Vice President Namadi Sambo at the weekend said Nigerian students can emulate their predecessors in bringing an end to bad governance in Nigeria through protests.
Sambo, while speaking at the Ahmadu Bello University’s maiden homecoming celebration of past student leaders of the institution said: “I remember even before our time how students from the University of Ibadan came out to the Nigerian parliament to oppose the defence pact, which was meant to retain some measure of control by the British on Nigeria and the pact was aborted.
“I remember how Nigerian students were vanguards in the fight against apartheid and liberation of some African countries. There were times when whichever policy the government was considering, the first consideration was whether people would accept it. And that time when they said people, the first reference was students who would react on behalf of the people. After independence, the students’ vanguard, even during military rule, was always active in protesting against bad governance and bad policies. I am glad that the dynamism that has always characterised students of Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions has remained and is being enhanced by the present crew of Nigerian students.
Sambo, who was represented by Dr. Bello Halliru Mohammed, a former defence minister, noted that students are stakeholders in ensuring the existence of good governance in Nigeria.
In his address, the Sultan of Sokoto Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar said the present government cannot solve the problem facing the education sector, as the sector has been left unattended to for over 30 years.
Represented by the emir of Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State, the sultan blamed the challenges of the sector on what he called piecemeal attitude of successive administrations in the country towards the sector.
“ABU has not utilised its potentials in making its former students to contribute towards its development. His eminence has asked me to make two important points and I will make one on my own. The first point is about students belonging to fraternities, students belonging to sororities otherwise known as cultism. He asked me to tell you that students should avoid belonging to these groups at all cost. If you want to be a popular student, you don’t need to do anything bad. You can read hard or engage in sporting activities. The second point is that you have just resumed after sitting at home for about six months. You are also stakeholders in the education project.
“Therefore, sitting and waiting are not the only things to do. Just as your parents and lecturers are stakeholders, you are also stakeholders. The problem of funding education has been left unattended to for over 30 years. Nobody or government can correct that within two years,” he said.
He added; “ASUU and government have a case but our case has to be for Nigerian students and parents to get their subjects educated properly. Because of the piecemeal attitude to education, ASUP is on strike or asking for something. Colleges of education are also doing the same thing; why? This is because education has not been given its proper place in the development of this country.”