Dec. 25, 2013
By Comrade Patrick Oseriemen Benjamin
Like a covetous father who deserted his poor family to wine and
dine with ungodly rich harlots, so has the Mr Yinka Gbadebo led NANS
deserted Nigerian students to wine and dine with oppressors of
Nigerian students and Idia-Ami of Nigerian masses . . . As
Dinoprostone kills the fetus in the womb, so also has NANS killed the
trust of many students in students unionism.
However, for the few existing genuine progressive students of Nigeria,
we solidly stand on the believe that regardless the present dominance
of less ideological “come and raids”, there is still hope for NANS.
That’s if genuine student-activists unite to reclaim their NANS from
the hands of hijackers.
The shameful reality of NANS can be seen in the past ASUU strike that
kept Nigerian students at home for almost 6 months. Having critically
reflected on the industrial action, the position of the Federal
Government of Nigeria, the demands of the Academic, Staff Union of
Universities and most especially, the role played so far by the Mr.
Yinka Gbadebo led NANS, I have come to the conclusion that the one and
only almighty president of NANS, Mr Yinka Gbadebo played a
self-serving role to the detriment of Nigerian students. And I stand
to emphatically state that NANS has not only failed Nigerian students,
but has also failed the altruism with which founding leaders erected
the pillars of students’ unionism in Nigeria.
The basis of my conclusion that Mr. President played a bias role in
this on-going strike can be clearly seen in his press address in
Lagos, on the 11th of September 2013, where Mr. Gbadebo openly
declared his support for the anti-students and anti-masses government
of Nigeria, by describing the 2009 federal Govt/ASUU agreement as
“Frivolous and self-serving to the interest of ASUU alone ”.
At this juncture, I consider to remind the NANS president that the
2009 agreement he contempt as ‘frivolous’ was, after 5 years
(2004-2009) of tough and painstaking negotiation between the two
parties, reached and equally signed without fear, duress or
intimidation from any of the two parties. It’s so unfortunate that our
students’ president didn’t only take side on FG, but resorted also to
becoming the Chief propagandist for the Federal Govt.
I make reference to how he uses his Facebook account to post biased
articles in favor of federal government against ASUU. Hence, I like to
ask the NANS president that; Since, as he has claimed, the federal
govt /ASUU agreement was “Frivolous and self-serving to the interest
of ASUU alone.”, why then did the govt go ahead to give his signature
to the agreement? Also, Mr. Gbadebo, if we take into cognizance the
fact that the federal govt voluntarily signed the 2009 agreement with
ASUU, then logically, does it not however imply that the federal govt
agreed that ASUU demands are just, reasonable and of great benefit to
the Nigerian students, Nigerian universities and Nigeria education
sector as a whole?
If the NANS president’s answer is in the negative, I therefore demand
he explains to the Nigerian students why the federal govt signed the
agreement in the first place. Until then, I strongly believe it won’t
be rationally unjustifiable to tag the NANS president’s aforestated
description of the federal govt/ASUU agreement as nothing but another
biased political statement which this present leadership of NANS is
already known for.
Also, I do not think it will be intellectually out of point, to
conclude that the motive of Mr. Yinka Gbadebo’s aforestated
description of the 2009 agreement amongst others are;
1. To tarnish ASUU’s genuine struggle to save Nigeria public universities
2. To create an excuse in defense of FG’s dishonor of the 2009
agreement it entered into with ASUU
3. To support federal government mission to “kill” our public universities
Fellow Nigerian students, I want to believe that, many of us who, out
of ignorance, used to nurse the false belief that this present NANS is
an umbrella students’ body committed to the yearning, interest and
welfare of Nigerian students must have, at least, considering it’s
warped role in the past ASUU strike which kept our universities shut
down for over almost 6 months, had a re-think.
NANS, no doubt, is in a shameful reality. And more shameful it is to
note that, the shameful reality of NANS is largely and negatively
affecting the country through the lack of corrosive contestation from
Nigerian students against govt’s oppressive and nonchalant attitudes
towards the Nigerian students and the country as a whole. It is
crystal clear that the government of Nigeria has succeeded in
utilizing the “divide and rule” tactic to destroy the unity and
strength of NANS to the extent that NANS now has two factions; NANS
officials in favor of ASUU’s struggle (NANS Zone-D) and others against
ASUU’s struggle (Mr. Yinka Gbadebo led faction). Too bad!
The Students’ Union Governments of Nigerian higher institutions are
other unfortunate organizations to talk about. Most of these S.U.Gs
are, like NANS, another failed establishment. They are shame,
embarrassment and mighty disappointment to the entire students of
Nigeria. The “unstudently” interference of the school management in
the activities of the so-called students’ unions has made the S.UGs
become an assemblies of puppets. It is so unfortunate. And my poor
heart bleeds for our dear country because, the more the govt’s divide
and rule tactic in NANS and the school managements’ “unstudently”
interference in the S.U.Gs persist, the more our country runs faster
to the pit of destruction.
THE WAY FORWARD
Fellow Nigerian students, the first step in mapping out a feasible way
forward for NANS in this cave of shame it has found itself, is to
humbly admit the fact that in our silence, single handed actions or
inaction, we are all responsible for the present shameful reality of
NANS. Hence, we all should be genuinely ready to place all our hands
on deck to ensure our beloved NANS is returned to its throne of glory.
The unification of all genuine progressive students across the
federation is another step to take in saving NANS from the hands of
retrogressive people parading themselves as students’ leaders.
Enough of Facebook activism ! Let’s put the spirit of A Luta into
test. This is the time for us to stand up in one accord to make a
clarion call for a National conference of all progressive students. We
must be prepared to sacrifice all we’ve got to ensure that all
progressive students of Nigeria come together under one roof to
discuss the maladies of NANS with the aim to proffer an antidote for
NANS poisoned leadership.
The National conference will serve as a platform where articulate
genuine Nigerian students can exhibit the great intellectual prowess
that Nigeria students’ movement is known for. The solution to NANS’
maladies rests not in one student, but in all progressive students.
Hence, there is the need for a National conference where all
progressives will come and contribute on how to save NANS from
negative leadership. The greatest task in achieving this conference
rest upon all change seeking Nigerian students, particularly students
progressive students organizations like, Liberated Minds, Education
Rights Campaign, Progressive Nigerian Students Movement, Nigeria
Students Right Movement et cetera. Leftist students organizations must
unite to ensure this dream conference comes to reality.
In the past, our students union was able to live to its responsibility
because, there were a lot of intellectual based students organizations
on campuses that foster positive intellectual engagement and
interactions among the students. No doubt, like dinosaurs, many of
those organizations have gone into extinction.
But then, it isn’t too late to commence the establishment of such
organizations. We need great numbers of ideological and progressive
students’ organizations on campuses. These organizations will serve as
an educating platform for students especially 100 level students, to
enlighten them on the need to become full soldiers of the student
movement, and most especially, to always remind the students that the
aim of the student union is to fight against govt anti-masses
policies, school management’s anti-students policies and to, without
compromise, champion the course of students struggle for A BETTER,
HUMANE ENVIRONMENT OF LEARNING AND THE NEED FOR AN EGALITARIAN
Finally, fellow progressive Nigerian students, based on the
mis-actions and un-actions of NANS, it is crystal clear that the
National Association of Nigerian Students has extremely deviated from
the progressive intentions, equitable doctrines, uncompromising
principles and egalitarian ideology of the founding leaders.
However, I still choose to hold the conviction that if a national
conference is called and all progressive students unite. . . If
progressives on various campuses commence the re-establishment of
intellectually-based organizations in various campuses to enlighten
students on the need to embrace patriotism, disregard vices and to
place the interest of ALL above the interest of the self; the glorious
days of genuine students’ movement will return. Nigerian students will
regain their National and international dignity as reputable
contributors to the advancement of humanity and never shall the voices
of Nigerian students be silent on National issues, especially like the
past exhibition of callousness on the part of the Federal Govt of
Nigeria which kept our universities shut for almost 6 months.
In Aluta, We Dine!
In It’s Storm, We Survive!
A Luta Continua!
Patrick Oseriemen Benjamin Aka- Legal Oracle is a Student of
University of Benin, Department Of Foreign Languages!