ThisDay editorial board chair, Segun Adeniyi, has publicly apologised to a University of Lagos (UNILAG) student he apparently “black-sheeped” for doing a noble thing.
Femi Adeyeye criticised UNILAG management on Facebook for its refusal to dialogue with students who demanded humane treatment on campus.
“The man showed real maturity and sense of civility.” – Adeyeye.
Instead of talking with its own students, UNILAG called police to evict them, banned the students union, shut the school, and forced students into relinquishing their rights to peaceful protests via an indemnity form top Nigerian lawyers condemned. The school also rusticated Adeyeye alongside 10 others for exercising their rights to free speech. The school also rusticated a visually impaired student and another critic who already graduated, retracing its steps only after stakeholders raised alarm online.
While speaking with BAZE University students in Abuja late September, Adeniyi, who was media aide to late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua, warned his audience not to follow Adeyeye’s path as doing so could damage their careers.
“It is almost always a bad idea to use social media to drag your teachers, school or place of work,” Adeniyi said.
“It is worse when you are still associated with such organizations,” he said.
He then used Adeyeye as a case in point.
I wrote an open letter to Adeniyi on Thursday baring my mind on why following his admonition could be inimical to social progress. What if my boss raped me? What if a lecturer assaulted me and the school refused to take necessary action? What if they said they fumigated the hostels and we still warred with bedbugs? What if I raised the issue with the management and they refused to listen. Should I suffer in silence and fear, or should I take the matter into public space? That was my line of reasoning.
I shared the letter on Twitter, Facebook and also mailed Adeniyi the link. Adeyeye also retweeted a post where I also mentioned the ThisDay boss who then apologised on the thread.
The media guru has done the right thing but he won’t be getting any medals. This is how it is done in saner climes, the saner climes to which many Nigerians would rather escape — you call out authorities, they see their error and apologise and everyone moves on.
This is good for our democracy.
“The man showed real maturity and sense of civility,” Adeyeye told me after Adeniyi’s apology.
Oh the progress we’d have made had Nigerian leaders been this reasonable!