The leadership of the Students’ Union of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto has thought it wise to feature its predecessors to discuss trending issues concerning students’ unionists and unionism in Nigeria.
The event, which was held at the university auditorium, was themed: “Students’ Unionism and Life after School.”
The program according the current union leader of the school, Idrees Maibasira was to “compare the past with the present to get better bright future of Students’ Unionism in Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.”
Present at the event were past Students’ Union leaders of the school who were invited to make sincere juxtaposition of Students’ Unionism of the school between past and the present.
In his opening remark, Vice Chancellor of the school, Prof Abdullahi Abduzuru said: “Today is a very special occasion and a remarkable initiative of the current SU administration. They have thought it wise to engage individuals who have experienced life both within and outside the campus, and will be speaking from firsthand experience.”
As part of the plans to make deep prospects of “Students’ Unionism and Life after School”, nine vibrant past union leaders of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto formed a discussant panel and plenary. The panel was properly moderated by the duo of Suraju Sifawa, a veteran journalist in Sokoto and Ibrahim Dogondaji, the Director of Sokoto State Mobilization and Enlightenment Commission.
On his part, Chairman Governing Council of Federal Polytechnic, Ede, who was also once a union leader of the school in 1992, Prof Nasiru Yawuri, expressively compared Students’ Unionism of the past and the present. He outspoke his mind disappointedly over what the union has grown to become over the years.
“The Students’ Union, unlike what we left behind, has depleted in morality. It has become a platform for display of money and affluence. And, students’ unionists of nowadays have become errand boys to politicians,” he lamented. He added that “there is no reason why Students’ Union leadership should get intimidated by the management.”
While encouraging students to be courageous and radical when it comes fighting to protest the right interests of students, he moaned emotionally, saying “during our time, we stood our ground alongside the management over students’ welfare, unlike today when money is the priority of most students.”
He however advised students to embrace good moral character in order to get to their promised lands.
Bashir Umar, who was the Students’ Union President in 2011 hailed the speech of Prof Nasiru, he said: “Before success, there must be struggle.”
Dr. Shadi Sabeh, the two-time consecutive president of Students’ Union of the school in 2002 and 2003 respectively, who is now a successful lecturer and entrepreneurer spoke to the students on the need to embrace entrepreneurship.
“It is true that year-in-year-out, tertiary institutions dose out graduates. However, we don’t have a corresponding increase in job creation. Therefore, you should not see bagging a degree as a guarantee to getting employed. Add value to yourself by building your capacity. Think of creating jobs and not taking jobs. Humility is also a vital key to making money. Believe me, If jobs are what you’re looking for, they do not exist,” he urged.
Also, Mansur Ngaski, the current assistant manager of Zenith Bank, Sokoto, who was also a union leader in 2004 remarked on the need for students to diversify as the Nigerian economy diversifies. “There are a lot of opportunities in such a developing economy like Nigeria’s. But there are too much wastages, particularly among the youths. So, as the government provides enabling atmosphere for businesses to thrive, we as youths must also manage our resources, reduce our spending and be financially disciplined.”
Amina Abdulazeez, a one-time female union leader in 2013 admonished students on the need to be productive and creative. Innovation, she said is what is called ideal entrepreneural skill.
In her words she said: “There are one hundred and one jobs for whoever is ready to innovate. Despite my second class upper, B.sc degree in political science, my skill in photography made me who I am today.”
Speaking on the importance of entrepreneurship, Alhaji Mahmud Sani, the 1993 union leader of the school and now a politician, also emphasised that “If you retire as a civil servant, you’re going to die a poor man.”
CSP Suleiman Gulma, the 1992 SU president, then described the panacea to the recessed Nigerian economy as “active involvement of all stakeholders and continuity in policy implementation.” Youths involvement in entrepreneurship, he said would save the country from economic quargmire.
Dean of students affairs, Prof Adamu Aliero hailed the efforts of the Students’ Union for organising such a positive thought-provoking event.
The event, he described as an eye-opener for students.
He however advised the students to have respect for age. Experiences of the elders, he said should not be over-looked by any student who wants to excel in life.