Toba Owojaiye reporting
Gunfire erupted at the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) convention in Abuja, as chaos unfolded during the election process. The incident occurred at the old parade ground, where NANS, representing students across tertiary institutions in Nigeria, was conducting its national convention to elect new leaders.
Truth Live News reports that violence ensued when thugs, allegedly affiliated with a candidate favored by Seyi Tinubu, the son of President Bola Tinubu, began assaulting opposition delegates. The alleged leader of these thugs is Sunday Asefon, former NANs president and recently appointed as the Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on Students Engagements.
The contentious candidate at the center of the chaos is Lucky Emonefe, a 48-year-old individual who left the College of Education, Warri, Delta State, two decades ago. Emonefe has purportedly garnered support through significant financial backing from politicians, raising concerns about external influence on the election.
Expressing discontent, a student remarked, “It’s extremely shameful to see old men who should be more concerned about the lives and welfare of their families fighting for positions in NANS.” The sentiment reflects a broader criticism of the age and motivations of certain candidates, highlighting the perceived self-interest overshadowing the association’s purpose.
The violence in Abuja is not an isolated incident, as historical instances of gunshots during NANS elections were noted in July 2016, December 2020, and September 2022. This recurring pattern has prompted public calls for the president to intervene and break the cycle of violence associated with these student elections.
The sad situation shows the intense political maneuvering within NANS, with political affiliations, financial influence, and age controversies converging to create a very volatile atmosphere.
As the convention progresses amidst security concerns, the focus remains on the need for a fair and transparent electoral process that upholds the principles of student representation without compromising safety.