STUDENTS UNIONISM: FROM ACCLIVITY TO DECLIVITY

Student-Activism-Title

When I begin to reminisce the good and not too distant old days of students fire-branded unionism, albeit still addressed as an undergraduate of the system, substantial reasons to remain in the system keeps stirring my insatiable appetite of being called a student of an institution. The good old days of the Union is incontrovertible and sketchily attritioning at the dawn of a new union. The death of NANS has irreversibly contributed to the plummet of student unions all over the country.

Can one imagine the authorities that be in a university system, club or even conceive in it’s minutest form the wings of students who get cheese-off and openly expresses their grievance in direct confrontation of a policy that runs opposite poles with the students’ interest when unionism was incomparatively at it’s apogee? At the mention of the Student Union Government’s name, lecturers and even authorities regarded as threats to student’s interest cringed? A feature that has totally been eradicated and even if present devoid of any vestige of hope to us (students)  as the union’s power has been
visibly tied round the apron strings of the university’s management. Indeed, the conscious role of the school authorities and the state in destroying the legacy of genuine students’ unionism either by buying over susceptible students’ leaders, issuing of threats of worthless effectiveness or using naked brute force like the cultists and police to deal with genuine student activists, are glaring characteristics of why students radical fibres are reductively being entwined. As a matter of fact, hardly can one find vigorous student protests anymore in response to an unfavourable institutional policies, save in some
varsities as the University of Ife where unionism is still pacingly advancing to magnitudinal heights, and other scarcely unmentioned ones.

Lecturers customarily recognized as intransigently adamant, could not give a student an E grade when he deserved a C grade. A certain lecturer of a university issued students of a particular department a project that was extremely offensive and beyond the students immediate execution, the Student Union Government of that institution as late as the 1980’s and early as the 1990’s, without hesitation bungled the lecturer and assembled him in the centre hub of the halls of residence where students activity is most pronounced and was advised technically never to go back to his vomit. Such was when unionism and activism thrived at three-hundred and sixty degree (360%).

One could vividly recall the reactionary, pro-state positions of the Daniel Onjeh, Segun Olaleye, et al, who sold out some Nigerian students away to the corrupt and backward set of ruling class, just to satisfy their pecuniary interests whilst Nigerian students are being daily attacked through the commercialization and privatization of education policies among other anti-poor policies of the Obasanjo government and it clones in States. The last ASUU strike that left students in the cold hands of boredom,  for almost six months could not testify nor attest to NANS`s leverage to ending the industrial action. Simply because, the Presidents we have had so far, have neglected the aims of NANS which is purely students` welfarism. Rather, they have chosen to become rulers with a characteristic disinterestedness towards the students interest.

In fact, one can trace the history of ideological death of NANS to the 1994 convention in which power was taken away from the hands of the totalitarian Stalinists to the hands of the reactionary, pro-state elements, who banked on the general dissatisfaction of the student activists with the undemocratic means in which the organization was being run by the Stalinists to entrench themselves in the leadership. Aside the NANS national leadership intellectual declivity, the various
structures of NANS – Zonal, State Joint Campus Committees and even, many students’ union – have either also sold out or lack the requisite intellectual wherewithal to lead successful and genuine struggles of students.

The uneventful turnout of industrial actions that have greeted past NANS administrations that had them mum even in the throes of corruption, the shameless attitude of some NANS leaders who have decidedly chosen to adopt the Gbadejo-lie format of governance and the carefully knitted subterfuge of the management of the various universities in Nigeria to at all times take decisions that goes to the very root of students, invariably clubbing the wings of students must be put paid to if student  unionism and activism is to take it`s place in the leading order of things.

GOD BLESS NIGERIAN STUDENTS

WRITTEN BY Avst. DAVIDSON .I. OBABUEKI

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