Nnamdi Azikiwe University, UNIZIK, ex-Student Union President, Nobel Eyisi, who was expelled for fighting for the rights of his student, has revealed in an interview that he made sure he graduated with first class in law in a UK Varsity so that those whole expelled him in UNIZIK will be put to shame.
In this interview, Nobel narrated what really transpired between his former school management and himself. He explained how he was depressed because of the expulsion and how he made sure he graded with first class in law to put his enemies to shame.
Below is an excerpt from the interview. If you enjoy reading it, please don’t forget to share this page using the respective social share buttons below.
Please tell us briefly about yourself.
I’m Noble Eyisi, from Anambra State. I’m 25 years old. I’m currently planning to begin my PhD but, in the meantime, I run Noble Nigeria where, together with my team, we comment on political issues on my YouTube channel.
You were said to have recently got distinction in International Law at the University of Hull, United Kingdom. Can you confirm that?
I obtained my LLB from the University of Hull; I made first class honours in Law with Politics in July 2019. I just completed my master’s with a distinction in International Commercial Law from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.
Your recent achievement came a little over six years after you were reportedly expelled by the management of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State. How does it make you feel?
It does make me feel happy. By the grace of God, I was able to graduate with first class honours two years ago (2019) and made a distinction in my master’s. So, it does make me feel fulfilled that the purpose for which I left Nigeria – for studies – I am finally achieving.
Can you recall briefly what led to your expulsion?
As a student leader, one of my beliefs has always been that my job is to fight for the interest of my fellow students. What led to my expulsion was the fact that I wrote a letter to the vice-chancellor, addressing some of the issues I felt were not being properly addressed by the management of the university. One of them was the price of food in the university. The other was the fees newly introduced in by the management. In short, after I wrote the letter to the management, we organised a protest and after the protest, I was expelled from the university but up till today, I believe I was acting on behalf of the students; I believe in servant leadership, no matter what the outcome might be.
According to reports, members of your team dissociated themselves from the letter you addressed to the then vice-chancellor, Prof Joseph Ahaneku. Did you not carry them along?
I carried them along, of course. I mean they were informed but I believe their hatred for me came from a previous issue.
What was the issue?
Normally, every driver in the university pays some money to the SUG, through the Directorate of Transport. So, the SUG president appoints a Director of Transport. That has been a cash cow for the SUG president for years. When I came in, I reduced the transport fare for my fellow students and one of the bargains we made with the drivers was that they would stop paying that fare to us, so we made a sacrifice. But my fellow executives were not happy with me, so their hatred for me stemmed from those issues. So, I was not surprised when they said they would not support me in this (issue with the management of the university). But in my heart, I felt it was the right thing to do. So, of course, they (fellow executives) were carried along. But it goes back to the old use of divide and conquer; the university felt they could easily divide us and by so doing, ‘conquer us’ in the sense that they used my fellow executive members to further my impeachment from office and make sure I was expelled from the university. If I had kept on taking the money from the DOT, the case would have been different.
But you were said to have been impeached after you were alleged to have abused your office. Did you, in retrospect, think you went too far in your actions and disrespected the school authorities?
No, I don’t think so; I don’t think I went too far. If anything, I don’t think I went far enough. As a student leader, my job was to protect and fight for the interest of my fellow students. I was just doing my job; I was fulfilling the promises I made to the students. I ran (for office) based on the dream of correcting the idea of people coming into the office and not doing anything. So, I did what I thought was right; I still believe that what I did was the right thing to do. No, I didn’t disrespect them (school authorities at all). I believe we exhausted all the options we had even before we decided to protest. I don’t regret what I did; I think that was what needed to be done.
How were you informed about your expulsion? Did you receive a formal letter?
Everything began unravelling in June/July 2015. I was arrested by the school’s security service and taken to the management building and later to the Department of State Services; that was where the DSS director for Anambra told me I had been expelled and that I was not allowed into the university except to collect my things from the university hostel where I lived. That was all I heard. I was not given a letter telling me I had been expelled or the reasons. Everything happened in a couple of hours. I later picked my things from the hostel and left the university.
Were you given a fair hearing?
I won’t personally call it a fair hearing. I think it was more of a charade. I was invited by a panel of four or five people. I’m sorry I can’t remember the full details but I remember facing a panel. I did not expect to get a fair hearing. The question they asked was directed to hear my part of the story. They were vindictive and it was not fair at all.
What course were you studying as of that time and what was your level?
I was in my penultimate year studying Political Science. I would have graduated in 2016 but I was expelled in 2015.
How exactly did you feel when you were informed about your expulsion?
I felt very bad. I was depressed when I heard what had happened. I went through a period in which I didn’t know who I was. I still try to push the event to the back of my mind; I’m only talking about it because of this interview but I buried it and hate bringing it up. It affected my mental health and it took me to so many dark places. I’m glad it’s over now.
Did you feel defeated? What did senior staff members, lecturers, and those who impeached you say after your expulsion?
I felt defeated. Everything seemed bleak. For the staff members, I don’t remember any of them reaching out to me. They were happy, from what I was told – that what they wanted had been actualised. My fellow excos and student’s representative council members and a few others felt they had achieved what they set out to achieve, which was to take me out of the position (of SUG president) and make sure they returned the student body to where it was – a corrupt student body that only cared about itself and not the students.
How did your parents react? Did they blame you? What exactly did they tell you?
For my parents, it was a feeling of shock. No one foresaw that I would be expelled from the university, so when it happened, everyone was surprised. But they didn’t blame me because they knew what their son was capable of doing. Thank God they sent me out of the country because it helped me to bounce back. I was even told I did the right thing and encouraged to keep speaking up.
When did you move to the UK?
I moved to the UK in October 2015 to begin my studies afresh. Because I couldn’t access my transcripts, I had to start from the foundational year, or what one may call the first year in Nigeria.
Was your ordeal at UNIZIK responsible for your relocation to the UK? Did you seek asylum?
I did not seek asylum in the UK. It was because of what I went through that my parents decided that I had to leave Nigeria. One of the reasons was the threat to my life. They (my parents) felt it was better I left the country and began my studies afresh. I went to the UK on a student visa to study. I didn’t want anyone to know where I was, so it was a surprise to many when I got my first degree because I was not on social media, my pictures could not be found anywhere and no one knew what I looked like. I had to prove myself to the world that I was capable of doing this (studying and graduating).
How did your academic journey to the UK begin?
My academic journey in the UK began when I left in October 2015 and started with a foundation year. For Law and Politics in the UK, it’s just three years. The foundation year was like a pre-university programme, so there was year one, year two, and a final year.
How tough or easy was it studying in the UK months after your experience at UNIZIK?
It was difficult, I must say, coming from Nigeria and having experienced what it is like studying at a Nigerian university. Also, the environments were different. At first, it was difficult for me because I still had that mindset of being in Nigeria. I struggled to let go but in my second year I decided to let go and focus on what took me to the UK. It was tough; there was no family, no friends, but after a while, I came to appreciate the fact that I was in a new place and could rediscover myself.
Having obtained a master’s degree, what are your plans? Do you intend to return to Nigeria and become a lecturer, perhaps, at UNIZIK?
To be honest, I think I’m at that stage of my life where I’m open to different possibilities. What I am doing now are political commentaries about Nigeria, talking about politics in Nigeria and Anambra State on YouTube and Instagram. I am open to returning to Nigeria. I am open to becoming a lecturer one day. I am open to consulting on politics. If we want to change Nigeria and make it better, we have to be in the arena.
Do you intend to remain in the UK for a long time?
I don’t think I’ll remain in the UK for a long time. My future is in Nigeria. One day, I will return to play my part. I’m optimistic that Nigeria will become great one day.
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