The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, on Thursday endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan to run for a second term in office.
The President of NANS, Yinka Gbadebo, who led the National Executive members of the association on a courtesy visit to the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, expressed their support at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The delegation, which passed a vote of confidence on Mr. Jonathan, also presented a certificate of credence to Mrs. Jonathan for her pursuit of peace and empowerment of women and the youth.
“As pragmatic and visionary Nigerians, we can see through the veil of distraction and boldly applaud the Goodluck administration for infrastructural and social transformation,” Mr. Gbadebo said.
“We have unflinchingly determined to put all political detractors and evil geniuses to shame in 2015 by giving Mr President the singular and total support of all Nigerian students.
“As a united association, all students have been mandated to cast their votes for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to emerge victorious and continue the good works of transformation,’’ he added.
Mr. Gbadebo, whose studentship at the Obafemi Awolowo University has been questioned, noted that in order to actualise this, NANS had floated the Nigerian Students Transformation Vanguard to champion this cause.
He commended Mr. Jonathan for his support to Nigerian students and youth by appointing six past NANS leaders in his administration.
According to him, the past leaders included the Ministers of Information and Education, Labaran Maku and Ibrahim Shekarau, respectively.
Others are the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Students and Youth matters, Jude Imagwe.
Responding, Mrs. Jonathan while expressing her love and support for NANS, commended its leadership for consistent constructive engagement on national issues, “especially at this time when some Nigerians take advantage of every situation without concern for national security.”
“This really shows that our youths are coming of age and that they can be relied upon in the task of nation building,” she said. “Today, our youths in the tertiary institutions are hard-working and are hopeful of a better future for this country, in spite of our challenges.”
Mrs. Jonathan urged them to continue in their constructive engagements on national issues and lend voices to positive moves in the interest of the nation.
“Your organisation should continue to champion the cause of peace in our nation as no nation progresses in an atmosphere of insecurity.
“As students, you cannot stay in school if there is no peace. Therefore do not allow anyone to use you as agents of destabilisation. You must resist the temptation of being used by politicians as thugs during elections.
“You should learn to be patriotic and not be a willing tool in the hands of those bent of sowing seeds of discord among our people.
“As mothers, we are praying for you because we love you, you are our future, our hope. You must therefore remember the children of whom you are and face your studies squarely’’.
NANS is the coalition of all students union of tertiary institutions in Nigeria. It has been criticised in the recent past for being too corrupt, violent, and a willing tool in the hands of anyone willing to pay for its services.
Many of its past and present leaders including Mr. Gbadebo have also had their studentship questioned amidst reports that genuine students hardly get involved in its activities.