By Adejumo Kabir
Leaders of Academic Staffs Union ( ASUU) Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joint Action Front, among other leading Labour and Civil Society organization stormed Oduduwa Hall of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile – Ife to celebrate 70th birthday ceremony of the former President of ASUU, Dr Dipo Fashina.
Dignitaries at the ceremony and book lunch includes former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attairu Jega, Executive Secretary of Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC),Professor Abubakar Rasheed, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC); Comrade Ayuba Waba, Secretary Joint Action Front (JAF) Comrade Abiodun Aremu, Acting Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Anthony Elujoba among other prominent academicians and right activists across the country.
The Oduduwa Hall, venue of the programme was filled to capacity as speakers after speakers reflected on the heroic contributions of the Fashina to educational and democratic development with the public presentation of a book titled, ‘Perspectives on Dipo Fashina’s Scholarship, Activism and Ideology’.
Head of Philosophy Department, OAU Dr. Gbenga Fasheku, in his opening remarks as the engine room of ASUU struggle for qualitative and affordable education in Nigeria.
He said despite the crudeness of the Nigeria military government, Fashina popularly called Jingo demonstrated unprecedented courage to protect university education and mobiles labour union to get rid of military regime in Nigeria.
The immediate past Chairman of INEC Prof. Attahiru, in his remarks called on Nigerian youths to emulate the former ASUU President who dedicated is life time for the betterment of Nigeria.
Jega, who showered encomiums on the celebrant, said he learnt a lot from him during their time as ASUU leaders, saying the youths needed to emulate the virtues of selflessness, courage and honesty from the man he described as an icon of struggle.
He said, “We many need people, who are selfless and, who have clear perceptive, who have intellectual capacity and who can mobilise the people and who can stand for principle and be ready to die for their principle.
“At 70, we can have the passion and the commitment and we will continue to have the passion, commitment and doggedness to do what is right for our country until we depart this world. But changing this world, we will require the energy, the engagement of these young ones ( students).”
NLC President, Comrade Wabba Ayuba urged Nigerian leaders to emulate the honesty and steadfastness of Fashina and be ready to stand for the people while urging the youths to learn from the courage of Jingo in moving the nation forward.
Wabba said, “We are here to celebrate Dipo Fashina because he has put in more than enough to ensure social justice in the country. We must celebrate selfless people like him and our political elite must emulate this. They must copy Dipo’s life of consistency and accountability.”
OAU Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Elujoba, described Fashina as an elephant that has fought several battles to make life more abundant for the mass of Nigeria.
Olujoba said “Dipo is a well known socialist and a revolutionary leader, supporter of workers, students and universities system at large. He pushed our movement from darkness to light and his roles were all documented for his capacity to tackle oppression in the world. I am convinced to call “Jingo” as popularly called as a good product of university system in our country”.
The Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed reiterated that Fashina has traversed the academic, pro-democracy and human rights struggle since 1970s.
“Jingo has a very rich exposure in early life, he has declined the honour of professorship times without number. He brought the birth of revolutionary struggle to the country workers with his visible contributions to ASUU when he was the President and how he successfully negotiated with government to fund the Universities system.”
Dr Fashina in his remark appreciated the organizers of the ceremony, Amilcar Cabral Ideological School and department of philosophy, OAU for their staunch support towards achieving the successful birthday celebration and book lunch and promised to continue to support the struggle for betterment of Nigeria people.