A factional president, Gideon Obande has emerged in what could be seen as a fall-out from the just concluded elections of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
He alleged that the election, which saw Danielson Bamidele becoming the president-elect was marred by irregularities as some unidentified persons meddled in the recently-held convention of the umbrella student body in a bid to impose their stooges as members of the Student Union Government.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, he stated that he and other frontline aspirants were manhandled by individuals and thugs hired by the vested interests to thwart the choice of students as regards who leads them. This regardless, Obande insisted that he commands the support of two-thirds of the students across the various institutions of higher learning.
His words, “At the NANS convention that just ended, there were attempts to impose, attempts to disrupt the process where some of us who were front-line aspirants were even manhandled by individuals and thugs hired by some persons but we want to thank God that a new leadership has emerged in NANS.”
“The National Association of Nigerian Students at the last convention that just concluded had 272 accredited delegates, and I can say that of this number, we’ll command not less than 2/3rd of the students and their union on the various campuses.
“We make bold to say that because they are aware of the attempt to rig the process because, for an accreditation that had 272 delegates, after the election of convention chairman, it rose to 275 delegates, it tells you that there was somebody somewhere that was trying to upturn the outcome of the convention.”
The NANS president, however, stressed that the student body will no longer be partisan but would stand in defence of democracy and ensure that government pays more attention to the education sector. He also vowed to stand against the molestation of students by lecturers.
Speaking on his plans for the union, Obande said, “Our leadership is going to offer a new narrative. An end has come to oppression on campuses, an end has come to the infrastructural decadence in our campuses. An end has come to single digit budgetary allocation to education. We are going to interface and engage government where necessary to ensure that we give education a new direction in Nigeria.
“There shall be no oppression of our unions on campuses by vice-chancellors, rectors and provosts. There shall be no more intimidation of our students by lecturers, there shall be no more molestation of our students. NANS will cease to be partisan politically, we will play the role of the conscience of the society.
“We will defend democracy, we will defend the freedom of speech, we will defend the independence of the judiciary and ensure that what should be done would be done. We’ll at all times tell whoever is wrong that he is wrong and whoever is right that he or she is right to ensure that Nigeria moves from where it is today to where we want Nigeria to be.”