By Swandy Banta
“May we think of freedom, not as a right to do as we please but as the opportunity to do what is right”….. Peter Marshall
Yesterday I was in my office trying to sort out pending official matters before the immediate past graduates of our institution were due to be inducted at 10am.
I suddenly began to hear chants, “Solidarity forever we shall always fight for our rights”. Students had begun a protest. I couldn’t believe my ears. The representatives of the inducting council had arrived and other dignitaries were already seated at the auditorium in preparation for the commencement of the ceremony in a few minutes.
I got off my desk and went downstairs to find out what exactly was going on.
Apparently the students were out to protest a recent notice which announced a new levy they were to pay.
Sometimes when we hurt because of injustice done to us, our impulses are awakened to exercising our freedom to seek justice for wrong done.
While I could understand their pain, which of course bordered on the fact that exams were billed to start in a few days and most students already had empty purses, I saw in the protesters a group of highly non insightful youngsters who just didn’t place things in proper perspective before exercising their freedom to protest.
Sadly, shit had already hit the ceiling fan and was surely going to splash.
I immediately activated my legal mind to find the merit in any of their claims and there was none. Placing the issues raised in perspective, I realized that they had no case against the management. At best they should have exercised their freedom to send a delegation to the college management to seek reprieve.
Now instead of doing that, they were so fixated on their resolve to get management to reverse the decision that they chose to protest on the day such a significant occasion was scheduled to take place because they believed they could embarrass the management to submission.
How wrong they were.
What they failed to realize was that among the dignitaries gracing the occasion were representatives of several institutions who in the near future would be their prospective employers. So while they protested, these guests saw what an unruly bunch they were and had the opportunity to make mental notes to safeguard their organizations.
They also did not realize that the fact that the governing council of the professional body they hoped to be inducted into in the future was ably represented at this event was significant for their future membership of the profession.
If as students they have no regard for the professional body they hope to be inducted into in the future, that left some critical questions about their eligibility for membership into the profession.
Parents were also seated at the auditorium waiting for the ceremony to begin. These youngsters did not respect the presence of their parents enough to desist from any unruly behavior, knowing well that engaging in unruly behavior places parents on the spot light as failing in their parental duties.
At the end of the day their protest did not deter the induction ceremony from taking place, but the consequences of their actions will have to take course. I doubt if they considered this before taking the first shot at the college management.
Yes I agree that the levies slammed on them may have been exorbitant or even ill timed, but their response to the matter turned the tables on them.
Let me buttress this point by shifting to the Busola Vs Fatoyinbo story.
Immediately Busola’s almost two hour interview session was made public, the social media went agog with all sorts of insults against the general overseer of COZA, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo. But did you noticed that as time passed divergent perspectives on the matter began to rise, almost completely turning the table on her?
Now this is what happens when we exercise our freedom to seek recourse without placing all factors in proper perspective.
I took the pain to watch Busola’s interview for the almost two hours it took. I make bold to say that what happened to her was terrible but she can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that she was raped. The law isn’t about emotions, I can’t begin to tell my happiness If proof is made available to nail the COZA dude but till then.
But like my students I agree she had the freedom to expose what Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo did to her, but was not careful enough to strategically device means of hitting bull’s eye with her allegation.
Now if Pastor Fatoyinbo takes her to court for calling him out as a rapist, he may win on the basis of technicalities. Please don’t be mad at me. I’m not taking sides with the Pastor, but letting you know that it’s her word against his and courts don’t admit hearsay as evidence.
Now towards the end of her interview, Busola said she was coming out because she wanted to lend her voice to helping other ladies who the same man of God is preying on.
Between me and you, my personal opinion, using the Essay Walters case as reference is that most of these girls Busola claims are being abused are willingly engaged in these vices and only complain when it turns sour.
Now juxtapose helping ladies in the situation (quite a number of whom don’t need her help in my opinion) and the number of Christians who have lost faith in the church and gone right back to their previous sin enclaves because of the scandal her story has rocked, can she truly say her aim has been met?
I’m not saying Mrs Busola Dakolo should not have sought justice if she felt the man of God needed to pay for what he did to her. I am saying there had to be a better way of handling the matter.
People hurt us. They do really terrible things to us sometimes. The most painful part is when they hurt us and then go on living their lives as if they did us no wrong, while we languish in the misery of the residual effect of what we passed through because of them.
But we must always remember that before we exercise our freedom to seek justice, we must place things in proper perspective to ensure that we don’t lose our case on the basis of technicalities that could have easily been taken care of before we launched into the waters of “freedom to exercise our rights”.
Swandy can be reached on email@example.com