By Our Correspondent
In spite of the crisis that characterised it on Friday, resulting in shooting,the national convention of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, ended in Abuja on Saturday morning with three factional presidents.
The convention which started last Monday,climaxed with the election of national executive of the association Saturday morning.
The trio of Lucky Emonefe, a student of the College of Education, Warri, Delta State; Rioborue Deniran of the Department of Mass Communication, Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe-Ogharaand Pedro Obi, a Ph.D. student of Guidance and Counseling studies at Delta State University,who contested for the position of president, said they were elected
Both Lucky Emonefe and Rioborue Deniran,at separate media conferences in Abuja after the election, said their emergence had brought a new lease of life for NANS.
Speaking,Lucky Emonefe,warned against factionalisation of NANS movement by aggrieved contestants, saying Nigerian students know their leaders from the Joint Campus Committee, Zonal and the National leadership becuse they are involved in their elections.
He appealed to President Bola Tinubu to approve a national annual bursary of N200,000 to all Nigerian students irrespective of their creed or tribe.
According to him, the fund will act as palliatives to cushion the effects of the hard economic situation occasioned by highly overdue economic reforms of the Tinubu’s administration.
He said: “I express my hands of fellowship to other aspirants most especially Comrade Pedro Obi who lost in the Presidential race to join hands with me to take this our collosal revolutionary configuration to a glorious height desired said this, permit me to state the obvious that NANS under my leadership, in as much as will not be a rubber-stamp to Government decisions and policies, by the same token we shall not be used by any individual or groups to advance or achieve their nefarious agenda against the State.
“We shall closely monitor, analyse and scrutinize Government policies as they relate to general wellbeing of the students and greater welfare of the Nigerian citizenry before coming up with our position on governance. Strictly speaking, our NANS is NANS for the students interests Having alone.
“As a flow from the above, we hereby make a passionate appeal to Mr President to approve a National annual Bursary of 200,000 to all Nigerian irrespective of their creed or tribe. This of course will act as to cushion the effects of the hard economic situation occasioned overdue economic reforms of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Let me commend the proposed take off of the students loans scheme in January 2024.The NANS will like to be part of monitoring and supervisory body for the scheme to ensure strict compliance with the schemes’ terms and goals.
“Without mincing words, the stoppage of the proposed remittance of 40 percent IGR of public owned tertiary institutions of learning to the Federal cover is manifest of Mr President’s feelings correct gauging of the pulse of Nigerian Students and citizenry. The policy will no doubt have heavy toll and monumental pressure on wellbeing and survival of average Nigerian Students.
“Lastly, like I said, the NANS will never responsibility of putting the Government in check when it is wrong. In the same spirit we shall not be validated any Groups or individuals to stop collaborating with the State on progressive students programs and policies.”
On his part, Comrade Rioborue Jude Deniran, said: “I appreciate the last administration, the Executive, and the Senate arm for their services and sacrifices to the Nigerian students.
” All committees are also appreciated, including the convention chairman. Most appreciation goes to the distinguished senators of NANS (which are the SUG presidents) and our respected stakeholders as well for their contributions and support to the success of the 2023 National convention. The senators (delegates) have indeed spoken well by electing one of them as NANS President.
“During the convention, a lot happened that we heard and witnessed, good, bad, and ugly. To the glory of God, we have started addressing the bad and ugly situations that require urgent attention. I am calling on the Department of State Security to give a report of the 2023 elective convention as the world is eager to know.
“It’s indeed an enormous privilege and honor to be trusted with the leadership of Nigerian students. I am deeply conscious of that privilege and honor at this time.
“It is indeed a remarkable and historic victory for Nigerian students, and I have no doubt about what this means to the students’ community.
“The mandate you have freely given to us is a mandate for reform and investment in the future of NANS, and it is also very clearly an instruction for good governance. I assure you of good leadership delivery, and you can rest assured that I would keep to my promises.”
The new NANS Senate President, Comrade Akinteye Babatunde Afeez. said the election was free and fair even though some forces had wanted to circumvent the process before the intervention of the police and other security agencies.
“We appreciate the security agencies for standing their ground to make sure the will of the students was done and that is the reflection of what you are seeing here today with students celebrating over the victory of Comrade Emonefe. The election is the voice of the majority, a popular voice, that is why they are celebrating,” he said.
He said the shootings reported at the convention was carried out by security agents to scare people who had wanted to cause chaos and disrupt the event, denying that some persons were hurt.
“The shooting was carried out by the DSS,it was not targeted at anybody. Rather,it was meant to scare trouble makers that had wanted to disrupt our event. And contrary to some reports,no one was hurt,he said.