THE UNHOLY ALLIANCE BETWEEN PRESIDENT BUHARI AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN STUDENTS IS AGAINST THE RUN OF PLAY
The visit to President Muhammadu Buhari by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), and their subsequent promise to pull for the president “20 million votes” is condemnable by all standards, and it should be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians aside students, especially those who care about the history of sacrifice and exploits of this organization in its formative days.
In the early days, the Nigerian student were always at the vanguard of the campaign for good governance and sound policies on education, but what we have now is mediocrity. Recall that in April 1978, Nigeria students led a protest across campuses in the country against hikes in school fees, but the government responded by unleashing the army and the police, and it resulted to the death and serious injuries of some students. Again, if I may paraphrase the words of Abdul Mahmud, a lawyer and former NANS’ President from 1990 – 1992, as culled from his Twitter Page. “Muhammadu Buhari gave the Nigerian students bullets when they requested bread in 1984, when the then dictator Buhari attempted to; hike tuition fees, hostel fees, withdraw feeding and indeed banned student unionism. NANS which was already 4 years old at the time resisted and its president Lanre Arogundade was arrested and locked-up in Ife Prison until he left power”. Terrible!
But to the consternation of the general public, the executives of the apex students’ union which was supposed to be bipartisan in the first place, led by its President Comrade Danielson Bamidele, payed a visit to Aso Rock on 3 January 2019, supposedly to discuss the ongoing strike by ASUU, as it affects students amongst other issues. But the event ended up being a show of solidarity with the President against the ASUU and endorsement of his candidature in the forthcoming presidential elections, for a leader whose policies have not been favourable to the higher institutions, Nigerian students home and abroad and whose ideas over the years have been a disaster for education in general.
This is coming days after NANS accused ASUU of self-seeking and not representing the interest of the students or higher institutions, and also demanded to be carried along in the scheme of things. Well, I guess the President has carried them along now, and we see why ASUU have been skeptical of their intentions.
In his words, Comrade Bamidele emphasized to the President that his constituency have a large population numbering about 80 million, and then added; “I can assure you today that if this constituency is well utilized, we will pull nothing less than 20 million votes for you”, and he was cheered on by his cohorts. Meanwhile, this is a comrade who according to pulse.ng, promised upon resumption of office that “Nigerian students under his leadership won’t be used for political vendetta”.
This just goes to show how unfortunately, most Nigerian youths not only lacks sense of history, but are not ready for leadership.
The current crop of NANS leadership lacks the moral rights to remain in office, and I think they should be ashamed, as they have brought mockery to the history of the Association. Since the NANS platform is not for partisan politics, we therefore call upon Comrade Danielson Bamidele Akpan and his executives to resign, so as to pave way for a new breed of leaders who can channel the concerns and challenges of the students to the powers that be when given opportunities.
Patrick S. Jr.