Student Unionism is one of the things that keeps the vibrancy and hope of People alive on Campus especially with the decay ravaging our Campuses in Nigeria.
issue that is of uttermost importance to the welfare and
growth of our society and the nation at large.
Student unionism began in 1925 with the emergency of
West African Student Union (WASU) and was partly
pioneered by some Nigerian students who resided in London. They
fought the colonial masters for the rights of Africans.
National Union of Nigeria Students (NUNS) inherited ideals of West African Students Union and the student union
matched on as a platform of change and of informed
The union then enjoyed support from radical
intellectuals and academia. The union leaders were
purely idealist and fire brands. Under the leadership of
Segun Okeowo, NUNS became directly involved in
national politics for proper funding of education for
They suffered all manners of maltreatment yet remain
adamant insisting they are fighting against the forces of
feudalism, parochialism and tyranny in our political
system.Shehu Shagari lifted the ban leading to birth of
National Association of Nigeria Student in 1980.
Many persons are of the opinion that if there were no Student Union, we would have had more decay in Nigerian Varsities than we have it now. Others disagree with the thought.
In recent times, South Western Universities owned by the Federal Government seem to have a huge dislike for Student Unionism. Over the years some persons have argued that Student Union leaders go overboard and each the Universities try to bring back Student Unions, the leaders find a way of been violent and end up messing up the whole process.
With lots of arguments here and there, one would wonder, who is to blame for all the woes facing Unionism on Campuses in South West Nigeria.
In the past five years, Federal Universities in this part of the Country have gone ahead to suspend Student leaders even apart from the Union.
If you mention radicalism in Nigerian Universities, you would mention Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Ibadan and others, funnily these same Varsities don’t in its sense have Vibrant Student Unions again, with each suspended by their Varsity Management.
OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY
The case of Obafemi Awolowo University was hinged on bad leadership of the Union with the Vice Chancellor, Ogunbodede Eyitope stating according to news reports that the Union leaders are immature and thus cannot handle the pressure of leadership.
Many have asked if suspending the Union was enough antidote to suspected bad leadership especially with the Leadership of the Students Representative Council already getting set to impeach the leaders.
One may begin to think of decisions taken that should we suspend every sector of the University with bad leadership, then we may be looking inwards into some bad of leadership in the University themselves.
The scenario of Obafemi Awolowo University was fuelled by infighting and allegations of financial mishandling.
These formed basis for Union suspension by the University.
University of Ibadan
Another University, known as the Premier University fell under the heavy hammer of protests by Students, while some say the protests was ill-timed, others acknowledge it’s necessity.
The protest was seen as an affront by the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Idowu Olayinka and the University Senate, the Students Union was suspended as an aftermath of the protest, with the Union yet to be reinstated till now. The Vice Chancellor recently was quoted as saying “If any University has student Unions on their Campus, it is their problem, we have our own operations”, underscoring the importance attached to Student Union in the Varsity.
University of Lagos
The University of Lagos readily comes to mind and Femi Adeyeye is one name that plays to mind.
After a protest against poor welfare alleged by the Students, the University Management shut down the Students Union citing unruly behaviors.
With the above scenarios, one would continue to wonder, why constant issues with Student Unions in the Universities.
Are the Students just interested in shutting down Campus?
Are the Students voting for the wrong persons?
Looking at this cat and Mouse relationship between students and Management, is Students Unionism a real training Ground for Student leaders?
One would wonder if Unionism will not die completely from the South Western Federal Universities.
Many student leaders have come out to say, there should be independent Unionism, but will there really be independent leaders?