Politics and tertiary education students

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Politics, before now, has been seen to be a dirty game – a game meant for only those who are ready to dip their hands into evil and malpractices regardless of how often their conscience speak and how loud the masses cry.

This ‘dirty game’, which has imprisoned the conscience of many has found its way into our tertiary institutions, corrupting sane minds and leaders who end up going against harmless students who want nothing but their voices to be heard.

Chinua Achebe said, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.”

Responsibility has become a difficult task for leaders heading different political positions in our institutions and for even those representing students’ rights under different associations and organisations.

How will you explain a situation where a students’ association expected to protect the rights of students and free them from the laws created by the management of an institution, constantly walking up to that management and requesting stipends, ignorantly selling themselves out and betraying the mandate entrusted in them?

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How about a situation where the votes of hundreds of students didn’t count in an election because it was rigged by the electoral Chairman who had interest in a candidate and vowed to frustrate the efforts of voters who came out en masse to exercise their franchise?

How will you also explain a situation where students who vowed to exercise their constitutional right, their right to peaceful assembly, their right to protest met with gestapo Police officers who were being sponsored by the school management?

Can you also explain why a students’ union president after being invited by the school management or state government agrees to the increment of the tuition because of the “brown envelope” he received?

What will you say about a students’ leader who led thugs to beat and abduct a campus journalist for speaking against the government of the day?

It’s crystal clear that our leaders who were entrusted with the mandate to protect our rights have suddenly become political tools in the hands of our tertiary institutions’ managements and government officials.

They forget that, “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

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What is the fate of thousands of students whose rights are being trampled upon and our representatives can’t even represent us effectively?

What is the next line of action for harmless students who have been shut out, expelled or killed while students’ leaders are enjoying their brown envelopes given to them by those in “higher authority”?

They forget so soon that the most serious failure of leadership is the failure to foresee. Students’ associations, unions and organisations have failed us.

A lot of evil is breathing in our various institutions and they do nothing but watch because they’ve sold themselves out cheaply.

We are far from the truth and these truths will not set us free if we do nothing about this.

Who will correct the abnormalities found in our various tertiary institutions, the abnormality being sponsored by those in power?

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