All is not well within the Ondo State Chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students/Joint Campus Committee after its just concluded convention. The state government is being accused of causing division among members of the association because of the 2016 gubernatorial poll.
Few months to the gubernatorial election in Ondo State, the state chapter of National Association of Nigerian Students/Joint Campus Committee, NANS/JCC has divided into two factions. This followed failure of the Ondo State government to impose its desired candidate as the chairman of the association at it just concluded convention at the Federal College of Agriculture in Akure. The report we got from the National Mirror say, the chairmanship post was contested by Azeez Adewunmi, Anthony Damilola, Damilare Olusanya, Olasunkanmi Olajuyin and Samson Falegan. At the end of the election, Anthony Atolusi with five votes was declared winner while Adewunmi and Falegan polled two votes each. The convention was witnessed by journalists, State security service and the Nigeria Police Force. It was also monitored by NANS stakeholders both at the zonal and national levels. Few hours after the convention, Falegan who lost the election issued a statement to reject the outcome of the convention and declared himself winner and was immediately recognised by the state government as the chairman and held his inauguration on the 29th of March with some aides to the governor present. But speaking with Campus News on condition of anonymity, one of the students’ union presidents who voted during the convention accused the Ondo State government of trying to impose its desired candidate on them so as to be in control of the association during the forthcoming governorship election. He accused the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Youths Matter, Tony Omogbemi and the National vicechairman of the association, Timileyin Ayenuro who he described as a card carrying members of the PDP of using Falegan to destabilise the students’ body and dragging it into a murky political environment. According to him, “a convention was conducted, Anthony had five out of nine votes, and the figures remaining can’t even be up to the ones he already gathered.
“We SUG Presidents were called before the convention by someone in this government to vote for Samson Falegan but we followed our heart, the association is for students not for politicians.” But when contacted on phone, the governor’s aide, Mr. Tony Omogbemi said the accusation was baseless, saying he doesn’t know anyone as the chairman for now. “Nobody has come to my office, it was only the former chairman that came to me before their convention,” he said. When asked why the government preferred Samson Falegan, he said, “It’s not true, I think you should call the SUG Presidents to know who they voted for and do your calculation.” In his comment on the matter, a former Senior Special Assistant on Students’ Matter to late Governor Olusegun Agagu as well as Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Evang. Olumuyiwa Asagunla blamed Ondo NANS/JCC for its own woes. According to him, the association has lost its credibility and relevance as a voice for Nigerian students s it has become a sounding cymbal which does not add harmonious tunes to songs.
“Why would NANS writes to Ondo state government that it wanted to hold its convention? What’s the business of the government with who is in charge of NANS? Since they have written to the government that they wanted to hold their convention, the government would be interested in who becomes their chairman. NANS ought to be a pressure group and not government stooge. I learnt they collected money from the government before the election to vote the government anointed candidate but refuses to vote him during the convention.” Speaking with Campus News, the new Chairman- elect, Anthony Atolusi said he was been political persecuted. He said, “I won the election with five votes but they alleged that I am an APC member but I don’t belong to any political party. They later told me they wanted Falegan because he is a loyal party boy.” Anthony then accused Timilehin Ayenuro of being a stooge of the present government who has incorporated the activities of the association with that of PDP in the state. But in his submission, factional chairman of the association, Samson Falegan said the accusation was nothing but absolute falsehood and full of fabrications. He also denied being sponsored by the state government and can never wait for the crumbles that would fall from the political table. “I am for the students and will not be an arm of any political party.” When contacted, NANS National Vice-President, Timileyin Ayenuro said he was not ready to comment now as consultations were ongoing to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, the outgoing chairman, Odunayo Kowe Kalusa has called on the NANS National President, Tijani Usman to call his vice, Timileyin Ayenuro to order. According to him, there was a free, credible, and peaceful convention and people should bury their personal interest in the interest of all.