Lagos constitutional lawyer Femi Falana has called on comrades and students to work together to adopt various methods of revitalising the students’ union movement.
He said this was important because youths have a role to play in moulding the future.
Falana said this while chairing the 20th Anti-Corruption Situation Room (ACSR) with the theme “Harnessing the potentials of student’ Unionism and activists towards the promotion of good governance, transparency and accountability in Nigeria.”
The human rights activist said: “The NASS is perennially engaged in violence and of course student leaders today are either agents of their vice chancellors, the government of the day or other negative forces while student unions are banned or proscribed whenever students ask any question that are critical, therefore, this meeting is of fundamental importance.”
Founder/CEO, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing/ Director of Ford Foundation, Innocent Chukwuma, a panelist at the webinar, which was organised by HEDA Resource Centre, said during his time as a student, unionism was an ideological struggle.
“The east and the west, you either align with the east or the west. if you align with the east you will be grounded in socialism and communist ideologies, and we had literature all over campuses that enabled us to get up to speed with the happenings, soon, the movement began to be divided and the triumph of capitalism over socialism, though temporary at that time, eroded the ideological base of the struggle and what came in its place is what we might call identity politics,” he recalled.
Innoson, who spoke on: Setting agenda for a broad based social engagement of ex-student leaders in the current governance milieu, emphasised the needs for political education among current students’ union leaders.
Former presidential aspirant and activist Omoyele Sowore said comrades who have been involved in the struggle for good governance, transparency and accountability should begin to document their struggles in the form of detention diaries, books and even documentaries.
“It’s not optional, we must document the history of the students’ movement,” he said.
Country Director, ActionAid, Ene Obi, recalled one of many opportunities actors in the civil society movement missed to participate in governance.
“I remember when Abacha made a call that people should go and contest for Local Government elections, all our comrades then said we didn’t want to get involved in politics. The result is that today we are still struggling,” he said.