By ‘Dotun Akintomide
The International Press Centre (IPC) at its Lagos Campus Leaders’ Dialogue had called on campus youths to deepen their participation on core matters of governance and issues relating to election in the country.
At the session which drew participants from tertiary institutions in Lagos, students were urged to ensure adequate participation and engagement with authorities on and off campus improves democratic governance.
The Executive Director, Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), Mr. Wale Adeoye while speaking on ‘On-campus and off-campus realities: Articulating youth activism as agents of development’ stated that “Rather than stay aloof from core governance issues, students must begin to show interest in issues that affect them.
“While in the university, it’s not just about going to classroom alone, but it’s important for students to start building network across spheres that would enable them make meaningful contribution to nation building, as well as develop themselves.”
He warned that school certificates don’t necessarily transform to success in today’s world, but it is about students seeking practical knowledge beyond the books; gaining all the required universal knowledge.
Addressing participants, the Director, IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade observed that the objectives of students’ unionism had since changed due to lack of adequate intellectual engagement coming from students’ leaders.
He stated that students can only drive home their demands with meaningful outcomes, when leaders hinge their protest demands on current government’s policies, plans and actions as they affect the generality of students.
For youths to robustly engage in electoral process as vanguard in deepening the democratic process which produces leaders, Mr. Tomi Olagunju (Citipoint Chambers) highlighted youth mainstreaming; youth running for office and youth voting as strategic action steps that Nigerian youths must take en-mass to implement the radical change the country needs.
“Youths as the largest segment of the voting populace, it’s important for them to engage and actively participate in governance and electoral process.
“More importantly, the level of organization is key to effect the desired change that young people deserved.”
On the factionalization of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) which has hampered students activism in the country, Olagunju noted that since 1994 when the development started, government has continue to play active roles in determining what happens to the students’ body.
“Unless there are reasonable and vibrant Students’ Union Governments (SUGs), NANS will continue to act like a toothless bull dog,” he said.
Olagunju challenged students to massively participate in campus unionism so as to make it difficult for isolationists who often hijack NANS structure for pecuniary gains.