Lack Of Student Unionism In Nigerian Universities Caused Zombie Graduates - Falana

Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), on Friday called for an immediate lift of the ban of students unions in all Nigeria universities.

Falana said this while delivering the 9th Convocation lecture of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos, titled: “Managing Freedom and Illusions of Achievement”.

He lamented that instead of producing critical thinkers, our universities had specialised in producing robots, as the lack of student unionism in public and private universities was breeding zombies.

The legal luminary noted that students and staff unions would contribute meaningfully to the search for solution to the myriad of problems confronting the country if they are allowed to operate without fear of proscription.

“Our first generation universities were citadels of learning, as they promoted ideas and encouraged students to challenge the status quo.

“It is on record that some of the best legislators in the country were former members of the students’ parliaments.

“There were progressive lecturers who spoke truth to power without harassment from the management of tertiary institutions,” he said.

According to him, there must be a deliberate policy on the part of progressive students to take the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) back from the government.

Falana said effort must also be made to re-position NANS to defend and protect the interest of students.

“The other day, an alumnus of a private university was charged for cultism and cyber crime, denied bail and detained in a prison for many months for criticising the facilities in his alma mater.

“Six lecturers have just been dismissed in another state university for exposing mismanagement of the funds allocated to the school.

“To cover up such corrupt practices and other iniquities, the management of the university have subjected all academic and Non-Academic staff to swear to an oath of secrecy,” he said.

The SAN said the laws of the land and the rules and regulations of every tertiary should be observed and respected by all and sundry.

According to him, it is only by following laid down rules that impunity and abuse of office could be fought and defeated in the society as a whole.

Falana, however, charged Nigerian graduates and youths to team up with people of like minds to engage in political activities.

He said the politics of the country should no longer be left in the hands of professional politicians who have proved themselves incapable to address the crisis of underdevelopment.

The eminent lawyer said the development of Nigeria depended on its great assets — the human beings, especially the youth, as you cannot develop a knowledge economy without huge deliberate investments in human capital in the areas of education and health.

Falana said that the future of Nigeria is not oil but the economy has to be opened up and expanded to create jobs because without industrialisation the economy could not develop.

In his address, Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie, Acting Vice -Chancellor, Caleb University, said that the institution churned out 733 graduates compared to 409 and 477 graduates it produced in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Owens-Ibie said out of the 688 graduates, 556 are undergraduates and 179 postgraduates.

He said 24 students made first class at the undergraduate class, 235 made second class upper, 255 made second class lower, while 40 graduates made third class.

The acting vice-chancellor said at the postgraduate level, 19 students made distinction and 160 students made pass.

The professor named the overall best student in the 2019 class, tagged “Topaz”, as Miss Otibhor Imuse of the Department of Biochemistry with a Cummulative Grade Point Aggregate (CGPA) of 4. 85.

He said the overall best graduand at the postgraduate level is Temitope Adedayo-Ojo, Master of Business Administration with a CGPA of 4. 96.

The vice-chancellor said the graduating students would demonstrate to the world that Nigeria was the breeding ground of geniuses with a lot to offer.

Ibien-owens, however, solicited for support from stakeholders in terms of endowments, structures and other relevant contribution, as the institution evolve into a global brand.

Prof. Fola Tayo, Pro-Chancellor of the university charged the students to be a strange, odd and unusual individual who is out to make a change and cannot fit into the Nigeria corrupt and inhuman cage as they go into the world.

“You have been prepared and equipped to live and work and excel in this perverse and crooked generation.

“Let me assure you all that God is with you and he will never leave you, nor forsake you as you stand on his side,” he said.

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