The body of student union in Nigeria is a structured organization set up in the manner of the Labour Union. The grass root structure of Nigeria’s student union is the Student Union Government of tertiary institutions’ campuses of Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and other tertiary institutions such as Colleges of Agriculture, Colleges of Health sciences etc. It is the Presidents of the Student Union Governments of the above-named tertiary institutions that become Senators of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). Interestingly, there are also National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) and lately, National Association of University Students (NAUS), but with the NANS as the main umbrella body of all Nigerian students.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) as the apex student body for all Nigerian students has its regional or zonal structures and state structures also. Prior to the amendment of the NANS Constitution in February 2022 at a special congress/non-elective convention at the Sokoto State University, there were four zones of the NANS (Zones A, B, C and D) and state structure referred to as Joint Campus Committee of NANS in every state that was not recognized in the NANS Constitution, but with the review of the NANS Constitution under the leadership of Comrade Sunday Ashefon as NANS President, the organization has now been structured to have six zones in line with the six geo-political zones in the country thus:
Zone A – Northwest
Zone B – South South
Zone C – North Central
Zone D – Southwest
Zone E – Northeast
Zone F – Southeast
Again, the state structures of the organization have now been recognized and captured in the NANS Constitution as Joint Campus Council (JCC), and most importantly, the perennial crisis of tenure elongation and factionalization inherent in the organization have been laid to rest as the new NANS Constitution has provided for the termination of the powers of the organization’s leadership at the end of the tenure as well as how to convene an elective convention for the purpose of electing a new leadership for the organization. It should be noted that the Student Union governments of affiliate institutions form the base structure of the NANS, and it is these SUGs that enforce the pronouncements of the NANS by activating the students of their institutions to mobilize whenever the need arises, yet most times, the student leaders of these grass root structure of NANS seem not to know their powers.
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. It is the realization of the powers inherent in the SUG Presidents as Senators/Delegates at the NANS Convention that motivated us at the Bauchi 2000 NANS Convention, after several failed attempts at commencing the convention to elect new leaders for the organization, a coalition of proactive SUG Presidents led by myself and Comrade Ogechi Ikpemo of FUTO, organized ourselves and started the process that led to the election of Comrade Johnbull Adaghe of Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma as the Convention Chairman, and then by a motion moved by me as President of UNIZIK SUG and Senator/Delegate at that convention, the Executives of the two factions of NANS led by Tijani kabiru and Ken Henshaw were dissolved, and elections into the various offices of the NANS commenced. It was this election that produced Comrade Philip Shaibu, the Incumbent Deputy Governor of Edo State, as NANS President.
In the next edition, I will discuss the issue of funding for the Nigeria’s student union.
Comrade Igwe Patrick Afubera writes from Abuja.