Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, South West Zone D, on Monday stormed the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Abuja, to protest against a petition and call by a group to disqualify the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, from running for a second term in office.
According to the protesters, a group had called for the prosecution and disqualification of the governor from contesting for a second term in office.
The students also vowed that they would not relent in the ongoing nationwide protest against the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), noting that the next phase of the protest would target the shutdown of airports and other sources of the Federal Government's revenue until the strike is called off.
They also called on the Federal Government, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to ensure the diligent prosecution of the arrested Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris.
Recall that Idris was arrested by the EFCC in connection with the alleged diversion of funds and money laundering activities to the tune of N80 billion.
The students, who were led by the NANS South West Coordinator, Comrade Adegboye Olatunji, and the Chairman of NANS Ogun Joint Campus Committee (JCC), Comrade Kehinde Damilola Simeon, during the protest, asked the APC leadership to clear Governor Abiodun to contest for re-election as Ogun State Governor.
The protesters wielded placards with various inscriptions saying the governor prioritized education in the state.
Adegboye Olatunji, told newsmen that the students were led by their leaders to the APC Secretariat to present their position to the leadership of APC and to dissociate themselves from the recently “sponsored and ill-motivated” protest against Dapo Abiodun.
“We call on the leadership of the All Progressive Congress to discountenance their frivolous petition and trash it because, to us as student leaders of the South West, they are an illegitimate group."
“May we equally use this opportunity to pass a vote of confidence on Prince Dr Dapo Abiodun, the Executive Governor of Ogun State, for his commitment and sacrifices towards education development in the State,” Olatunji said.
Speaking on the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Chairman of NANS Ogun JCC, Comrade Kehinde Damilola Simeon, called on the Federal Government to look into the plight of the lecturers and, by extension, the students who bear the brunt of the strike with the view to acceding to the demands of the union.
He warned that the students would not relent in the ongoing protest until the strike is called off for campuses to be reopened to students, saying the South West students only broke from the nationwide protest to come on a solidarity protest at the APC Secretariat.
He said: “We have been the ones at the forefront of protest against the strike by ASUU in the South West, starting with the blockade of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and Ijabu Ode-Ore road that was done last week.
“We have been leading the agitation that the Federal Government listens to the plight of ASUU. Our coming here today does not mean that we have sheathed our swords in the aspect of fighting for the rights of our lecturers and, by extension, the generality of Nigerian students. ASUU is asking for what is their right, "he said.
On the arrest of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, by the EFCC, he said it was quite unfortunate and “a slap on the dignity of Nigeria as a nation when some lecturers are on strike for demands that are not even up to half of the money that one person is embezzling”.
Simeon said, “It’s high time the Federal Government takes up their responsibility and does what is right by using some of these people as examples to serve as a deterrent to others."
“The educational sector is suffering and UNESCO recommended that 26% of every nation’s budget should be spent on education, but we are not near this in Nigeria."
“I can assure you that we will be back on the streets as soon as possible until our voices are heard and the Federal Government does the needful. We won’t relent." We are planning to see that all sources of revenue to the government, including federal government properties like airports, will be shut down soon”.