Students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife are currently divided over the purchase of a 14-seater bus for about N3million by their union leaders, Punch reported. This comes after the students’ union leaders were heavily criticised for budgeting the sum of N1.6m 2015 for phone calls over a period of nine months.
While some of the students alleged that the bus was bought for a cheaper price, others said the purchase should be commended. Some of the students alleged that the Students’ Union was being dashed the bus and customised with about N150,000.
But things got out of hand after a student of the University shared an advertisement seeking to sell the same model of bus for N900,000.
However, the union officers have provided receipt of N2.5m of the purchased bus and confirmed that the bus is not brand new, Punch reported.
Some of the students also complained that the rim of the Toyota bus was that of a Mercedes-Benz. When contacted, the President of the Union, Ibukun Edward, denied that the bus was bought for N3million.
He explained that the Tokunbo bus was purchased for N2.5m after due consultation with the Maintenance Unit of the University. He noted that to ensure that the union was not cheated, the dealer was introduced to them by the parents of one of the union’s executives who resides in Ile-Ife.
He said, “I have seen a lot of posts from some students who said we claimed to have gotten the bus for N3million. That is absolutely not true. It is a total lie. As President, I have never disclosed the amount the bus was bought to the public. I can boldly say it anywhere, I am not corrupt and I will never be. I am not fraudulent in all my dealings and I will never be.
“I want anyone who is interested or anyone who is vast about buses to find out how much a grade one Tokunbo Toyota 14-seater Bus is being sold anywhere and put the amount public for all students to see. The picture on social media was taken after the bus had been used from morning to evening.”
However, the union’s Transport and Monitoring Committee in a statement on Wednesday denied having knowledge about the purchase of the bus.
The statement, which was signed by the members of the committee headed by Oluwalade Babatunde read in part, “It is very important for students to know that everything affiliated with transport affairs is our business as ascribed by our constitution . It is however very sad that we are not aware of the date, location of the purchase and the amount used to procure the new union bus.
“It’s very disheartening also that this, which was promised to be a medium providing relief to the crisis of transportation plaguing students, has now turned to a point of concern. We would not take up the job of the budget committee but we’ve all seen and even a lame man would ask questions as regards the acclaimed price of these bus.”
The union’s Public Relations Officer, Simon Okediji, debunked that the bus was repaired recently.
He said, “The rim is not that of Mercedez Benz. Every part of the bus was provided by the maker – Toyota. It is not a new bus. It was bought eight-days ago.
“It has not been repaired. Whenever you buy a used bus like that, it is not impossible that somethings in it may need to be fixed. We didn’t take it there (mechanic shop) because it broke down or needed some repair but to do some few things. Nothing is wrong with the bus.”