By: Amb S A Lukman
I observe the need to bring better understanding of our dear association to my generation who are very new in the system in order to guide our engagement and dealings.
Unity and peace are ingredient of development, absence of crisis does not implies presence of peace but a symbol of justice, only the land of peace germinate the seed of progress .
Our generation may need to do more to revive the old identity of our dear NANS, the uncompromising student body with ideological base operational principle and intellectual strenght.
The real voice of the voiceless and hope of common masses, NANS of those days are called pressure group but at the end of this piece I will ask you what should NANS of this days be call.
Permit me to take you all through a journey of 37 years of existence of NANS.
National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS) was a students’ union bringing together Nigerian students both within Nigeria and across the diaspora.
NUNS was founded in 1956, following structural changes in the West African Students’ Union. It brought together student councils in Ife, Zaria, and Nsukka.
In April 1978, Nigerian students were faced with the imposition of increased fees, and NUNS participated in a series of Campus protests across the whole of Nigeria.
The government responded by sending in the army and police, leading to the deaths and serious injuries of over twenty students. Three universities were closed and NUNS was banned. Several university staff and students were also dismissed.
In 1980, The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) was founded as a replacement for the banned NUNS, Two years earlier. in May 1986 while Comr Emma Ezeazu was the president from University of Nigeria Nsuka, over fifteen students of Ahmadu Bello University were killed by the police during a protest over the observation of the “Abu Massacre” a remembrance protest which turned student riot calling for the dismissals of some government and police officials who were culprit of 1979 student massacre.
The struggle that led to the banned of NUNS while (Ahmadu Ali was the Minister of Education) in memory of the students massacred in the 1979 protest was Ali Must Go of 1978. This resulted into the FGN closing down nine out of the fifteen universities in Nigeria.
Sincerely NANS was call back in 1980 after the proscription of National Union of Nigeria students NUNS with the convergence of student leaders from all part of the country at Yaba College of Technology Lagos where Comr. Oladele Danladi was made Interim Chairman and Comr. Ayodele Akele as Secretary General between 1980-1981.
He handed over to first elected president of NANS Comr Chris Mamah from University of Calabar who led NANS between 1981/1982.
Late Chris Abashe from University of Jos took over from Mamah and led NANS between 1982/1983.
1983/1984, NANS was under the leadership of Comr Lanre Arogundade of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife.
He handed over to Emma Ezeazu of University of Nigeria Nsuka in 1984 but until 1988 NANS was unable to transit due to the Ali must God day remembrance that turned riot.
Yes am sure you will wonder why four years single tenure, it was under his leadership the popular Ali Must Go Struggle remembrance was observed which saw to the ban of NANS by Federal Military Government again and The zoning arrangement was restored.
1988/1989 session, Lukman Salihu of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (Zone A) took over leadership of NANS and handed over to Comr Opeyemi Bamidele of University of Benin (Zone B) in 1989/1990 session who later transit to Abdul Mamud of University of Jos (Zone C) at Bayero University Kano National Convention to lead through 1990/1991 academic session .
The above Era in NANS can best be regards as unity and purposeful Era while NANS operates only 3 zonal system. Zona A, Zone B and Zone C.
In 1992/93 academic season, the restructuring of NANS took place an additional zone was introduced which gave birth to zone D and Comr Olusegun Mayegun of University of Lagos (Zone D) emerged first National president of NANS from the zone, he handed over to Comr Nasir Kura of Bayero University kano (NANS Zone A) in a convention kicked started at BUK but Completed at ABU Zaria to Reign through 1993/1994 session.
Denis Iyang of Federal University of Technology Owerri (Zone B) picked the leadership barton from Kura at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife in 1994/1995 academic session. This can be adjoined as part of united and purposeful Era.
Now I welcome you to the era of Division where we have numbers of President and our dear association began falling apart.
In this Era, just as our ideology is politically corrupted, we were reduced from being principled student union body to politically factionalised student association.
In 1995/1996 session, Baba Kasalla was elected at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria Congo Campus while Comfort Idika was elected at Olabisi Onanbanjo University Ago – Iwoye. (Zone C)
In 1996/1997 session Comr Oludare Ogunlana (above Jordan) was elected at Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma while Ropo Ewenla was elected at Federal Polytechnic Ilaro ogun state. (Zone D)
In 1997/1998 session Bashir Abdullahi was elected at Federal college of education katsina Ala Benue state while Ujor Musa Sulaiman was elected at University of calabar.
It was dramatic in this sesion as the duo are students of the same institution, same faculty, department and class. ABU ZARIA FACULTY OF LAW. (Zone A).
Between 1998/1999 and by extension into year 2000 session. NANS has two National president, one of the most finest NANS president who gave account of how every dine of NANS is spent at every Senate meeting, Comr Mosses Osakiede who was elected at University of Ibadan convention, and Comr Ken Henshaw who emerged at University of Port Harcourt parallel convention.
Mosses was the first National president of NANS who died in office on his way to University of Agriculture Makurdi to reinstate some expelled students and his death saw change of Barton to the Vice President National Affairs Comr Tijani Kabir of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria as acting president. (Zone B)
In 2000/2001 session, Comr Wole Badmus (wolly B) of University of Ilorin and Comr Philip Shuibu of University of Jos, the duo are result of fall out Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University of Technology Bauchi convention while Comr Tanko Yankashai of University of Maiduguri emerged from BUK parallel convention. (Zone C) .
In 2001/2002 session, Comr Segun Olaleye (Radical Brother) of University of Ibadan emerged at University of Maiduguri Convention, although he had a perceive and unpopular parallel Government led by Comr Oloyede of University of Lagos. (Zone D) .
But the unity returned.
In 2002/2003 session Comr Daniel Onjeh of Federal University of Technology Minna emerged at unity convention of University of Port Harcourt which was later concluded at Federal University of Technology Yola but dramatically had 3 functional Senate Presidents namely, Aslem Mebeife of University of Port Harcourt, Oluwole Babalola Monehin (Obesere) of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife OAU and Bamidele Adeniyi (Zangaruwa) of Federal Polytechnic Offa Fedpoffa. (Zone A)
The unity continued
In 2003/2004 session Comr Tony Nwoye of University of Nigeria Enugu Campus emerged at Old Parade ground Abuja.
This was the first NANS convention to be held at the Federal Capital Territory following the criss ridden convention of 2002 Uinport where gun shot dominated and led to inconclusive election that was later concluded at FUT Yola which produced Comr Daniel Onjeh of FUTMINNA. (Zone B)
In 2004-2006 session, Comr Kenneth Okuma Hembe of Federal University Of Agriculture Makurdi was the president of NANS, he also emerged at Old Parade ground FCT Abuja whose regime reviewed NANS constitution to extend term of office from one year to two years but was the reviewed constitution was later rejected by the student populace which mark the Genesis of two version of NANS constitutions in circulation till date. (Zone C)
The Division Returned, our loss of United voice Commenced again.
Between 2006-2008 session, Femi Osabinu (Femi Struggle) of Federal University of Technology Akure emerged at Old Parade Ground Abuja while Yinka Dada JP (Saddam) of University of Ado Ekiti emerged at Makurdi convention.
In 2008/2009 session, Bashir Babale of Bayero University kano and Bashir Maru of USMAN Danfodio University sokoto both emerged at old parade ground Abuja fall out convention. (Zone A)
Between 2009-2011 academic session, Ini Emembong of University of Uyo and Gabriel Jude Imagwe of University of Benin, emerged at Old Parade ground/Women Development Center Abuja fall out National Convention.
The unity perceively returned but never lasted beyond convention ground.
2011/2012 unity convention at Bayelsa produced Mohammed Dauda (kapon) of University of Jos but Adakole Ocahi of Benue state university emerged at Anambra Parallel Convention. (Zone C)
Between 2012-2014 session, Yinka Gbadebo (Ayefele) of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife emerged with one vote at Uyo capital city stadium in Akwa – Ibom state and Prince Maiphem of The Polytechnic Ibadan emerged from University of uyo parallel declaration which was later stopped. (Zone D)
Ayefele enjoined unity Goverment and transited power to Tijani Usman Shehu of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria at 2014 Asaba Delta State National Convention, Comr Ali Waliy of same Ahmadu Bello University tried to run parallel Goverment against Tijani Usman administration but was later crippled by Tijani Usman capacity and affiliations in Zona A.
In July 2016, NANS national convention held at Pantami Stadium Gombe State which was disrupted immediately after election of convention chairman, Some senators reconvened at the stadium the next day to elect Chinonso Obasi of Ebonyi State University while others left and later reconvened at Old Parade ground Abuja to elect Aruna kadiri of University of Benin.
Above is our story, the Journey so far in unity and division.
Our gain is enormous in unity just as our loss is obvious in division. At this critical period of time the unity of NANS is non negotiable. Lets preach peace to return our Unity.
‘On the superficial level, Power emanates from the barrel of a gun, but on the supernatural level, power emanates from the supreme will of the people’.
Every faction is as a result of desperacy for power, or a protest against electoral fraud cum manipulations at Convention ground. As such ;
We must Introduce measures such as age limit to office of NANS President and Senate President to discourage old generation forcing themselves to lead young generation in NANS, also to enable legitimate, academic and relative young students to lead NANS.
Introduction of minimum academic level qualification for President and Senate President candidates such as 300 level, HND level, 200 level and post graduate class upward for University, Polytechnic and college of Education respectively to restore academic prudence in affairs of NANS.
Collation, compilation and accreditation of senators (SUG Presidents) should be done through list with photography submitted by head of institutions in consonants with their respective regulatory commission, NUC, NBTE, and NCCE while only the authentic senators present are allow to vote. Impersonation of senators otherwise known as Toronto should be disband completely.
An affidavit by all aspirants that they will not declare faction if they lose election and legal follow up of the such in case any aspirant deviates can all be adopted.
Sincerely with optimism, the need for faction or parallel leadership in NANS shall lay to rest as only legitimate student, relative young, with proven records of competency academic, moral and otherwise shall be elected by legitimate students union president through a free, fair and credible process that will attract no protest from any aspirants.
We are the people with the will power to reposition NANS for the better. An Alternative to take NANS to promise Land is here again Let the peace talk for unity of NANS Commence. “On Unity Convention we Stand”
Amb S A Lukman (AIG)
Aluta Inspector General.