We're Expecting Tuition Fee Reduction In Ogun - New NANS Boss, Damilola - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Thursday, February 4, 2021

We're Expecting Tuition Fee Reduction In Ogun - New NANS Boss, Damilola

                                 •Com. Kehinde 
Com. KEHINDE Damilola Simeon emerged the new elected chairman,  National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS),  Ogun State,  after a duly contested election into students Union Government electives offices.  He bares his mind to The Daily Crucible on some of items on his administration's agenda for the generality of the students in the state.  
Considering the fact that Ogun state hosts about the highest number of public tertiary institutions in Nigeria, how do you intend to galvanize this vibrant constituency towards attaining peaceful unionism in the state?
To actualize  stable peaceful students unionism, we have been trying to take some measures, as a new administration, we noticed that there is no any form of students union in these schools. We have found out that some schools make use of caretaker committee chairmen or structures and it is a situation where the schools (authority) are the ones deciding the fate of students unions. And where the school management  undertakes anti - students decisions,  it becomes  difficult, if not impossible, for the students to fight or oppose it.  All those things will change soon. 

How are such institutions  deciding the fate of the students union?

Normally, iIt should not be that way but we have a situation where most of those institutions try to dictate what the students do, how they pick their leaders or representatives.  All those things they do are not election, it is just a selection. So, at the end of the day, they put someone they can control and manipulate like their dummy in position of leadership . They then make the students a toothless bulldog. Whenever the management embarks on some policies that are not pleasing to the generality of the students, they won't be able to make any noise or agitate. So, these are the things we are trying to work towards to correct.

Any other thing you intend to do to help the cause of students and state - owned tertiary institutions ?  

We are trying to reach out to the government in terms of subventions given to schools. You know this pandemic had taken a deep hit on our economy thereby, making all these tertiary institutions unable to generate money, the way they were  generating money from IGR before. Since the schools are not functioning, there are also no way to generate money as before, so, it is telling on our students, now as school resumes, the schools are handing down to  us outrageous fees to pay for resumption and we can not just say that we want to kick against it, we have to look for an equilibrium point where we will all meet to see the whole issues. We are appealing to the government  to please help in increasing school subventions because even before now, most of then have been running  on low subventions, even before the pandemic, now that the pandemic has taken a great hit on our economy and institutions,  it is telling on the students, the only thing that can help subdue these whole issue is by government taking that giant stride and increase the subventions  to the state - owned institutions, so that it will improve the quality of teaching,  learning and research education in our tertiary institutions.

In Lagos state, there is a reported case of reduction in tuition fee for students of the state university. Would you be pushing for same thing to happen in Ogun state?

 Yes, we are going to push for that also because you know most of the civil servants here in Ogun state were affected during this pandemic period and most of them are our parents and are financially weak in a way and this rubs off on us the students. How will our parents  and guardians and being civil servants, be able to pay our school fees? So, the government have to come to our aid by adjusting some of these tuition fees, so that we will be able to meet up.

Whenever there is an election, there will be winners and losers afterwards. There will also be people who rightly or wrongly have issues with the process. Is your case going to be winner takes it all? 

Before now, I have committed forces and what we resolve to do is giving out appointments to every body, we want to run an all inclusive government whereby every body, every quarters and every set of student leadership will be represented in this government. Any body that has something good up there to offer to the generality of the students in Ogun state is welcomed to come on board and help us deliver on our mandate at the end of the day, because, we can't do it all alone. We need to harness ideas here and there, pile it up and make it one, so that at the end of the day, we will deliver a very good government.

What is your advice to the state and federal  governments on the issues of graduate unemployment? 

 Everybody will not get a white collar job. I will advise government  to please, work on improving our students in the aspect of entrepreneurial trainings and empowering them with different kinds of youth programmes that can make them job creators and bosses on their own as soon as they are done with their school. By doing that, it will help reduce the level of unemployment in the country.

What is your assessment of student unionism in Ogun state?

Ogun state has always been the bedrock of students unionism in Nigeria. As you know, the pioneer of the student unionism in Nigeria, late Akogun Segun Okeowo is also from this state; Papa Lado, the first NANS president and a whole lot of past NANS leaders came from this great state. We are second to non when it comes to student unionism. You know also that they call the Southwest the ideological zone of the country and the strongest state in south west whenever it comes to ideology and students unionism is Ogun state.

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