
They have also expressed anxiety that the Holiday Training Programme (HTP) of the branch, where students learn various skills like bead making, graphics & web design, driving, tailoring, events decoration among others has been subjected to jeopardy.
Speaking with TRNG, initiator of the campaign, Mansur Ismaila, famously known as Alfa Esin, said: “The #BringBackOurMSSNUnilag social media campaign is a natural reaction to the shut down of #MSSNUnilag by the Unilag Authorities, under immense, unjustified and selfishly political pressure from a group called Unilag Salafis, which calls itself “Concerned Muslim Students”.
Alfa Esin, a 400L Mass Communication student, noted that the response has been tumultuous and exhilaratingly motivating, adding that; “Alumni, current students and well wishers of #MSSNUnilag have taken to all social media in their thousands, peacefully and ingeniously chronicling their glorious days, and beautiful, beneficial experiences with #MSSNUnilag. They have told the world, in brief, catchy ways, how #MSSNUnilag had, and is still benefitting them in all spheres of life.”
With the #BringBackOurMssnUnilag, another social media expert, Yusuf Jimoh Aweda is optimistic that their aims would be achieved, saying that “#MSSNUnilag is an organization of gargantuan prominence, influence and benefit.
The University of Lagos, the government and people of Lagos state, the Federal Government and indeed all well meaning people of the free world can’t but hear our peaceful cry for help, and give us back our beloved #MSSNUnilag”.
Aweda, a final year student of Physics Electronics, University of Lagos, said: “Our ultimate aim is to pressure the Unilag Authorities to reinstate our beloved #MSSNUnilag, in the state and form it was before disbandment, while we vehemently reject all external influence and pressure from within and without the University, which precipitated this crisis in the first instance.”
BRING BACK OUR MSSN – UNILAG STUDENTS’ REACTIONS
TRNG painstakingly monitored hundreds of students testimonies as posted on social media; below are some of what they said and why they want the youth oriented society (MSSN) reinstated.
Hassan Barakat Temitope said: “When I entered Unilag as a student , I practiced less of Islam because I wanted to read. After my first year, it looked as if I never studied. I joined MSSN UNILAG and was taught how to balance between my academics and my religion (spiritual life). After my second year first semester, I became one of the best in my department. #MSSNUnilag spiritually, morally, academically RELIEVING THE GOLDEN AGE. #BringBackMyMssn”
As for Muftaudeen Raji, it’s another great experience. He wrote on his Facebook wall; “#MSSNUnilag got me, tutored me, instilled confidence in me and made me believe I can be where I choose to be. My POSTUTME test experience was awesome.
The tutors were scholars per excellence. They taught us all the gimmicks of the test. Finally, I beat the test (60%) and got MASS COMM. Today I’m happy.#bringbackmyunilagmssn.”
Zaynab AbdurRazaq, a 400L student of Law says: “If I’ve spent my life knowing the truth about my religion and constantly have someone remind me that I stand for peace and justice, that leadership is a trust, that doesn’t let me go overboard to leave Islam or become an extremist, that I should care for those around me, that religion is an advice, I don’t know what’s gonna happen if there’s a sudden change and there’s no one to remind me anymore. That’s why I plea to who ever it concerns to #BringBackMyMSSNUnilag.”
WHY MSSN WAS SUSPENDED
The sudden suspension of MSSN activities on campus came on the heels of an anonymous letter addressed to the management, alleging the society of financial misappropriation, existing under external influence and operating a partisan “Shura” (consensus) system, among other allegations.
The management afterwards instituted a panel chaired by Dr. Luqman Adams of the Faculty of Science. The panel, as part of its effort at finding a lasting solution to the matter, requested students to express their grievances in written form.
The panel upheld some decisions which were contained in a statement issued by the Dean, Students Affairs Division, Prof. Tunde Babawale.
“I wish to forward to you the decisions of the University Management at finding a permanent resolution to the perennial crisis within the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), University of Lagos branch, Prof. Babawale said, adding that: “The University Management has directed the Students Affairs Division to start in earnest, the review of the constitution of All Associations, Clubs and Societies on Campus and also circulate for implementation the Financial Guidelines as approved by the Vice-Chancellor to those Associations to regulate the disbursement of funds.
“The current MSSN (Unilag) Executive would be allowed to complete its tenure. However, a committee is to be set up to review the MSSN bye-laws to conform with University rules and regulations before another election into the Executive positions is conducted”, he concluded.
The crisis led to the resignation of Dr. Tajudeen Yusuf, who had meritoriously served as a staff adviser to the body for 15 years. Subsequently, the position of the staff adviser was to be occupied by two lecturers (one Male and one Female) who must be Muslims.
Following the resignation of Dr. Tajudeen Yusuf, Dr. Ismail Musa from Islamic Studies department and Dr. Koleosho from the Faculty of Environmental Sciences were appointed as the new staff advisers of MSSN Unilag branch.
At a congress presided over by the new Staff Adviser, Dr. Musa and a representative of the DSA on a motion for the adoption of the byelaw review, the votes of the 23 students who voted against the motion was allegedly adopted, while 116 students’ support for the motion was rejected.
This led to the immediate suspension of the activities of MSSN until January 2016, when new elections will be conducted. The embattled administration led by Amir Rasheed Adeoye were instructed to handover and submit their handover notes to the staff advisers on or before 9th of November, 2015.
THE SUSPENSION CAME AS A SURPRISE – MSSN
Reacting to the news, the Amir of the MSSN Unilag branch, Rasheed Adeoye said the shut down came as a total surprise to every well meaning Muslim student on campus.
According to him, what makes it more shocking is the fact that we were given certain conditions to meet as regards our bye laws. The review was done as directed and at the AGM, 116 students voted for the adoption of the review while only 23 voted against it. For any decision to be made, two third must be in favour and with the figures above, more than the required quorum was met. Despite this, the authority is planning for another review.
Explaining the implication of the closure, Amir Adeoye stated that: “All the vocational trainings which we empower our members with financially during the holiday is on a shutdown. It means all the assistance rendered to incoming students during the screening exercise is also on a shutdown.
It means giving the newly admitted students the right orientation; academic, social and spiritual, through the Freshers’ Orientation Week is on a shutdown. It means organising the much-needed tutorials for the incoming DLI students is on a shutdown. It means development of our members during the holiday spiritually and academically is on a shutdown.”
In a chat with TRNG, the immediate past Amir of the society, Mallam Faruq Musadiq debunked all the allegations against the society, saying they are shorn of the tiniest shred of truth.
He said: “They are all allegations that can only exist in the banal minds of the most logic depraved human. Anyone can cook up anything as allegations, the important thing is to substantiate such allegations with facts and evidences. It’s unfortunate that some people have debased their God given talent of creativity to spread mischief and lies”.
“MSSN Unilag has been known for decades by management and the entire community to be the bacon of light for all, students and staff, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Thuggery is the last act even the most miserly and meanest person will accuse MSSN UNILAG of.
“At the end of every session, we publish the financial reports for the benefit of all members present at the conference and they are all given opportunities to challenge it.
Since this allegation has been made, the financial reports of the branch had undergone various auditing and has also being submitted to the management for same”, he concluded.
Meanwhile, the society is yet to decide whether it is participating in the forthcoming election. Also, the activities of the society on campus might have been suspended, but the Secretariat is yet to be locked as at the time of filing this report. And it’s not clear the mode the election would take, but sources close to the management confirmed to us that it’ll be an open ballot election.
PANIC GRIPS THE “JABATA-LED SALAFI” GROUP
The SALAFI movement, which officially calls itself “Concerned Muslim Students”, the main opposition group on campus has been alleged to be responsible for the current crisis hitting the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, University of Lagos branch.
They allegedly wrote the anonymous letters sent to the management in order to put the MSSN in bad light. They didn’t only celebrate the suspension of MSSN activities, which they termed as “devilish”, our findings revealed that they have begun desperate moves towards ensuring that the present leadership of the society never returns to power.
In his Facebook post, the leader of the sect, Yusuf Adisa Akande wrote: “This is to inform the well meaning members of the Muslim Student Society of Nigeria Unilag Branch that the TMC-led MSSN administration of Rasheed Adeoye of Science and Tech Education has been officially disbanded by the University Authority therefore, all Muslim students are advised to truncate all official connections with them as they do not officially represent the Muslim student body”.
“We also seek to inform all Muslim students that all the executive members of the disbanded administration are under investigation for financial malpractices, allegations of impersonation, hooliganism, collusion with external bodies and other related offenses.
Therefore no student should collaborate with them in any form either for lobbying, obstruction of justice, protest and demonstrations or destruction of material evidence as this might lead to rustication, expulsion or imprisonment as deemed fit by the University Authorities and intervening government agencies”, the statement stated.
When we contacted Mallam Yusuf Adisa, 300L student of Physics department, on Friday, October 6, 2015 on the role played by his group, he declined to comment, saying he’s not sure if our correspondent was truly a journalist.
He demanded that our correspondent should forward him his identity card, which he did, yet Mallam Yusuf, who is fondly called the Jabata boy, kept us waiting for hours.
He later agreed to speak on the issue, but failed to respond to our questions, which are reproduced below.
Salaam alaykum Mallam Yusuf Adisa.
So I want to ask you questions as regard the recent closure of MSSN activities at the University of Lagos. I’ll be glad if you can give me audience – so that we can balance our story, by speaking with both sides.
Here are the questions:
» What is your group’s reaction to the closure of MSSN activities on campus?
» in an interview with us, the MSSN executives debunked allegations of thuggery and financial misappropriation. What’s your take on this, giving adequate instances where necessary?
» The University authorities have fixed January for elections. Kindly speak on this?
» Is your group registered and are you planning to participate in the election?
» Tell us more about your group; Jabata or salafi group?
Mallam Yusuf read our messages but didn’t reply us as at the time of filing this report, 48 hours after.
BRIEF HISTORY Of MSSN UNILAG
The history of Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, University of Lagos Branch is that of vibrancy in every aspect of Islamic propagation. Its activities have not only transformed lives of Muslims on campus but also touched positively many souls outside campus.
Since inception, the Society has undergone tremendous positive changes vis-à-vis Islamic reawakening, human development and societal cohesiveness. It is this leading role that MSSN UNILAG has continuously played that has earned her the enviable position she currently occupies.
– Rasheed Abubakar
The story was first published on Nov. 8, 2015 by therenaissanceng.com
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