BY LAJU ARENYEKA & CHINYERE ABAZIEM
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has called upon all students’ unions across tertiary institutions in the nation to condemn the participation of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) at the ongoing national conference.
In a press statement issued by its National Coordinator, Mr. Hassan Soweto, the campaign said that the “National Conference is an expensive sideshow that is not designed to address the country’s challenges like mass unemployment, rotten public education sector, and degenerate public health services etc.
We condemn the participation of NANS at the national conference which has been convened by a deeply unpopular government looking for any straw to hang onto. We do not expect any positive outcome from the conference as it is not a sovereign conference of the elected representatives of working and oppressed masses of Nigeria.
”ERC urges the mass of students not to entertain a single shred of hope that the six delegates presented by National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) will ever represent their best interests. The reasons are not far-fetched: NANS as an organisation has in the recent years failed woefully to represent the best interests of students concerning issues such as education funding and democratic management of schools.
During the last strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which was waged for adequate funding of the public universities, the national leadership of NANS came out in support of the Federal Government.
Right now, public Polytechnics and Colleges of Education have been shut for months yet NANS has not deemed it urgent to call a nationwide protest to compel government to meet ASUP and COEASU’s demands. Against this background, it should be clear to all discerning minds that the six delegate slots allocated to NANS is not an appreciation of the weight of the students’ population in society as some impressionable minds have said.
Rather, it is actually a celebration of the complete ideological capitulation of NANS to the government.”
The body rather advises NANS to campaign for proper funding of public education sector, reversal of hiked fees of Lagos State University(LASU), dropping of criminal charges against University of Uyo (UNIUYO), democratic running of shools amongst other issues affecting the country’s public tertiary institutions instead of scheming to benefit from the N7billion national conference largesse.