As discussed previously, elections for the leadership of the NANS, national or zonal, happens at the annual national or zonal conventions, where the SUG Presidents of the affiliate institutions vote to decide the new leaders, unlike the election of the Student Union Government of the affiliate institutions where all the students vote in the election to determine the leaders of the Student Union Government. Student Union in Nigeria are based on the principles of democracy, and all student union elections are conducted in line with democratic principles as enshrined in the constitution of the student union of the tertiary institution concerned.
Generally, the processes for the election into the various leadership positions in the student union are provided by the Constitution of the student union. As we know, election is a process, not just an event, hence the processes leading to the emergence and swearing-in of new student leaders into the various leadership positions in the student union starts with the lifting of ban on student union political campaigns on campus following the inauguration of an Electoral Committee which is usually chaired by the Dean of Student Affairs.
Following the inauguration of the Electoral Committee and lifting of ban on campaigns, interested students begin to pick nominations forms for the positions they intend to contest for (usually the forms are free or at a very little cost). The aspirants undergo Security screening, before being screened by the Electoral Committee, to ensure that they meet all criteria to contest the election, after which a list of qualified Candidates for the various positions is published for the consumption of the students. The last phase is the presentation of manifesto by the candidates, and then on the election day, students come out to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in the various positions. Votes are sorted, counted and results announced right in front of the students, and winners are celebrated.
The process ends with the inauguration of the new government where the successful candidates are sworn-into office by being administered with the oath of allegiance and oath of office in accordance with the constitution of the student union.In the case of elections into leadership positions of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the process starts with the convening of the national convention for the election into national positions or a zonal convention for elections into zonal leadership positions.
In both cases, it is the Senators (SUG Presidents of affiliate tertiary institutions) that vote to determine the date and venue of the convention at the last Senate meeting of the outgoing administration usually referred to as pre-convention senate meeting. After the pre-convention senate, the NANS President (or the Zonal Coordinator in the case of a zonal convention) inaugurates a Convention Planning Committee to raise funds and other resources to plan and deliver a successful convention. The convention starts with the arrival of students and Senators (SUG Presidents who are the convention delegates), then followed by the accreditation of delegates. The accreditation of delegates usually takes longer time than necessary, and all the delays at NANS conventions are attributed to the controversies arising from the accreditation table. This is because, as a delegate election, the accreditation is key to determination of the outcome of the election. After the accreditation is successfully concluded, delegates are allowed access into the convention arena where they perform their first duty of voting to determine who emerges as Convention Chairman. The Convention Chairman is the person who conducts the election and declares the result of the elections into the various positions as Chief Returning Officer of the Convention. The delegates, following the directions of the Convention Chairman, vote for cleared candidates of their choice into the various leadership positions.
The successful candidates who emerged from the elections are sworn-in by the Convention Chairman immediately, though lately, the swearing-in has often been moved to a special inauguration ceremony where all the new leaders are sworn-in. The NANS Zone F (Southeast zone) just had their convention last weekend with Comrade Chidi Nzekwe of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba and Comrade Ifeyinwa Cynthia Felix of Federal Polytechnic, Oko as Coordinator and Secretary respectively.
For the Joint Campus Council (JCC), there is usually no election for this structure, however, the NANS Stakeholders in the state usually gather to appoint deserving student leaders into the positions of leadership of the JCC for the smooth running of the state structure of the NANS under the guidance of the leadership of the stakeholders of the state.
Comrade Igwe Patrick Afubera writes from Abuja.firstname.lastname@example.org