April 13, 2024

NANS Summit: Shaibu Harps on Sustenance of Democracy, Says Strong Institutions, Rule of Law Key to Democratic Governance

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Shaibu addressing NANS members

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By Reporter

Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu, has charged Nigerian students to work hard without fear of intimidation by persons he described as ‘strong men’ in Nigeria for the sustenance of the nation’s  democracy.

NANS Members welcoming Edo Dep Gov Shaibu

Shaibu gave the charge at  the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Summit, which held at Imaguero College in Benin City.

The event hosted by the NANS Vice President (Inter-Campus Affairs), Comrade Vanessa Egbeahie, saw business monguls, technocrats, politicians and other important personalities from all walks of life, in attendance to encourage and impact the students.

The Deputy Governor,  who was one of the key-note speakers, admonished the students to be hardworking, diligent, focused and determined in pushing for the growth and development of Nigeria.

Shaibu Mentoring Nigerian Students at NANAS Summit in Benin City

Shaibu who once served as President of NANS, narrated  his journey into students unionism and his contributions to the emergence of democracy in Nigeria.

 He painted a vivid picture of how he was tortured by the military for leading the NANS Zone C Abacha Must Go rally and how he was detained in Gashua prison in now  Zamfara State for one month, until he was released following a report by a Journalist called Jacob published his detention.

“We fought the military because we wanted a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We wanted an ear-giving government; one that is   there  by the power of the people”.

“We, young and vibrant activists back then,  didn’t give the military  rest. Some of our colleagues didn’t survive it, some of them died, some brutalized and some till today are on  wheelchairs”.

“But the good thing is that their spirit was not killed. They are always interested in the Nigeria that will be an egalitarian country”.

Shaibu addressing the students

“I sustained injuries while under severe torture in one of my sojourns in  detention and it led to my being operated on for appendicitis”.

“For you, I want you to know that the last election was a test case for the youths – whether they are conscious of their future – you all came out to vote, but you must not be weary regardless of what happened”.

Shaibu also mentioned how he challenged the then President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo to recall  the 779 rusticated student unionists during the democratic struggle.

“In that same struggle, we got the President to suspend the financial autonomy that he was proposing for all federal institutions. In that same struggle, I got the President to approve the increase of Corp members allowance then,  from #3,500 to #7,500”.

“If we did not have the character to determine what we wanted, we would have chickened out. Maybe today, we won’t have democracy. We were offered money to jettison our struggle, but for us, we were convinced that the struggle for democracy was better than selling our rights for a pot of porridge. We resisted, fought for democracy and today, democracy is here”.

“The sustainability of this democracy is, however, determined by the rule of law which is very important for us. We should make sure that our personal sentiments do not influence our official conduct as public servants”.

“Today, we have supermen as against strong institutions. When we have supermen, they work for themselves. When you have strong Institutions, it works for everybody.

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“What we need to sustain democracy is to obey the rule of law, where the Inspector General of Police can work without being influenced; where a University Vice Chancellor will not be controlled by the President,/Governor; where the Local Government Chairman will not be controlled by the executive because there’s an account joining the two tiers of government”.

“Until and except this is addressed, Nigeria will not move forward”.

The Deputy Governor further encouraged the students to be who they want to be by their hard work and prayers.

“For you to be what you want to be, your character is key .Don’t let anyone deceive you. You are the only one that can make yourself by hard work and concerted efforts to be what you want to be”, Shaibu added.

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