NANS President Yinka Gbadebo
Nigerian students under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) have had successive presidents leading them. NANS, which was birthed in 1980 as a successor to the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS) which was proscribed by the despotic and anti-students military dispensation of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, has been terribly and serially abused, exploited, factionalized, monetized and wickedly politicized. The emergence of Mr. Yinka Gbadebo a.k.a Ayefele as the 26th president of NANS at its last Convention held in Uyo on the 18th December, 2012, is a terrible mistake of history that will haunt the student movement in Nigeria for years to come.
Ayefele, who was rusticated from the Ekiti State University (EKSU) for assaulting the University’s Vice Chancellor, is currently a diploma student of Local Government Studies at theObafemi Awolowo University, Ile/Ife, Osun State. Incidentally, he was born on 26th of April, 1980 – the same year that NANS came into existence. Thus, one would have expected him to take cognizance of the historicity of his emergence as NANS president.
Under the watchful eyes of Yinka Gbadebo as NANS president, the blood of innocent Nigerian students have been unabatedly wasted with atavistic impunity especially by theNigeria Police Force, an institution acknowledged by it present head,IGP Abubakar, as a killer squad.
Few examples will suffice. On 25th February, 2013, four students of the Nasarawa State University were gruesomely murdered while protesting against water scarcity and power outage. About seventeen students were arrested.
Two days after, on February 28, 2013,Seyi Fasere, a 400 level student of the Ekiti State University was shot dead by the police. He had gone to hishome town Ilupeju to collect his tuition, and on his way back, the bus conveying him ran into armed robbers at Oye Ekiti. The driver veered off the road while all occupants disembarked and fled into the bush.
Several minutes after the armed robbers had left; p,olice came, combed the bush and found Seyi Fasere hiding like all others. However, the one hundred thousand naira he had collected from his parents for his school fees was found on him and this, as far as the police were concerned, was enough evidence that he was an armed robber. He was taken to the police station and shot dead by a police man notoriously known as‘Akobi Esu’ (Devil’s Firstborn).
Again, on 27 May, 2013,Ahmed Dayo, an ND I student in the Department of Accounting ofKwara State Polytechnic,was shot inside a cab by policemen escorting a bullion van belonging to a first generation bank.
Reportedly, the armed police escort stopped the taxi and attempted to shoot at one of its tyres because it was getting too close to the bullion van. Unfortunately, instead of the bullet hitting the tyre, it hit Dayo in the vehicle and damaged one of his legs.
Likewise on the same 27 May, 2013,Ibrahim Momodu, a student of theUniversity of Benin (UNIBEN)was shot dead by CSPCarol Afegbai, the Divisional Police Officer of Ogida Division.
On 12th June, 2013, students ofUniversity of Uyo (UNIUYO)embarked on a peaceful protest, the protest lasted for several hours without any representative of the University management or the corrupt and docileStudents’ Union Governmentcoming out to address the protesting students, instead, anti-riot police men were invited to suppress the protest. In the most unprofessional manner the trigger-happy policemen fired teargas canisters and live bullets endlessly and carelessly leading to the death ofKingsley Udoette, a 200 level Zoology student of the University. He was hit apparently by a stray bullet of the warring policemen since no other person has been identified to have fired a shot during the duration of the crisis.
44 innocent and poor students were indiscriminately arrested mostly at the male hostel of theUniversity at Udi Streetin Uyo, which is situated outside the premises of the University, and on the streets while struggling to return home following the closure of the school. I did everything within my power to secure the freedom of those students form unlawful detention, including media campaign (two of my articles titled: (1) Unlawful Detention of UNIUYO Students and (2) Still on the Unlawful Detention of UNIUYO Students: A Month After, were published by Sahara Reporters and other media platforms).
In the course of this particular struggle, which is yet to end, I was contacted severally by phone by Yinka Gbadebo, I impressed on him about the pathetic situation of those students and the need for him to act timely. Hepromised to take necessary actionsto secure the release of those students. Yinka Gbadebo reneged; he totally turned a blind eye and deaf ear to this case.
As at today, Friday 8th November, 2013, 4 out of the 44 UNIUYO students arrested since the 12th June when that crisis broke out are still being detained at the Uyo Prisons, almost five months after the crisis.
I will not say more on this very case here, except thatComrade Donald Onukaogu,the late Senate president of NANS, and four others died on their way to intervene in that crisis.
Instead of giving his dead colleagues a “befitting burial,” Yinka Gbadebo saw their death as another opportunity for pecuniary gains and self-aggrandizement.
Engr.Jide Adenijithe Chairman of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), and Patron of NANS reportedlydonated millions of naira to NANSfor the burial of the late NANS leaders. The money was grossly misappropriated resulting in a scandal which Yinka has battled fruitlessly to suppress.
Many more students have been murdered in cool blood under the dispensation of Yinka Gbadebo, including those killed by theBoko Haram sectin the Kano College attack and other places.
Yinka Gbadebo-led NANS has done practically nothing to arrest the lust for blood of Nigerian students by the police or bring the culprits to justice except pockets of compromised protests and empty press statements. I doubt if NANS has a record of these killings.
Yinka Gbadebo has doneincurable damageto the memory of the fallen martyrs and living heroes who led NUNS/NANS and the students’ movement in Nigeria responsibly and fearlessly. He should look into history, not all his predecessors exuded his current perfidious character.
Segun Okeowo, Kunle Adepeju, Akintunde Ojo, Chima Ubani, Chris Abashi, Omoyele Sowore, Emma Ezeazu, Chris Mammah, Banji Adegboro, Ben Oguntuase, Olusegun Adeboro, Labaran Maku, etc., are great examples of student leaders who tested battle and stood for principles in the many theatres of war, anti-SAP and removal of oil subsidy riots between 1989 and 1991, June 12 protests, anti-military campaigns, etc.
What will be thelegacy of Yinka Gbadebo? Instead of taking a responsible and pro-student stance in the likely to be ended four months old ASUU strike, he has chosen the side of the oppressor. He has taken over the propaganda machinery of a government that does not appreciate the sanctity of agreements fromDoyin Okupe, Reuben Abati, Labaran Maku and Reno Omokri. Today, we have a NANS president who speaks out of the abundance of the stomach, a NANS president without integrity, principles and accountability, a NANS president who is a willing tool in the hands of a corrupt political class. The order day, he travelled to Onitsha in Anambra State to endorse the candidature of Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah for the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Anambra State (a man linked to fuel subsidy fraud and whose company, Capital Oil and Gas, has been taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria because of his indebtedness).
Yinka Gbadebo finds it pertinent to issue a strong worded press statement castigating the political killing(s) in Ekiti State which he blamed onGovernor Kayode Fayemibut cannot secure the release of UNIUYO students in custody or bring to justice those who take delight in shedding of innocent blood of Nigerian students.
Nigerian students and Nigerians in general should stop taking Yinka Gbadebo and his gang seriously. He had since lost the legitimacy to remain in office. Whenever the history of students’ movement in Nigeria is told, the name Yinka Gbadebo will be remembered not for accountability, integrity or principles but for treachery, indiscipline and inanities.
Let me end by adverting the minds of Yinka Gbadebo and other student leaders who belong to his cast of mind, who trade with the blood of innocent, voiceless and helpless Nigerian students that there is a ghost of stewardship that will hunt them in the fullness of time.
Inibehe Effiong is a Final Year Law student of UNIUYO, Human Rights Activist and National President of Nigerian Student’s Rights Movement (NSRM).