Following the removal of Yinka as the no 1 student of Nigeria, it is perhaps the first ‘correct’ step that NANS as a body has taken in a long, long time.
The impeachment of Yinka is a right response to the yearning of genuine Nigerian students who have had to live with the gross incompetence of the president. NANS is a platform that’s supposed to protect students from oppression or victimisation of whatever kind. But in situations when students have been faced with oppression and brutalisation, Yinka Gbadebo has been conspicuously absent, while he dines with our oppressors at the corridors of power.
As it is, and with the reputation that NANS is noted for, Yinka should not be expected to roll-over and sleep; we should be prepared for a long drawn-out ‘war’ that will take place on the pages of newspapers, on social media, through government-sponsored press conferences, and maybe even degenerate into fist-cuffs. Whichever way, dirty secrets will be revealed, insults will be flung around, skeletons will be dug out, and finally, a faction will emerge. And considering the recent trend in the nation that has seen key aspects of the country being factionalised, this will not come as a surprise.
Meanwhile, the fact stated by the Senate president that Yinka was impeached because of his stance on the current face-off between the federal government and ASUU, and his lackadaisical attitude towards the killing of students; those facts are true.
As i stated earlier, NANS under Yinka has failed to stand on the side of students in periods when their rights are being violated.
As things stand, any leader that wants to lead any platform in the student movement must be conscious of the huge responsibility he/she will carry and must either be prepared to lay all on the line, or shouldn’t even bother venturing into it at all.
If the kind of watery leadership that NANS now parade is what we had in the days of the military, we wouldn’t have a democracy today. Nigerian students have been known over time to play a crucial role in the emancipation of the country from bad rulership. But when the student movement itself is labouring under the burden of bad leaders, what is the hope of the Nigerian state.
The over 70 million Nigerian students must awake now; NANS is just a name; if it has ceased to serve the purpose for which it was created, if it has ceased to protect the interest of the students it’s supposed to protect, if it has lost the approval of the populace; then it deserves to go. NANS either begins to speak and act for Nigerian students or prepare to stand alone.
As for the imbroglio between ASUU and FG; it goes beyond wages, salaries, retirement age or building hostels; it comes to seeing that a nation on the virge of its 53rd birthday should not toy with the education of its future leaders like the Nigerian state does. If ASUU isn’t fighting, isn’t there enough reasons for us to fight? Are our laboratories not empty enough? Are our libraries not full of outdated books? Should we not speak up?
Nigerian students must awake and put off the cloak of nonchalance and demand for what’s rightfully ours. We are majority stakeholders in this nation; we must have a say.
Ogunjimi James Taiwo
Ogun State, Nigeria
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