By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—The Convener, Save Nigeria Group, and General Overseer of Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has accused a ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo of destroying students’ unionism when he held sway as military Head of State in 1978.
Bakare also condemned the conferment of the title, Defender of Democracy, on Obasanjo in 2005 by the student body, saying student unionism has been hijacked by never do wells.
He stated this yesterday, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at this year’s anniversary of the International Day of Students held at June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto.
Bakare said Obasanjo used brute force to repress students during the famous “Ali Must Go” protest where some students lost their lives.
Delivering a paper titled, Good Governance: Sustainability of Democracy, the Role of Students in the Forthcoming General Election, Bakare traced the history of student unionisn from the colonial days saying the body was dealt a fatal blow in 1978.
He said: “General Obasanjo’s government ordered the brutal suppression of that protest. Live bullets were fired at protesting students.
“As we proceeded outside Unilag’s main gate, I narrowly escaped death as Akintunde Ojo, the young man standing just beside me, was gunned down.
“Through that incident, Obasanjo carved his name on marble as a villain of democracy.
“I did not mince words when opportunity presented itself in November 1978 when I pointed to his face, ‘This government possesses power without compassion, might without morality and strength without sight’.
“Nevertheless, student unionism in Nigeria today is in a sorry state.”