COALITION OF LEFT AND PROGRESSIVE STUDENTS (CLAPS)
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CLARION CALL TO ALL NIGERIAN STUDENTS; REJECT THE DEGENERATE, COMPROMISED AND ANTI-STUDENTS NANS LEADERSHIP!
BEING THE PRESS STATEMENT OF COALITION OF LEFT AND PROGRESSIVE STUDENTS (CLAPS) ON THE 2012 NANS CONVENTION, UYO, 13TH -18TH DECEMBER, 2012.
The NANS CONVENTION 2012 held in Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom confirms and the crass degeneracy in the students’ movement and the depth of control which reactionary pro-government forces wield over the students’ movement. The Convention lasted six days (from 13th to 18th, December) and except for the last two days which were for the ‘elections’ (imposition per-se), the other days were wasted on the carrot and stick of lobbying genuine delegates on ground, and using violence to cow those amongst them that remained principled. Many radical and pro-student aspirants at the Convention were intimidated, attacked, and prevented from freely canvassing and contesting. Despite the insistence and protests of delegates that they preferred holding the convention on the campus, the Convention Planning Committee (CPC) in conjunction with the UNIUYO management, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the men of the SSS/Police Force frustrated the moves. At the Uyo Stadium, where the convention was held, the place was militarised and many genuine delegates and students were prevented from entering the venue of their own Convention!
The subsequent ‘elections’ were highly monetised. Many money-bag politicians sent their emissaries to support one candidate or the other with millions of naira deployed. This was done openly and shamelessly. The Convention Chairman, Mohammed Khalifa like most of the ‘Toronto Delegates,’ was a non-student. In short, there was no difference between the Convention and that of PDP, ACN and other anti-people Conventions in the elite’s politics of Nigeria. The outcome of the Convention was quite predictable, an un-mitigated charade.
ANATOMY OF IRREGULARITIES IN THE NANS CONVENTION
The notice for the Convention expected delegates to arrive at Uyo on Thursday, 13th December, 2012 while registration and accreditation of delegates was slated for the next day, Friday, 14th December, 2012 at Ibom Trade Fair Complex. But to the chagrin of delegates, the announced venue was locked and cordoned off by armed Police Officers. Genuine students and delegates had to relocate to the premises of University of Uyo; while members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and security agents infested Convention Planning Committee (CPC) were busy slugging it out on which platform would control the over a hundred million naira doled out by the Akwa Ibom State Government for hosting the so-called NANS Convention.
After forty eighty hours of camping at UNI-UYO without any contact from the national leadership of NANS, the LOC or CPC, the delegates led a mass protest for the Convention to commence, albeit wrongly to the SSS Office. The same protest was repeated by delegates from Zone B on Sunday, 16th December, 2012 which stampeded the LOC/CPC to announce a change in the Convention venue to Akwa Ibom Stadium, Uyo where registration and accreditation was scheduled to commence on Monday, 17th December, 2012. Meanwhile, there had been attempts at kidnapping two Presidential aspirants; Dayo Shoyoye (LASU) and (allegedly) Faro Azeez (UNILAG).
On Monday, when delegates were about to commence registration of schools for accreditation, those who have turned NANS into a business venture laid down unconstitutional rules and disenfranchised many institutions and delegates. At the end of the day, “delegates” from two hundred and twenty institutions were registered, out of which only sixty were bona-fide students, half of whom were not representatives of democratic students’ unions. The venue had three trucks of armed MOPOL on stand-by who terrorised and prevented delegates/students from entering the Convention ground until when there was a mass protest which the Police dispersed with tear gas and gun-shots. On Tuesday, three truckloads of armed soldiers from the 9th Battalion led by a 2nd Lieutenant were deployed to ensure that the status-quo of the bureaucracy holding NANS and the students’ movement in thrall is maintained.
At the end of the fraudulent, unconstitutional, illegal and highly militarised/monetized charade called NANS Convention, non-students emerged as its critical leaders, with both the Convention Chairman and President-imposed!
TIME TO FULFILL OUR HISTORIC MISSION AS STUDENTS
“Every generation out of relative obscurity, discovers its mission, either fulfil it or betray it”……… Frantz Fanon.
We in CLAPS reject the outcome of the NANS 2012 CONVENTION in its entirety! And we call on all change-seeking students to also reject the Convention. It is high time that we join hands in building a clear, vibrant alternative to the monstrous, anti-students bureaucracy, euphemistically referred to as the “Stakeholders” that have hijacked the organisation.
This flashes us back to the hey days of NANS when the association belonged to students and stood by them in the face of attacks on students and the masses of Nigeria. Now, the attacks are worse than ever. And Nigerian students need their own national platform to fight and defend the rights of students which this current NANS aristocracy cannot provide. So, we call on all change-seeking students to stand up and start agitating for their own platform. And in doing this, the Coalition of Left and Progressive Students (CLAPS) will stand by and fight alongside students in doing this. We therefore call on Nigerian students to tie their girdles and join us as we will be organising programmes of action on campuses in Nigeria. We also call on all workers’ unions across the country to support the struggles of Nigerian students on all campuses. The struggles of students with their boundless energy and intellect is part and parcel of the broader struggles of working people towards achieving the desired and much anticipated social change which the labour movement stands for and leads.
We are bold to posit:
That we reject, in its entirety, the NANS CONVENTION 2012 and its outcomes.
We are for EDUCATION REFORMS, and we call on all Nigerian students to join us in this campaign.
We call on all workers’ unions, especially those in the Education sector to immediately declare a state of emergency on the students’ movement now!
We say a capital NO to all neo-liberal economic and anti-people policies of the government of Nigeria such as deregulation, commercialisation, and cuts in the funding of social services.
We stand for a new Nigeria where the wealth created by the working people will be used for our benefits, and democratically managed by us!
The major tasks ahead of the youth/students movement are to be eternally vigilant in the defence of liberty, freedom and justice; to organise and vociferously canvass for the following demands to salvage the education sector:
The right of all Nigerians to free, qualitative education and ferocious resistance to all initiatives to commercialise education out of the reach of the poor particularly the provisions of Oronsanye Panel on funding of education.
Adequate funding of the education sector up to 26% of the annual national, state and local governments’ budget as recommended by UNESCO; transparent and democratic management of resources of the sector to block leakages and mis-management.
Respect and recognition of the rights of students to be organised under the banner of independent, democratic and virile students’ unionism without any interference from authorities, politicians, money-bags and the State.
Provision of infrastructural facilities necessary for the acquisition of knowledge; befitting classrooms/lecture theatres, ultra-modern laboratories/ICT facilities, libraries, conducive hostels, portable water, energy power supply, recreational and sporting facilities.
Resistance against all forms of high handedness, political victimisation, academic exploitation like lecturers’ extortion of students, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
Resistance to all forms of organised violence, be it from school guards, police brutality, ethnic-nationalist or religious terrorists’ attacks, and fraternal organisation’s attacks on hapless students.
Campaign against the hostile, anti-people neo-liberal reforms of deregulation, subsidy removal, privatisation, commercialisation, retrenchment of workers and refusal to fund social infrastructure like healthcare, water provision, mass housing, construction of roads and provision of social benefits to the unemployed, physically challenged and aged.
ALUTA CONTINUA! VICTORIA ASCERTA: DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!!
OGUNJIMI JAMES TAIWO
Coalition of Left And Progressive Students(CLAPS)
CLAPS PRESS STATEMENT ON NANS CONVENTION….docx