A factional president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has emerged just days after the association held its election and announced a new president.
The association’s election last week threw up Mr Danielson Bamidele from the Nasarawa State University, Keffi; but Mr Gideon Obande, also from the same university, has alleged that the election that saw to the emergence of Bamidele was marred by irregularities as there were some individuals meddled in the process in an attempt to impose “stooges” on all students.
Mr Obande addressed a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, and insisted that he commands the support of two-thirds of the students across the various institutions of higher learning in Nigeria.
Nigerian Tribune recalls that the immediate past leadership of the association also did not speak with one voice, as there were two factional presidents – Haruna Kadiri and Chinonso Obasi.
In last week’s election, Mr Bamidele was said to have polled 104 of the total 272 votes cast, while Obande had seven votes. But Obande insisted that the election was rigged, citing the election of the convention chairman who had three more votes than the total accredited voters to back up his claim.
“At the NANS convention that just ended, there were attempts to impose; attempts to disrupt the process where some of us who were frontline 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,” Obande said.
Obande subsequently reeled out his programme for the association and Nigerian students generally, saying that he would be non-partisan, and would insist on government taking actions to improve the education sector.
He 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, freedom of speech, and the independence of the judiciary and ensure that Nigeria moves from where it is today to where we want (it) to be.”
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