All About National Association of the Nigerian Students

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The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) was previously known as the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS). In 1956 it was originally established to address and unite all Nigerian students under one roof. In the earlier days of its initiation the NANS, students were bold and helped the government of Nigeria in formulating changes that supported and aimed at the growth of the students. Furthermore, the NANS in the present are accused of moving away from their initial motto and aim. Nevertheless, there is much more to the Nigerian students and NANS. 



What is NANS?

The NANS is an organization that brings together students from both the parent country Nigeria and international students under the umbrella of an organization. After structural changes in the West African Student Union in 1956, NANS came into existence. 

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Since its initiation in Nigeria, it has played a significant role in Nigerian politics. This organization has participated in many protests for the growth of students throughout Nigeria. However, the National Association of Nigerian Students is a vocal critic of the Nigerian government. It continuously thrives to increase the education system of Nigeria.

All the presidents of this organization serve for a period of one year. The last election was held on April 2024 and the latest chosen president is Bola Ahmad Tinubu. 

History of NANS

Councils of students from Ife, Zaria, and Nsukka came together when the West African Students’ Union changed into the  National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS), in 1956. 

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22 years after its initiation, in April 1978, Nigerian students encountered the imposition of a raised fee amount. This is when the National Union of Nigerian Students stepped in and actively contributed their presence in campus protests. This series of protests took place throughout the nation with the dialogue “Ali Must Go Protests.”

The government sent an army and police to stop these protests which made the protestors more angry and led to many casualties. Some protestors were severely wounded, some died, and a total of 70 students became victims of these protests. NUNS were banned after this incident followed by the closure of three universities. 

Current NANS President

On December 1, 2023, the National Association of Nigerian Students elected Comrade Pedro Obi from Delta State University as its new President. Obi, a PhD student of Guidance and Counseling studies got 212 votes to defeat his closest rival, Lucky Emonefe, on the opposition scored 83 votes.

Source- Sahara Reporters

NANS and the Government of Nigeria

Nigerian student union, NANS, is at odds with human rights lawyer Femi Falana over the group’s stance towards the government. Femi Falana, a Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, criticized NANS for allegedly becoming a government mouthpiece, urging them to prioritize student defense. NANS President Emonefe Lucky refutes this claim, asserting their focus on student advocacy.

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Falana believes NANS has strayed from its purpose of representing students. He argues the union should be a critical voice holding the government accountable, not a cheerleader. Lucky counters that NANS fulfills both roles. While their primary function is fighting injustice against students, they also acknowledge positive government actions. He suggests Falana wants them to solely oppose the government, but NANS sees its duty as broader. They will praise beneficial policies, like student loan programs, that directly impact students.

This disagreement highlights the ongoing debate about the appropriate role of student unions. Should they be solely critical of the government, or can they acknowledge positive steps while still advocating for student rights? NANS takes the latter approach, arguing effective advocacy requires acknowledging progress when it happens.

Present day NANS

As per a report by the Premium Times, an Abuja activist says that NANS is now bombarded with politicians, which is why most college students do not join the organization. Furthermore, it majorly consists of people in their 40s who are exposed to the Nigerian system. NANS is now used exclusively for political purposes and monetary benefits. 

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A Nigerian Musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti has always asked the people to stay alert for people who blind them to a revolution. However, it is not much followed in the Nigerian state. 


What is the right to association in Nigeria?

It states that every individual has the right to assemble freely and associate with other persons, or may belong to any political party, trade union, or association to protect interests.  

What is the history of student unionism in Nigeria?

Student unionism began in 1925 with the old West African Students Union (WASU) idealism. 

What is the concept of a student union?

It is an organization of students in school or college that arranges social events and provides health services and places to live. 

Hopefully, you get a detailed insight into the National Association of Nigerian Students. For more detailed information, you can book your free counselling session with our experts and follow us. Leverage Edufor the latest updates.

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