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Thursday, October 31

Groups bemoan low political consciousness among students

The Coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Chido Onumah, has observed that over the years, the level of political consciousness among Nigerian students has reduced.
This, according to him, is as a result of the ideological and intellectual collapse in the leadership of students. “We now have a situation where instead of being the progressive forces that they were in the past, students have now become key agents of reaction and willing tools in the political elite and ruling class”.
Speaking at the roundtables on raising political consciousness among students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, in collaboration with International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) on Wednesday in Abuja, Onumah lamented that the fire brand activism, anti-imperialism and progressive pro-working people viewpoints that were dominant in the pre-independence years up to the early 90s, has dissolved into empty sloganeering and deliberate scheming to justify, promote and further the actions of the oppressor- class.
According to him, “To charge this situation, it is our belief that we must reinvent the political education philosophy of the 1970s and 80s that provided veritable platforms for students to engage one another and the society.
To achieve this, we have put together these roundtables on focused political education to help students return to their original role of serving as dynamic and constructive agent in the development of the country.
“The aim of these roundtables, among others, is to help students understand that because they are linked to the larger society by family, marriage friendships, religion, ethics, culture and history, they cannot pretend to be indifferent to the fate of the larger society. And that as young and active members of the society, they have a historic role to not only challenge the current social order but also to work to change it.
“As the future of the country, students must be interested in the way the ruling class is mismanaging the country. As students, they are not excluded from the present socio-political and economic problems of the country. Therefore, they have a responsibility to organise the people, raise their consciousness, educate and mobilise them to participate in the political economic and social progress of the country. Each roundtable will provide space for serious political and ideological engagement and help participants to make contributions relevant to promoting emancipatory anti-imperial and counter-hegemonic perspectives in social transformation in Nigeria. For the two roundtables we will discuss democracy and political mobilisation: The role of students and youth and student radicalism and the Nigeria priject: A critical analysis of the students ‘union movement in Nigeria”, he added.
Similarly, the Regional Director, Rosa Luxembourg Foundation West Africa, Dr Armin Osmanovic, said the roundtable is important because of the strategic role that students and youths ideally should play in the sustainable growth and development of Nigeria and Africa in General.
Unfortunately we are presently far from this ideal. The roundtable provides an opportunity to reflect on this and proffer alternatives and recommend improvement.
Armin, who was represented at the occasion by Angela Odah, the Programme Manager, Rosa Luxembourg Foundation West Africa, said the students and youths, historically played vital role in the transformation of societies. Our youths, therefore need to brace up to play the role of ensuring that our political and other leaders of society are held accountable For the policies they produce in the governance of our country. The Zikist and the Nigerian Youth Movement for instance we’re in the forefront of our struggle for political independence from Britainwhile the University of Ibadan Students stopped the infamous Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact immediately after Independence.
Also, the Director of the International Institute of Journalism, Dr. Emman Shehu, said politics is very important in the way a country is run, we believe that we need this kind of awareness so that we don’t allow the rout that has kept this country back for almost 60 years, we need a new dynamism in terms of our political orientation.

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