The National Association of Nigerian Students, Zone D, comprising six states in the South-West, has distanced itself from the Nelson Mandela Iconic Award given to a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos, Chief Bode George.
At an event in Lagos three weeks ago, the Coordinator of NANS, Zone C, Adio Odunjo, who superintends over the states in the North-Central, conferred the award on George, describing the PDP leader’s time in prison as a case of political prosecution similar to what Mandela experienced during his 27 years in prison in South Africa.
But the South-West NANS urged the association to stop desperate members from turning the union into a business venture, which is capable of eroding the integrity and the credibility of the union.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its emergency meeting held at the College of Education, Ikere Ekiti on Thursday and signed by Asefon, the zone claimed it was not consulted before presenting the award.
It said, “We dissociate ourselves from the award conferred on Chief Bode George. Nelson Mandela Iconic Award is a priceless award that is meant for Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers and not for politicians. We are still at loss as to why some NANS leaders would do this, except for pecuniary reasons.
“As an ideologically rooted organisation, the step taken by some of these greedy NANS’ leaders has confirmed the level of rots in our society.”
The body also rued the continued closure of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, by Governor Ibikunle Amosun on account of students’ protest over fee reduction.
“We appeal to Governor Amosun to reopen the university while the students should also allow for negotiation on the matter for speedy resolution of the crisis,” it said.
NANS also called on the national body of the association to conduct elections into all vacant positions in the zone to ward off the impression that some leaders were waging cold war against the zone in the scheme of things.