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NANS presidency: Time to retire the gerontocrats

NANS presidency: Time to retire the gerontocrats
November 27
09:27 2020

BY ADEDAYO ADEGBORO

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In most of our cultures and traditions in Nigeria starting from our individual family, roles are assigned based on age. In the pre-colonial Nigeria, young people acted as the vanguard by providing security of their societies and serving to check or remove tyrannical rulers.

Nigeria, as a country, has also been run by young men through some periods. In the colonial era, young Nigerians led the struggle for independence. Nmandi Azikiwe was in his 30s when founded the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroon (NCNC). Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Belawa, Ahmadu Bello and Samuel Akintola, amongst many others, in their 20s and 30s, rose to prominence through their activism.

It’s extremely shameful and appalling to see old men who should rather be more concerned about the lives and welfare of their wives and kids at home administering the affairs of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) today.

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Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Muhammed and Olusegun Obasanjo were all 31, 37, 38 years old respectively when they became head of States. Today, men in their late 30’s and 40s are still contesting for positions in NANS. On the 18th November, 2020, the NANS CPC sub committee on aspirants screening and verification published the detailed list of the 4 categories of aspirants who have submitted documents for screening and Verification with the intent to contesting at the 2020 NANS National convention slated for Abuja between 26th to 30th November 2020.

It might interest you to know that of all the names of the 13 Batch A Presidential aspirants released and signed by the Chairman, aspirants Screening and verification Committee, only one Olaseinde Adeyinka Olaoluwa (Sir Newton), a 500 Level Applied Geology Student from the Federal University of Technology Akure is still in his 20s. He’s just 23 years of age. While others are in their 30s, late 30s and early 40s.

For instance, an aspirant, Momodu Muniru from UNILAG, was NANS General Secretary in 2012. What is he still doing in NANS in 2020? (Eight years after serving as the Association’s General Secretary?).

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Asefon Sunday from EKSU was the Federation of Ekiti State Students Union (FESSU) National President in 2010. He was also the Zone D Coordinator in 2013. He is 41years of age. What should an old man like him still be doing in NANS in year 2020 when Emmanuel Macron became the President of France at the age of 40? Famuyibo Olusegun (Captain), another aspirant from UI, is also 34 years of age, the same age with Sanna Marin, the Current Prime Minister of Finland ,who took the oath of office last year.

It’s high time these old people leave NANS for the younger ones to take charge of the association and restore the great repute the founding fathers of the Association built NANS upon. Students’ unionism should be about demonstration and struggle to promote and defend the welfare and needs of students.

NANS is expected to pursue and agitate for Nigerian students’ interests. They should be generals on the war fronts. Today the voracious and vociferous spirit of what characterized NANS of those days is dead, having been eroded. The association has been hijacked by sycophants and political beggars who now see the association as a platform to enrich themselves.

The Association is now a tool in the hands of Nigerian politicians. The occupiers of the association collaborate with any government in power no matter the level of its anti-education policies. They are mainly interested in giving dubious unnecessary awards to politicians. They pay courtesy calls on State Governors in most cases and approach them for money and to sponsor their conventions. This is why they lack the moral right to criticise government.

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It’s high time the Nigerian Students’ (Especially Students in their 20s) rose up against these old cargoes in NANS and took over the association from them. The peak of active Student involvement in ensuring good governance was last witnessed in this Country in 1978 during the late Segun Okeowo’s tenure when he led the defucnt National Union of Nigerian Students now (NANS) to fight for the welfare of all Nigerian Students leading a national protest against draconian policies during the famous “Ali must go” protest, bad education policy coupled with the price hike on student’s feeding introduced by the Olusegun Obasanjo military regime.

The young people across Nigerian institutions must unite in taking charge of NANS. If the youth could do it during the #ENDSARS protest, definitely, NANS cannot be an exemption. The leadership of NANS in recent years with these old cargoes has no doubt lost the ideology of the early years of NANS having been co-opted by the ruling class in Nigeria. They are busy fighting for NANS on a yearly basis when their age mates are already Presidents and Prime Ministers in Europeans Countries. Enough is enough. They should leave NANS for the young ones to take over and focus on taking care of their wives and kids at home. The time to end gerontocracy in NANS is NOW.

Adegboro, a JCI member, sent this piece from Lagos.

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