Students of the Lagos State University and some activists have launched an online campaign to demand the reversal of the hiked tuition fee of the institution.
LASU students were paying N25,000 before the recent hike pushed it upwards to between N193,000 and N350,000 per academic session.
The aggrieved students and their supporters have resorted to the use of the hashtag, #SaveLASU, as well as various images and pictures, to drive home their demand on the micro-blogging service.
To this end, they have begun sending protest messages to the state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, via his Twitter handle @tundefashola.
Some of the aggrieved students also threatened to lead a campaign for the recall of some members of the Lagos State House of Assembly who fail to champion their cause for the reversal of the fees.
They argued that the fee hike which they described as anti-people has led to a sharp decline in the student enrollment in the institution.
One of the protesters, Hassan Taiwo, wrote on Twitter that if the fee hike is not reversed, many of the first and second year students may not be able to complete their studies.
He said with their online protest they will “be a constant irritation” to the government until their demands are met. He noted that the LASU fee hike if not reversed will bring about “a future of welders and touts, not that of engineers, lawyers and doctors” for citizens of Lagos State.
“These elite have a bleak future planned for the youth. LASU fee is a class warfare against working class Lagosians. This is a resistance that will go on until all demands are met.
“Let those who have ears hear, #SaveLASU movement will go on with this struggle for as long as it takes right up to the 2015 elections #SaveLASU .
“Big brother Fashola, we can’t see the same big picture concerning LASU fees.
“You want LASU for the rich, we want it for everyone. Saving Nigeria should start from making education accessible. If you #SaveLASU, you are saving the future.
“Denying people education is not progressive, it’s retrogressive,” he added.
For Ola Marcus, the increment in the tuition fees by Fashola, has culminated into pricing education beyond the reach of the poor.
“Is there a better movement for change than giving access to education? The late Obafemi Awolowo gave Fashola free and qualitative education. Why should Fashola price education out of the reach of the poor? How will a political party be progressive when it is pricing education out of the reach of poor?” Marcus asked.
One Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni urged the leadership of the All Progressives Congress to impress it upon the governor to quickly reverse the tuition in the interest of the masses.
According to Mojeed-Sanni, the APC’s pledge of “free, relevant and quality education” which it promised at its summit held last week will be rubbished if the hiked LASU fees subsisted.
“At its National Summit, APC talked about a ‘free and relevant quality education.’ The summit would fall adequately short if education of the mass of the people is not given due consideration.
“APC should please save LASU. Education for the majority of the people means liberation through a democratic means,” he tweeted.
Another concerned student, who described himself as a youth activist and blogger, Ewebiyi Keye-James tweeted, “We are not asking for tuition-free LASU, just make the fees affordable for us. Reverse the fee hike and #SaveLASU.”
The protesters have also collected 120 signatures on change.org, a go-to website for web protests to force the governor to yield to their demand.
A group, Education Rights Campaign, in a message posted on the site stated, “This is a clarion call to save the Lagos State University; oppose injustice and ensure that education is not priced out of the reach of poor Lagosians. Support this campaign to make education available for all.”
Meanwhile, a former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has denied being a member of the APC. The ex-Vice-President of the World Bank who delivered a paper at the party’s first national summit in Abuja on Thursday said she is not a card carrying member of any political party in the country.
Many of her followers had wondered if she would honour such an invitation if it was extended to her by the Peoples Democratic Party.
“For tweeps that are asking, I am not in any party. I was just an invited keynote speaker,” she tweeted. (PUNCH)