​ASSU strike: New NANS president reveals what will happen, clears air on age controversy

The newly-elected president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Sunday Asefon, has decried the incessant strike actions by lecturers, which have crippled academic activities in the country.

Asefon said it is unfortunate that many students end up spending up to seven years in the university for a course of four years.

According to him, the federal government and the striking lecturers need to come to a round table to find a lasting solution to the reoccurring impasse.

The student leader stated this when he paid a visit to Comrade Daniel Onjeh, one of the Nigeria’s most respected student activists who led NANS 18 years ago.

The NANS President said he had come to seek for guidance and advice from Comrade Onjeh in recognition of his meritorious stewardship of the organization.

The university lecturers’ strike, he added, negatively impacted Nigerian students, educational and financially.

He noted that most of the students who paid for accommodation lost their money because of the strike and they have to pay rent afresh when the schools reopen as their landlords do not care about what caused them not to stay in their rented rooms.

According to him, “Ours, we have decided that we want to fight for the interest of the Nigerian students. The issue of ASUU strike, making our students to stay at home every time must come to an end.

“If there is an agreement between the federal government and ASUU, the FG should as a matter of urgency try to honour the agreement, and if there is none, they should come out to tell us because we cannot continue to allow our students to stay at home every year, it is not fair.

“It is sad that most of our students who are studying a five or four years course, end up spending up to seven years on campus due to this industrial action by lecturers, this is against the curriculum of the Nigerian student.

“During the course of my campaign, I visited most of the universities in the country and discovered that students in one of the schools are paying as high as N185,000 as acceptance fee. To us it is fraudulent, to us is a scam.

“These are things we are going to put an end to.

“Let it be on record that if by the end of this December, the federal government and ASUU failed to come to a conclusion and our students returned to class, we shall embark on a total shutdown,” he warned.

The new NANS President, however, said the claim that he is 48 years of age is laughable.

He pointed out that if he served under NANS Presidents who came after Onjeh, people who were far younger than Onjeh, how could he be older than Onjeh as media reports claim?

He said he expects his political adversaries, especially those who lost in the contest for the NAN Presidency and their backers, to sponsor these spurious reports to blackmail him.

“The allegation that I am a serving civil servant is baseless. If my accusers have proof, they should come forward with it, as he who asserts must prove. I promise to resign if anyone comes forward with proof that I am a civil servant.
“Those going about with the story are the people that their candidates lost during the election.

“For your information, I am a post graduate student of Ekiti State University, with matric number SU/PGD/MN36. Department of Institute of Peace and Security.

The new NANS President used the opportunity to sound a warning to lecturers in higher institutions of learning in Nigeria who demand sex for mark from female students. He promised to pursuit every legal means to pursue the matter and to ensure that these sexual predators are flushed out of our schools and prosecuted.

In response, Onjeh advised him to domesticate NANS activities by prioritizing the interests of Nigerian students, whom he swore to, defend and protect, in all ramifications.

He urged him to be true to the organization’s constitution and its Charter of Demand whose tenets are geared towards the enhancement of the educational system and the development of Nigeria. Further to that, he urged him to provide exemplary leadership to the organization, and to strive to strengthen and make NANS independent.

This, he said, can be achieved through constructive engagement with the constituted authorities and a return to the collection of capitation fees from its members. If students across the nation contribute to the NANS purse, the organization would not be vulnerable to the whims and caprices of politicians and other state actors. The organization can, through the fees students pay, be able to sustain its programmes.

Drawing from his experience as a former NANS President and a civil society actor, Onjeh told the incoming NANS President that the best way to attain his objectives is by organizing programmes that will uplift the Nigerian student.

​COVID-19 must not overshadow HIV — YEDI

The Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative, YEDI, has urged the federal and state government not to allow the quest to tackle COVID-19 pandemic to overshadow the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

Speaking in Lagos during a programme to sensitise Mushin community area on HIV/AIDS and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Executive Director of YEDI, Mr. Oje Ivagba said corporate organisations should set up something similar to CACOVID to support the government as the foreign donation towards HIV/AIDs is no longer sustainable.

He said there was a disruption in the supply chain of HIV/AIDS materials due to global lockdown from COVID-19, “People are having sex without condoms, those that require medication are having challenges despite the initial inadequate HIV treatment which is a gap Nigeria needs to meet.

“Nigeria needs to think about HIV the same way as CACOVID, we can’t just be depending on foreign donors. Internally we need to bridge this gap especially now that the international community focus attention on COVID-19 because of the emergency it presents. So the HIV/AIDS gap need to be met internally.

“We shouldn’t let COVID-19 be an excuse for us not to do all that is required of us to combat HIV. We need to repose internally by providing some allocations towards HIV so that we don’t keep expecting 80 per cent of required funds from a foreign donor.

“HIV/AIDS continue to be a challenge to the future of Nigeria, over the past 15 years we have make a lot of progress in reducing prevalence to about 1.5 as at 2019 however there is evidence of rising in six states of Nigeria which Lagos and Akwa Ibom which is part of states where we are operating happen to be among.”

He advised Nigerians to know their status and stay protected, “once you know your status and want to engage in sex, use condom accurately and regularly. A couple should stay faithful to each other.”

Ivagba said that it has been established that once people complied with a non-pharmaceutical procedure like wearing of nose mask properly, social distance, hygiene among others, the chance of contacting COVID-19 virus are very minimal.

On her part, Director of Programs, Tomisin Adeoye said that the event which witnesses HIV free testing and counselling, malaria testing, distribution of bed net and COVID-19 protective materials was a two-in-one program.

She said that the program is on-going simultaneously in four states namely, Lagos, Ogun, Akwa Ibom state and Abuja and expected to reach over 4,000 community members, “normally we use to have a huge event where we gather a lot of people together for HIV/AIDS testing and counselling, but this year due to COVID-19 what we do is to have different stand across the community in line with COVID-19 guideline.”

Appreciating the gesture, the Chairman, Alafia Community Development Association Mushin, Mr. Badru Olaide thanks the organizer for bringing such initiative to their community.

​Uncertainty as APC wins Imo North bye-election without candidate

There is uncertainty in the political atmosphere of Imo State, as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday declared the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of the Imo North bye-election, held on Saturday.

The Election Returning Officer, Hakeem Adikum, while announcing the winner at the INEC office located along Port Harcourt Road, Owerri, did not mention the name of the APC candidate that won the election.

He only declared APC as winner having polled 36,811 votes while the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate, Emmanuel Okewulonu, got 31,903 votes. APC won five of the six local councils, while PDP won one, Obowo. APC won in Okigwe, Onuimo, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, and Ihitte Uboma.

Asked why the winning candidate was not announced, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Francis Ezeonu, cited several court orders for and against Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and Frank Ibeziem, who are both laying claim to the APC candidature.

Last Thursday, an Appeal Court sitting in Owerri authenticated the candidature of Frank Ibeziem, while another Federal High Court in Abuja, disqualified Ibeziem as the senatorial candidate of APC on the grounds of certificate forgery.

Currently, there is tension in the camps of Araraume and Ibeziem, as they fight for the APC ticket.

An APC chieftain, who did not want his name in print, told Vanguard that he had no reason to fault the position of the electoral umpire.

He said: “I have no good reason to fault the position of INEC. We had conflicting court judgements before the senatorial bye-election.”

​ONDO 2020: Jegede’s case against Akeredolu begins at Tribunal today

The legal fireworks over the result of the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State won by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu will begin tomorrow at the Governorships Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Akure, the state capital.

The candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Eyitayo Jegede had filed a petitioned against Akeredolu, who was declared winner of the October 10, 2020 Election by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, at the tribunal headed by Justice Umar Abubakar.

Justice Abubakar would lead two other judges to hear the petition filed by Jegede as from tomorrow, December 8.

Election Tribunals are established pursuant to section 285 of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as Amended) and section 133 of the Electoral Act 2011 (as Amended) to address disputes arising from Elections.

Jegede through his lead counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN had dragged the All Progressives Congress, APC and Governor Akeredolu before the tribunal to answer for alleged infractions against the laws of the land.

One of the grounds of the petition is that Akeredolu was not validly nominated by his party APC. By the provisions of section 183 of the 1999 Constitution, a serving Governor of a State (in this case, Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni) cannot serve as the National Chairman of APC at the same time to nominate Akeredolu as candidate of their party for the Ondo Elections. Section 183 states “The Governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever”.

Jegede is saying that “Akeredolu was not validly nominated and as such APC had no candidate for the Ondo Election.

He added that “Article 17 section iv of the APC Constitution also provides that, any official of the party cannot simultaneously occupy any other executive office in government.

” It states further that “No officer in any organ of the party shall hold executive position office in government concurrently”. Again Buni ran foul of this provision.

Jegede also posited that ” the Election was marred with violence in some Local Governments as well as over voting in other areas.