At every graduation ceremony, particularly before students receive scroll of honour and are pronounced “graduates”, the Registrar will invoke what could be regarded as academic ethos, saying “the persons standing have been found worthy both in character and in learning to be admitted to the degree of …” From this phrase, character and learning are the two major constituents of a degree a graduate parades as a symbol of academic training. Interestingly, one of the mission statements of University of Ibadan is to produce graduates who are worthy in character and learning.

But, what is character? An online dictionary describes it as “the inherent complex of attributes that determines a person’s moral and ethical actions and reactions. Indeed, education has for its object, the formation of character. The synonyms of character include attitude, nature, attributes, disposition, reputation, among others. To underscore the importance of character, an American author, John Maxwell says attitude is the librarian of our past, the speaker of our present and the prophet of our future.” In other words, bad character can only lead to a dwarfed destiny, just as someone argues that a bad character is like a flat tyre, you can’t go far unless you change it.

It is against this backdrop one is compelled to examine the recent students’ protest at the University of Ibadan (UI) and some of its emerging sociological phenomenal. The protest,  under the aegis of Students’ Union began two days before commencement of planned first semester examination. The union, led by a 200-level student, Ojo Aderemi had issued a six-point demand at a “congress”, which management describes as illegal. Some of the demands of the students included a two-day ultimatum given to the university management  to constitute the students’ welfare board.

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