NANS ZONE D ELECTION
NANS ZONE D ELECTION
The Worst In History
(By Eko John Nicholas)
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS Zone D), comprising all the higher institutions in the south western states of Nigeria: Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo, held its convention on the 21st July 2007, at the College of Agricultural Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ayetoro Campus, in Ogun State. The convention, meant to elect new officials of the Association, was the worst ever in the annals of the students’ body at the zonal level.
NANS Zone D, which has been sinking into the abyss of opportunism for some time now, due to the control of the leadership of the association by right wing elements, finally capitulated to the extreme right leadership that has completely sold-out the body to politicians and government officials at local, state and federal levels, in return for monetary benefit to the detriment of the Nigerian students already burdened with all sorts of ills in the education sector.
The election that had six students from various institutions across the zone, contesting for the post of Coordinator amongst other positions, included Taiwo Hassan (Soweto), a member of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Obafemi Awolowo University branch. Against the usual tradition of the NANS zone D, in this convention, there was no debate on issues ranging from campus reports to the state of the nation with the view of arriving at programme of action for the new leadership. DSM and ERC (Education Rights Campaign) for instance, had gone to the convention to canvass for the adoption of Save Education Campaign. Apparently to prevent the emergence of the OAU ticket representing the Left, so as to guarantee victory for the right wing elements, the mass of students present at the school as observers were securely locked out of the venue of the convention.
Whilst observers were generally prevented from gaining entrance into the venue, with the help of combined teams of the state security service (SSS) and the Nigerian Police, armed with guns, some selected students and ex-students, who were equally observers, but represented the interest of the state, were let in. When other students protested this double standard, the SSS, acting on instructions, started harassing the students, even threatening to shoot them if they dared force their way in. Soweto, a contestant, was prevented from entering the venue while others were already seated but for the agitation of the mass of students, who rightly affirmed, that it was a conspiracy to scheme-out a member of the left, that are genuinely committed to reviving and revamping the association that has lost track of its historic duty for better, free, quality and compulsory education, for personal financial gains.
Before Soweto could be allowed to the convention venue, the rightwing elements had used various tricks, such as nominating him for the post of Public Relations Officer (PRO) as against Coordinator he was contesting for so as to whittle down support for his candidature. He eventually lost to one Igwe, a rightwing element from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that for the next one year, NANS zone D will be for the highest bidder, both politicians and government functionaries, like its national executive counterparts. Therefore, there is need to build an alternative platform across various institutions within the zone and beyond, which the students can identify with, that will struggle to rescue the education sector from its present decadence, brought about by government total neglect and under funding of public schools and the emergence of opportunistic leaders in NANS, a trend that has dealt a debilitating blow on the students’ body than promoted it.