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The Birth, Structure, State, and Partway to NANS Factionalization – Prince Obaro Obruche


Who is a Student? 

In this conversation, a student is a person who is studying at a university or other place of higher education.

A person who studies a particular academic subject
Eg. A student of history or computer


Discrimination of a student: A student is a person who goes to school to acquire positive character traits and learn academic skills and knowledge necessary to live in, and contribute to societal development. Students can be children, teenagers, or adults who are going to school, but they may also be other people who are learning, such as in colleges, mono-technics, polytechnics or universities.

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Prince Obaro Obruche
Sen (Prince) Chris-Dan Obaro Obruche

Who then is a Student leader?

Student Leadership refers to a student in the position to influence, motivate, and guide others toward the achievement of a goal. The student leader must be in an elected or appointed position of leadership and serve for a specific duration or as prescribed by their constitution or by-laws.


So from the above explanation, I’ll say a genuine student leader is a student who is an authentic member of an institution with all rights and privileges of registered students of such institution who is entrusted with an office, status or rank and capacity to oversee, influence, lead or guide other students in achieving their set goals, aim and objectives.

Brief History of NANS.

Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS) was a students’ union bringing together Nigerian students both within Nigeria and across the diaspora.

NUNS was founded in 1956, following structural changes in the West African Students’ Union. It brought together student councils in Ife, Zaria, and Nsukka.

In April 1978, Nigerian students were faced with the imposition of increased fees, and NUNS participated in a series of Campus protests across the whole of Nigeria known as the “Ali Must Go protests.” The government responded by sending in the army and police, leading to the death or serious wounding of over twenty students. Three universities were closed and NUNS was banned. Several university staff and students were dismissed.

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), formerly known as the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS), was initially set up to bring together all Nigerian Students to form a common front where issues concerning students are discussed.


In its earlier days, the student association was bold and helped shape the acceptance of any government in Nigeria.

The student body functioned as a pressure group that constantly pressured governments to change their political objectives, allies, and all anti-student policies.

The Ali Must Go Protest.

The 1978 Ali Must Go Protests was the Nigerian students’ uprising that followed an increase in fees.

The former Secretary of the Nigerian University Commission (NUC), stated that the increase was necessary due to the “high cost of living in the country.”

The NUC said that, even though all undergraduate students will continue to receive free tuition, the cost of housing would rise to N90 per student for a session lasting 36 weeks or N30 for a session lasting three terms.


A former president of NUNS, Segun Okeowo, now late, led a nationwide student protest against this government decision.

Okeowo also assembled university students from all over Nigeria in a demonstration against the military government’s perceived arbitrary increase in the price of meal tickets for students.


After several meetings with the then Federal Commissioner for Education, Ahmadu Ali, without achieving a reversal, NUNS called out students on a national protest which was to be tagged ‘Ali Must Go.’

The widespread demonstrations created unrest among the general public and spread beyond the schools.

The ‘Ali Must Go Protest” shook the fabric of the nation and led to a significant challenge for the Obasanjo military regime.


To put an end to the rioting, the military government under Obasanjo ordered the closure of all campuses.

The protest signalled to the government the seriousness of the students to challenge any policy against them and the willingness of the students to organise subsequent demonstrations.

In addition, the “Ali Must Go Protest” helped galvanise student unionism across the nation and created a means through which students’ voices could be heard.


The protest brought respect to the student body and provided direction for future student agitations.

Okeowo, who led the protest, was swiftly expelled from the University of Lagos; he eventually received his first degree in education from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1980 and after the disbanding of NUNS, NANS was birthed in 1980 with Comrade Danlad Sunday Oladele pioneer president of NANS. Comrade Oladele who was from Yaba Technical College would be today shaking in his grave to see that young student leaders have deviated from the original norms, vision and principles upon which NANS was founded.

The Present NANS.

The current day NANS without apology to those involved is a NANS that has lost its founding principles, bearing and values. A NANS where fractionalization is now seen as a norm.


An association that is now a shadow of itself and a far cry from what it used to be known for.

A NANS where supposed student leaders recycle themselves from JCC level to Zonal then National level and still have the temerity to blame politicians for corruption.

A NANS that goes for the highest bidder.

An association where supposed students move from one institution to another or continue buying various program forms to be eligible to stand in for election.

A NANS that uses cultism in running its affairs and intimidating perceived political opponents and innocent students.

A NANS where the original SUG Presidents (Senators) don’t vote but are rather Toronto by touts.

A NANS where the real students with a genuine vision to lead and liberate the Association can not even get near the convention ground let alone dream of contesting.

A NANS which is the voice of Jacob and the Hand of Esau.

A NANS where the so-called stakeholders come to campus to make money from management at the expense of students’ welfare.

And the list is endless.

Pathway to NANS Reformation
1. Financial Independence for NANS:
NANS should be returned to the campus, making it less dependent on government funding and instead funded by the students, who are the legitimate owners. The current situation, where it is hijacked by celebrity/stakeholder students, should be rectified.

2. Comradeship and Sportsmanship:
The Association should in a matter of urgency embrace comradeship and sportsmanship by accepting defeat gracefully and supporting the winner of a democratic leadership in other to succeed rather than create another faction.

3. Restore Original NUNS Structure:
Adopt the original NUNS structure entirely wherein SUG presidents across the Country have direct influence over the association, the replacement of union presidents with thugs is a disgrace to the Association and should be abolished.

4. Constitutional Amendments: The current NANS constitution requires amendment in narrowing the eligibility and criteria to contest to only first-degree students.

In conclusion,
We all play a role in restoring the lost glory of NANS. We must boldly confront and discourage illegality in the students’ struggle, challenging the norm of celebrating such practices.

Education has no age, and while anyone genuinely admitted for an accredited course is eligible to contest, the idea of returning to school solely to contest elections should be rejected by all.

Those benefiting from the divide-and-rule tactics in NANS should respond with intellectual contributions rather than seeking confrontation.

“The man dies who keeps silent in the face of tyranny.”
“In the end, we will remember not the words of enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Opinions on the way forward to save Nigerian tertiary education from decay would be highly appreciated.

Sen. (Prince) Chris-Dan Obaro Obruche (MSc, mnim).
Former NANS/JCC Secretary General,
Former SUG President, Senator in NANS,
General Secretary, Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku Alumni Association.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Ejes Gist Media Limited. For any rights infringements or takedown requests, please contact us at [email protected].


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