Written by: Chiedozie Ude
As a typical Nigerian, I have grown used to being disappointed by those whom we put our trust in, and frankly speaking, one should not be surprised when one sees people who should be custodians of integrity and right doing otherwise. The only simple explanation for this anomaly according to popular musician Folarin Falana aka Falz is that ‘this is Nigeria’, a place where mediocrity and insanity are accepted as the required modus operandi.
Despite the tone of resignation in the above paragraph and the effort to justify our backwardness as a country, I can not help but feel pissed off whenever I see anything concerning NANS because they are supposed to be different from other organisations, they are supposed to be that quintessential substance that embodies the ‘Aluta Struggle’ which Nigerian students undergo in their bid to bag a degree. It is an organisation in the sad phase of a moral decline, and because of this decline, I always feel justified to call it the most useless student organisation in the history of useless students organisations.
The National Association of Nigerian Students Is an organisation whose operations should be channeled towards the greater good of students in Nigeria, and while one can agree that they have performed this duty diligently in the past, one will also be justified to boldly claim that NANS no longer acts in the best interests of students. This is as a result of the leadership being polluted by the fat wads of petrodollars swimming in our filthy political sea. These days, we see NANS officials partying with politicians, dancing to their tunes (both good and bad), and also, promising them millions of votes in the forthcoming general election. This is extremely pathetic! The leaders of NANS are on a mission to enrich themselves (if the rumour about them receiving the sum of one hundred and fifty million from thr president is anything to go by). They perform their selfish acts without a care for the millions of students currently idling at home as a result of the gridlock in the discussions between ASUU and the Federal Government as regards calling off the ongoing University Strike.
The statement made by Comrade Bamidele Akpan, the president of NANS dying NANS’ visit to the presidential villa about mobilising students to provide at least twenty millions votes for President Buhari would have been effective if only Nigeria was a country filled with dumb scholars who have no idea of what is good for them. But sadly for Comrade Bamidele, we the students of Nigeria refuse to serve as pawns in whatever dirty chess game being played by the leadership of NANS and the federal government. We have a mind of our own, we are free to make different choices, we do not have to shoot ourselves in the leg through fawning for favours from the ruling party, and most importantly, we refuse to endorse mediocrity in the name of allegiance to a union that is living in the ruins of its past glories. NANS should not play partisan politics, it should be an organisation that is ready to speak and act when those in power are acting in excess of their powers. Most importantly, NANS should always remember to put the students of Nigeria first in all their endeavours.
The events of the last few days have made me and a lot of people I have had discussions with as regards NANS all agree in unison that a change is needed, most especially, a change in the rules that govern NANS, and also, a change in the manner in which NANS executives are being elected. If I should offer a suggestion with regard to selecting executives, I would suggest that a platform should be made to at least allow more students participate in the day to day running of the organization. It is no news that most of NANS officials are already university graduates, and as a result, most of them have forgotten what it used to be like to be a student under the barely working educational system of Nigeria. These people have been softened by the benefits that come with being part of NANS, and to them, the ‘Aluta Struggle’ is perhaps something that happens in a far away country.
If NANS continues in its downward spiral, then it is high time we students did away with them and take the bull by its horn for we can not continue watching as gawky blunderers decide our fate.