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Full Speech Of NANS President Asefon's New Year Address

A NEW YEAR MESSAGE BY THE REVOLUTIONARY PRESIDENT OF NANS, COMRADE SUNDAY ASEFON.



Members of the fifth estate of the realm, Let me welcome you to this New Year and also congratulate you for making it to this New Year. The year offers us a new beginning and a renewed hope.


Indeed, year 2020 was very challenging, not only for us as tertiary institution students who endured nine months of ASUU industrial actions, the longest strike in the students community, but also as Nigerian, and members of the global community. The year was challenging as the world combated and still combating with the most dreaded virus in human history.


NEW HOPE
We must however look ahead to this New Year with renewed hope, aspirations, and expectations. As a nation, we must retrospect on the sluggish pace of our national development, re-examine the gloomy chronicles of our nation’s unfulfilled potentials.


Review our multi-facet security challenges with renewed resolution borne out of the unity of direction and purpose. As much as the nation seems divided, there must be an absolute resolution to listen more to each other with the intent to understand each other's perspective, unique regional challenges, regional aspirations rather than just listening to each other with the intent to reply or defend our sentiments.


ON EDUCATION
As student leaders, we are appalled by the deteriorating standard in our public institutions across the country and we will be investing most of our time, advocating for improvements in all the tertiary institutions across the country  all through this year,  this must be well planned for in our national budget.


Knowledge-based economy and resources have proven to be the best in human history, to experience millennia development, there is a need to invest more in research and innovations which tertiary education is the main driver.


Leadership across the board must understand the urgent need to concentrate more on providing quality education to our populace as this is perhaps the one solution to many of our national challenges.


UNESCO has recommended a minimum of 26% of the National Annual Budget to Education, a nation aspiring to find her base among the committee of a great nations cannot afford to reduce its allocation to 26% of UNESCO recommendation but surpass it as education drives development.


Nigeria must at least meet up with the UNESCO recommendation in the 2022 budget. This is basic, if our government fails to consciously and systemically place our biggest priority on financing education, insecurity will continue to consume our nation and if this pace continues, we hope, we won’t have to say, there was once a country called Nigeria.


Nigeria must take a leave from Norway, New Zealand, UK, United States, Iceland, etc. We must learn how Singapore drove itself out of relative obscurity into the global limelight through education. It is indeed important to state expressly that NANS will advocate for National Education Summit this New Year.


There is an urgent need for bridge-building conversation around public and private education in Nigeria.


NANS believes that the National Education Summit is long overdue especially given the unique challenges of public education in Nigeria and its relevance to our national development. 


OBLIGATION
The primary function of Government is to provide security of lives and properties. We are very worried and concerned with the pace of insecurity in the country in the year ending, kidnapping in schools, attacks on campuses and even murdering  of lecturers and students. Leadership must find a compass around insecurity especially in our schools. Students across the country must be safe traversing our campuses and homes.


NANS expect a new security arrangement that will prioritizes our schools and campuses to ensure students have the required equipment to concentrate on their study, research and innovate to build the future.


NANS will therefore be canvassing for National Security Summit where we can annex our intellectual capital towards proffering sustainable solutions to our security challenges. This summit will allow cross-fertilization of varying ideas, centered on providing the solution to our security challenges. Critical stakeholders will come together to discuss and decide on a clear path forward to ensure Nigeria is safe going forward. 


INNOVATION
Another great issue of importance to us in 2021 shall be advocacy to have indigent tertiary education students on the Federal Government Conditional Cash Transfer program. We believe this development will go a long way in assisting the active demography of our population. This also must be seen as an investment in the future.


The students have been marginalized in the various program of government towards combating the harsh economic realities, but we believe that the students can also be considered in all these intervention programs without altering the budgets. Since this intervention will be aimed at indigent students and carried out with the assistant of tertiary institutions management, it will be easy to manage and such intervention will be given out through a student's peculiar need assessment by the directorate of student affairs.


PLATFORM
In the weeks ahead, NANS will launch an e-platform for Nigerian students to report cases of sexual harassment, intimidation, arbitrary or wrongful suspension or expulsion, student union proscription, the introduction of anti-students policies, etc. This platform has become necessary on the need to decentralize communication between victimized students and the national leadership of NANS.


Cases reported to this e-platform shall be taken up immediately by the relevant NANS organs,  while I will continue to monitor development and intervene where and when necessary. The platform also shall consistent the names, phone numbers, and contacts  of Students Union Presidents of all the institutions in Nigeria and also contacts of the leadership of various NANS organs.


I call on Nigerian students to take full advantage of this platform to report cases of intimidation, harassment, wrongful suspension/expulsion, sex for marks, etc. 


DEVELOPMENT
Let me be expressly clear, in this New Year, NANS will participate actively in our national socio-economic activities.
We shall have cause to examine policies of the Government, disagree when need be, offer alternatives, commendation when necessary. We shall use every tool of advocacy, civil disobedience, peaceful protests, and mass actions to ensure students and indeed, Nigerians get the best bargain from our leaders.


ON INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS
Conclusively, NANS will not tolerate industrial actions that may affect our academic calendars this year.


We will resume our well-
coordinated national protest should there be any strike in 2021. We, therefore, call on FG to fulfill all its promises with ASUU and every other trade unions within the education sector to ensure we have hitch-free academic year in 2021.


I am aware of the magnitude of the work ahead, the expectations from our members, and the need to return NANS to its rightful place as the focal point of youth advocacy in Nigeria. I will do all that is needed and necessary to ensure we achieve all we have set out to achieve.  



SEASON GREETINGS
As we begin this New Year, I wish you all a happy new year, a prosperous new year, and encourage you all to keep adhering strictly to COVID-19 protocols now and when schools are finally opened. We must continue to wash our hands with soap, we must wear our face masks always. To defeat this virus and make this year one of the best, we must take responsibility and do our part in stopping the spread of this deadly virus.


Once again, accept my best wishes as we begin this New Year.
 

Viva Aluta!

Comrade Asefon Sunday
Revolutionary NANS President.


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