The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has threatened to disrupt the Nigerian General Elections following the inability of government to resolve the issues that led to the strike by the academics in Nigerian polytechnics and universities.
The union, in a statement by its National President, Danielson Bamidele on Monday described the continuous closure of polytechnics and universities in the country as “insensitive”.
The elections are scheduled to hold on 16th February and 2nd March, 2019 for various elective offices in the country.
EduCeleb.com recalls that both the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) had both embarked on a nationwide strike in November and December 2018 respectively.
The higher education teachers said they are on strike to call government to action towards fulfilling past agreements reached with them to improve the quality of infrastructure and welfarism in Nigeria’s higher institutions of learning.
But Mr Danielson who heads the apex students’ body in Nigeria has now threatened to deploy the numerical strength of Nigerians students against the Nigerian electoral process by declaring what he termed “OPERATION NO RESUMPTION, NO ELECTION.”
He noted that the 22.3 million registered students’ population in the country was to be mobilised to ensure that elections don’t hold if the strike was not called off.
Read the statement below
OPERATION NO RESUMPTION, NO ELECTION!!!
The leadership of The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), after a careful observation of the continued insensitive shut down of our Universities due to the strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) wish to unapologetically declare ‘OPERATION NO RESUMPTION, NO ELECTION’.
Recall that on 4th November, 2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities embarked on an indefinite strike which grounded all academic activities on our campuses till date. Prior to theirs, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) had also embarked on same industrial strike action, shutting down all Colleges of Education.
NANS quickly swung into action requesting and forcing the Federal Ministry of Education, NCCE and COEASU to animmediate negotiation table while NANS observed the proceedings of the discussions for quick resolution. Compromise was reached and the strike action was called off without unnecessary delay of academic resumption.
However, after few days COEASU suspended their strike, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics began theirs. Both ASUU and ASUP have since been on strike making our members in millions to be at home with possible consequence of disenfranchisement in the forthcoming general elections beginning on February 16th.
In solidarity, Nigerian students embarked on a simultaneous nationwide protest across the 36 states of the federation with a mother rally at Abuja on November 19th, 2018. The rally was tagged ‘SAVE EDUCATION RALLY’ across the federation, to create awareness on the state of education in the country, after which we presented a position paper of our demands to the Federal Government, the press and general public.
In furtherance of the protests held on November 19th, 2018, on the 28th December, 2018, NANS issued a two weeks ultimatum to both FG and ASUU to call off the strike or face the wrath of Nigerian students which led to an invitation by the President of the Federal Republic on January 3rd. Assuredly, after presenting our demands, the meeting led to a return to negotiation table between FG and ASUU. The President also directed the release of funds through TETFUND for infrastructural development of our Tertiary Institutions across board.
Sadly, it appears that the gains recorded in the last few weeks has been eroded by the continued shut down of our schools and barely 12days to commencement of the general elections. It is also instructive to note that, the student’s constituency constitutes the largest voters segment of registered voters with 22.3million as released by INEC.
These continuous strike actions by both ASUU and ASUP has not only brought increased pain on students and their parents, it is now seen by us as a deliberate ploy to disenfranchise our members, especially those who are registered within their school environments and are presently in their various homes.
Consequently, Nigerian students have decided to take their destinies in their hands, enough of the politics been played with our future.
We wish to inform the general public that Nigerian students would resist any election from holding in any part of the country should our campuses remain shut till election date. We are conscious layers of the nation and on no account shall we allow this sinister disenfranchisement of the largest voting population of our citizens in a major election to pass due to no fault of the students. We have 22.3 million registered students, eligible to change the destiny of the nation. We refused to be sacrificed in exercising this obligatory demand to our nation at this crucial moment.
Our voices must be heard and our votes must count!
To this end, the NANS leadership wish to declare;
Comr. Danielson Bamidele Akpan, GCNS