NANS Zone D Convention
NANS Zone D Convention
This weekend (July 21/22) the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone D (Southwest Nigeria) is holding its annual Convention to elect a new leadership at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Ayetoro Campus, Ogun State.
The Democratic Socialist Movement is presenting a comrade, Hassan Taiwo Soweto from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Chapter, to contest the post of Coordinator of the NANS Zone D. DSM comrades are also prepared to canvass delegates and activists to adopt as a cardinal programme of the NANS the Save Education Campaign (ERC), which the DSM together with Education Rights Campaign has instituted and been organising activities on campuses and in communities. We have produced two leaflets for the candidature and save education campaign that have been circulated in the run up to the Convention.
Both the candidature of Soweto and the Save Education Campaign have enjoyed the support of radical organisations like the United Action for Democracy (UAD) and NANS Interventionist Platform. The NANS Interventionist Platform is a fledgling coalition of radical student activists, ex-student leaders and left organisations with the objective of setting the tone for the rebuilding of NANS along the path of ideological rebirth. This is to, inter alia, reposition the student movement, which has become decadent, for the challenge of being a fighting organ against the neo-liberal attacks of government.
Comrades of the DSM had severally in the past held the position of the Coordinator of the Zone when we were able to provide radical leadership for students and link with overall struggles of workers and poor masses in Nigeria. However for the past period we have been out of the leadership and the NANS Zone D, which used to be the oasis in the desert of decadence plaguing the student body nationally, has become the shadow of itself.
NANS at the national level has long become moribund. It has about five factions that correspond to the divisions amongst the different sections of the thieving ruling class. All of these factions are disconnected with the interests and aspirations of students on campuses. Despite the unrelenting virulent attack on education, NANS at all levels has not lifted a finger.
Our mission is to use the leadership of the NANS Zone D to institute campaign against neo-liberal attack on education, solidarise and support struggles of workers and poor masses, and rebuild NANS nationally as a fighting organ of students.
Below are the texts of a Save Education Campaign leaflet and Soweto’s election appeal.
Bulletin 03 â€“ July 2007
SAVE EDUCATION CAMPAIGN
Greatest Nigerian Students!
NANS ZONE D Should Declare “A Day of Action”
Involving Lecture Boycotts and Mass Protest
At this year’s Convention of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS Zone D), two things should worry our minds. (1) The unrelenting neo-liberal attacks of government on education and the consequence on Nigerian students 80% of whom are from poor working class backgrounds (2) the inability of successive leadership of NANS (National and Zonal) in the recent time to mobilize Nigerian students to resist government onslaught on education.
Despite the enormous wealth of Nigeria, education like other social services is under-funded in line with the World Bank/IMF inspired anti-poor policies of privatization and commercialization of the government at all levels. The under-funding has meant that our schools from the primary to tertiary levels lack adequate facilities for functional and quality education.
Our institutions of learning especially universities have reacted to lack of facilities by wittingly denying significant proportion of the eligible candidates admission and charging the lucky ones so outrageous fees that some “voluntarily” forfeit their admission for lack of financial muscle.
Students public primary/secondary schools are not only cramped in a classroom with at least 100 students as against the UNESCO’s recommendation of 35 pupils per class/teacher, in most cases, they are also made to sit on the floor using their laps as tables.
Worse, these students are taught daily be teachers whose morale is low due to poor welfare and working conditions. The agitation of academic and non academic for improved welfare and condition of teaching has led to perennial strikes that have plagued our higher institutions of learning.
In a nutshell, the crises dogging the education sector are titanic. However, instead of committing more resources to fund education so as to arrest the decay, government has only encouraged private investors are to establish schools which only the rich can afford.
NANS ZONE D MUST WAKE UP
Regrettably, NANS Zone D has failed to mobilize Nigerian students to resist these ruinous attacks on education. Because of the rotten compromises of NANS leadership nationally, it is being assumed that the government neo-liberal attacks on education cannot be defeated, but this is a lie.
Today, many Nigerian students are protesting heroically on each campus against the increment of fees, bad studying conditions etc. But without a central national leadership, these struggles have failed to compel government to stop neo-liberal policies; instead it has often led to victimization of students and leaders. However, given the right leaders hip, Nigerian students are prepared to fight.
This Convention should not just be for elections alone, it should be an occasion for sober reflection. We need to look at our past and try to understand why NANS is this degenerate with leaders whose only purpose is to sell out struggles. Otherwise, we will merely repeat the mistakes of the past.
SAVE EDUCATION CAMPAIGN
For all those who are really sincere about revitalizing NANS, this Convention should be a starting point. We must return to the tradition of struggle like that of the 1978 “Ali must go” student uprising. This was an era when NANS leadership had programs of actions to mobilize Nigerian students. For instance in 1991/92, such a programme of action called Academic Reform (ACAREF) was set-up by the then leadership of NANS. Unfortunately, this is not the case now. This is one of the reasons why NANS leaders are inactive or laze about because they are not handed programs to implement.
At this year’s Convention, senators and radical students activists, as a point of duty, must ensure an immediate turnaround by agreeing on a “SAVE EDUCATION CAMPAIGN” Action Plan” which the coming leadership must implement. This Save Education Campaign must include leafleting, rallies, symposia and interventions on all campuses together with a DAY OF ACTION which must be democratically agreed. This Day of Action should involve lecture boycotts, protest marches and demonstrations on all campuses in the Southwest Nigeria and beyond. To ensure that all axes are involved in implementing the Save Education Campaign, a COMMITTEE should be set-up specifically to support the leadership in the Campaign.
However, the aim of the Save Education Campaign (SEC) is to force government to re-consider its ruinous neo-liberal policies on education through mass actions. The campaign is an initiative of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and Education Rights Campaign (ERC). Under the campaign, activities like symposia and distribution of leaflets have been organized on campuses like OAU, College of Education, Ilesa, Federal Polytechnic Ede, Iree Polytechnic and in primary and secondary schools in Ife and Osogbo. We call on the NANS Zone D to adopt this campaign as its action plan so as to give it a national spread and involve workers union like ASUU, SSANU, ASUP, COEASU etc.
However, we must realize that while we fight to save education from collapse, permanent victory can only be achieved if this anti-poor capitalist government that does not consider education a social responsibility is sent packing. On this basis, while fighting for quality education, we must link up with the labour movement, civil societies and pro-masses organizations to form a pan-Nigerian working people’s party that can take power from the hands of corrupt self-serving capitalist politicians so as to establish an egalitarian Workers and peasants government that can use the immense natural and material wealth of the nation to provide free education, health and other social services for the benefit of the working and toiling people.
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) is a revolutionary socialist organization working to mobilize workers, farmers and youths to topple capitalism together with its anti-poor policies and to establish a socialist Nigeria where people’s welfare will be the basis of production and governance. The DSM is affiliated to Committee for a Workers International (CWI).
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) is an independent platform comprising students and working class activists committed to building a national movement to combat government’s anti-poor policies on education and resuscitation of the student movement. To this end we invite all change-seeking students of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, teachers, lecturers and non-academic staffs as well all oppressed people to join the DSM and ERC and help build a branch in your area.
For more information about how you can be involved in the campaign, please contact: Block3, 142.5, Fajuyi hall, OAU, Ile-Ife, Osun state or Students’ Union Building, UNAD or 162, Ipaja Road, Agbotikuyo Bus/Stop, Agege, Lagos State. P.O.Box 2225, Agege, Lagos.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Tel: 08038200218, 08053541850, 08059399178.
NANS ZONE D CONVENTION 2007
Support Awo Varsity Students’ Union Ticket
Vote Hassan Taiwo Hussein (Soweto)
For Coordinator, NANS Zone D
Hassan Taiwo Hussein, a.k.a Soweto, is a 400 level student of Fine Arts Department, Faculty of Environmental Design and Management (EDM), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). He is a radical, militant and class-conscious student activist. He has long distinguished himself through selfless participation in struggles as an uncompromising defender of students’ right to free, democratic and quality education no matter the sacrifice.
He was a member of Student Representative Council (SRC), OAU Student Union (2006) and was also coordinator Education Rights Campaign ERC). H.T Soweto is not new to NANS activism. Indeed, he is currently the Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone D Implementation Committee set up to produce posters, leaflets, strategize and conduct the participation of Nigerian students in the May 28 and 29 “2-Days of Action” declared by Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) to protest against the massive rigging of the April 2007 elections.
Not only this, he is also the Secretary of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), OAU branch which is an organization that believes in the ideas of scientific socialism as propounded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels and put into practice by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky in October 1917 Socialist Revolution in Russia which, for the first time, brought the working masses into democratic control of society. Despite the degeneracy of the genuine ideals of the revolution by the Stalinist bureaucracy, this singular event remains a source of inspiration to the world oppressed including Nigerian students in the struggle for social emancipation.
As a Marxist, H.T Soweto is not just a student activist. He is a revolutionary who believes that the struggles of Nigerian students for well funded and quality education can only be permanently victorious if the workers and oppressed masses rise up to topple the oppressive Yar’ Adua capitalist regime which defend the interest of the rich and enthrone in its place a “workers and poor peasant government” that can guarantee the interest of the poor masses.
A RETURN TO THE TRADITION OF STRUGGLE
The kernel of the crisis assailing the education sector is chronic under funding. This is a phenomenon where despite stupendous oil wealth, successive governments have reduced budgetary allocation to education to a bare 8% contrary to UNESCO recommendation of 26%. Consequently, we have dilapidating facilities, substandard library and laboratories, poor remuneration for staff, brain drain, over crowding in hostels, non-conducive academic environment and a fall in education standard. With neo-liberal policies, education has been pushed to the verge of collapse.
To combat this neo-liberal offensive on education, we need to go back to the tradition of 1978 “Ali must go” and 1989 “Anti-SAP” struggles. Only a bold and class-conscious NANS Zone D leadership in alliance with Staff Unions and the labour movement can lead mass actions to confront government to halt these ruinous policies on education. H.T Soweto is prepared to provide this leadership if elected as the coordinator of NANS Zone D.
PROGRAM OF ACTION
If elected, NANS Zone D under my leadership shall pursue the following programs: –
Our aim is to stamp out opportunism from NANS, our mission is to revitalize the student movement and transform NANS (starting from NANS Zone D) into a fighting platform of Nigerian students.
Courtesy: Campaign Committee, 08053541850, 08067529601, 08037684023.