1. Student struggle or activism is a serious engagement;
2. The struggle or activism isn’t about drawing attention to oneself, courting limelight, or seeking cheap popularity; avoid populism;
3. Know the cause, choose your fight; activism isn’t about jumping on every bandwagon;
4. Build the structure, the cell around your activism; the low-ranger, Gani-esque, one-man-struggle, is suicidal;
5. Your struggle must have a popular base, popular support of those on whose behalf every struggle is fought;
6. Be polite, charismatic and engaging; be polite to and respectful of all constituted authorities, while not playing the tom-foolery, or while not being subservient; show courage and bravery, but know when not to go on the offensive in an unpopular cause;
7. Be smart; always be many steps ahead of your adversaries, including constituted authorities;
8. Always consult your supporters; always consult your lawyers; avoid personal skirmishes; don’t speak to the press directly- direct all media enquiries to your lawyers, or to a professional suited for that purpose;
9. Be a model student; let the excellence of your academic work speak for you;
10. Know and understand your rights under our constitution;
11. Never claim victory before the struggle is fought;
12. Always show fidelity to truth no matter whose ox is gored
Many student activists’ careers have been cut down as a result of ignorance, infantilism, and youthful exuberance,
Know when the conditions of any struggle are ripe!
***Abdul Mahmud, a lawyer, is a former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).***
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