By MOHAMMED Aliyu Baba
Obviously, to give up responsibilities or worst still, to have a total misplacement of priorities is not only perpetrated by some shenanigans heads of families.
We acknowledge the fact that some parents, guardians, or family heads do abandon their God-given tasks of raising a responsible family for trivia reasons without thinking of worse repercussions on the lives of their family members. They chose self-centeredness as their core lane to ride down their lives with a very disorganized schizophrenic syndrome; such is the National Association Of Nigerian Students (NANS).
NANS is said to be the umbrella body of all students’ organizations in Nigeria and diaspora, and the largest students’ movement in Africa.
The ARTICLE II of NANS constitution as revised on May 21st, 2015, NANS has the core responsibilities of campaigning for the enforcement of students’ rights, academic freedom, youth involvement in good governance, sustenance of democracy, and peacebuilding among others.
According to another information made available on the NANS official website, the executives of the so-named association took the oath to a standstill and struggle for the greater Interest of Nigerian students, where every youth/student has access to, and can afford an adequate level of education in the country and beyond.
The question now is: Do NANS executives live and work in line with its mandates? If you ask me, I’ll frankly say ‘no’ because they haven’t done enough in fulfillment of the association’s aims and objectives.
For instance, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was on strike from March 26 this year to January 2021. During the period, several arms of the students’ unions, such as Nigeria Law Students (that sued ASUU at Federal High Court in Abuja), Nigerian University Students Association (NUSA), Students Union Governments (SUG) of various tertiary institutions nationwide, and well-meaning Nigerians had all laid out their voices in order to bring an end to the prolonged strike by ASUU, but the so-called mother of aforementioned associations (NANS) wilched in this regard.
As a matter of fact, NANS’s silence on critical issues affecting students has become eminent in many instances especially when it comes to industrial action by lecturers as a result of the government’s failure to key into their agreements with the union.
The scenario usually affects the students negatively. The executives of the Association seem to be more loyalists of political elites than the vulnerable students. Every set of individuals entrusted to pilot the affairs of the Association tend to listen to the glamouring politicians than the howling students they’re made to represent and protect their interest.
I was listening to the news on the radio while writing this article on the 22nd December, and it was reported that the newly elected NANS president visited the rescued or the released Kankara school boys that were earlier abducted.
And the president decided to use the avenue to issue an ultimatum to FG and ASUU till January 5th, 2021 before mobilizing its members for a nationwide protest. Imagine NANS waking up to the reality of strike after nine months of academic break down. It is quite mind-boggling to hear a significant cockcrow at dusk Instead of daybreak. Should they be having a campaign after elections?
But anyway, this couldn’t be far from the fact that those heading the Association are more of either civil servants or politicians than being students. Take Sunday Asefon the 45-year-old newly elected president for instance; he is a civil servant with the Ekiti State government and reportedly a student of Ekiti State University.
Definitely, this kind of fellow cannot be too critical with the government who is always the main machinery behind the hindrances in the Nigerian Education sector. But for how long would these humbug acts continue?
There is a serious need for a better change because Nigerian students deserve a better schooling ambiance than the slough they are having now.
I personally deemed it necessary to have the leadership of this Association to be piloted by those who have the blood of studentship running in their veins 24hours in a day, and not those who are students partially. How do I mean? For this association to be noble, the key actors i.e executives of the association should be undergraduate students.
These are people who are fully covered in studentry. And when this is achieved; since the world is now a global village, the Association leadership could now come up with holistic and well inclusive platforms and activities that would encompass all the students and their subdivisional associations at their respective campuses.
Therefore, the following stringent measures could be helpful to the association’s reawakening. These include; providing online forums, be active and reactive on social media, seek out feedback and apply it, create opportunities to engage with students, track and measure students activities in their various campuses, create NANS Mobile App and promote its usage, and most importantly, embrace diversity and remain focus.
I actually decided to come up with this little piece because I realized that the new leadership showed the intention to rule with the mandate of heaven without an iota of a despotic image in view. You hardly heard of NANS in the past until recent. May NANS succeed.
MOHAMMED Aliyu Baba Is A Student Who Writes From Kaduna, Nigeria. He Can Be Reached Via: firstname.lastname@example.org