Obasanjo ‘Killed’ Student Unionism In Nigeria – Bakare

Pastor Tunde Bakare is convener of Save Nigeria Group

The convener of Save Nigeria Group, Tunde Bakare, on Monday, accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of being responsible for the “death” of authentic student unionism in Nigeria.

He made the allegation while delivering a paper titled,’ Good Governance: Sustainability of Democracy, the Role of Students in the Forthcoming General Election,” in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

The lecture was part of the programme held to mark the Students International Day.

Mr. Bakare, who is also the General Overseer of Latter Rain Assembly, traced the history of student unionism in Nigeria from the colonial days and concluded that the body was dealt a fatal blow in 1978 when Mr. Obasanjo was a military head of state.

“General Olusegun Obasanjo’s government ordered the brutal suppression of that protest. Live bullets were unleashed on protesting students,” he said.

“As we proceeded outside University of Lagos main gate, I narrowly escaped death as Akintunde Ojo, the young man standing just beside me, was gunned down. Through that incident, Obasanjo carved his name on marble as a villain of democracy.”

“I did not mince words when opportunity presented itself in November of 1978 when I pointed to his face and said this government possesses power without compassion, might without morality and strength without sight,”

Mr. Bakare lamented that students unionism had been hijacked by those he described as “never do wells,” just he noted that the height of the fall of unionism in the country was the conferment of the title Defender of Democracy on Mr. Obasanjo in 2005 by student body.

He stated, “Nevertheless, student unionism in Nigeria today is in a sorry state. Not only has it fallen from its pinnacle of intellectual doggedness and ideological astuteness, it has lost its activist steam and has become a mere appendage of ruling political parties and a tool in the hands of corrupt politicians.”

‘The apotheosis of the perfidious degeneration of student unionism occurred in 2005 when NANS decorated General Obasanjo as a ‘Defender of Democracy’; yes the same Obasanjo who masterminded the brutal repression of unarmed students who were merely registering their displeasure over hike in fees.”

The clergyman condemned the role played by student leaders in the botched third term bid of the former president.

According to him, when the progressives rose against the third term agenda, in 2005, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, shamelessly campaigned for Mr. Obasanjo’s life presidency agenda.

He said upon the foundation of corruption of student unionism laid by the former president, NANS had become weak and factionalised in subsequent administrations.

“In essence, Obasanjo killed student unionism in Nigeria. As a military Head of State, he killed NUNS by brutal repression and proscription. When Obasanjo returned as civilian president, he killed NANS and made it a shadow of itself, doing so this time by corrupting the body,” Mr. Bakare said.

He called on the student body to embark on journey of rebirth to return to the good old days of student activism.

“Then you must rid yourselves of cultism and other self-destructive tendencies and take back student unionism from hoodlums and charlatans,” Mr. Bakare said.

“You must restore student unionism to its glory days. After undergoing such rebirth, the student union must become a shining light to the dark polity.”


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  • Wale

    “Ali must go” students protest of 1978 happened thirty six years ago.
    Over ninety percent of today’s students were not even conceived yet,
    as at that time, their parents were teenagers in secondary school,
    If pastor Bakare’s car get flat tire for house; Na Obasanjo cause am
    if Pastor Bakare’s cook burn im rice for Kitchen; Its Obasanjo’s fault.
    Get a life dude and move on.

    • True Nigerian

      Well, I didn’t read from the article that Tunde blamed Obasanjo for his own flat tire or burnt rice.
      And the NANS members that openly campaigned for Obasanjo’s 3rd term were also teenagers or toddlers and therefore didn’t know or see how he was ruining the country and riding a rough shod on almost the entire legal order of this country? Or is it that they were – even as tertiary students – too uneducate and too illiterate to comprehend what a responsible leadership should be in a 21st centrury world?

      I’m not sure Tunde is the one who should get a life. It seems you’re the one who should get a life with some nuanced perspective.

      • Wale

        I have a life man, the type of life you probably hope to attain some day.
        You’ll never see or hear me complain about incidents that happened almost four decades ago, I would rather focus my energy on today’s occurrences and what might have an effect on mine and your children tomorrow.
        We cannot always agree on things that crosses our path, that’s the reasons why I’m a Cardiologist today and you’re probably NOT.

  • Musa

    Not only that, Obasanjo allowed Sharia to be implemented under his Presidency and so, boko haram is now enforcing Sharia on Nigeria.

    • Maria

      In addition, the same OBJ imposed this clueless man on Nigerians. He orchestrated the rigging of the elections that brought incompetent GEJ to power.

  • Sharia_Haram

    The same OBJ is seen as savior/messiah by Tinubu and APC Jihadist party.

  • Adoki

    So you are telling us al this one now for us to do what with the information? I thought it was the same Obasanjo that you yourself told us barely two months ago that he sent el-Rufai to ask you to withdraw as running mate to General Buhari, and that you sheepishly obeyed him and went to Buhari with el-Rufai to inform him (Buhari) that you were not contesting again?:
    “The day before the final submission of names, former President Olusegun Obasanjo told el-Rufai that he was ready to support Buhari if he could drop me and replace me with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as his running mate. El-Rufai ran to me, that this was what Obasanjo said. We went straight to Buhari and I said to him that breakthrough had come. I told him I had not filled the form and that there were five reasons why he must take Okonjo-Iweala. (Isaid to Buhari): This is the form, I have not filled it”. (See Bakare’s interview, Punch newspaper, September 6, 2014).

  • favourtalk

    I’m always in support of the truth. I pray some of you wake up to reality and see truly who tunder bakare is, we need a proper insight to some the events that went wrong in the past which some of you guys didn’t know about before you made any judgement. Tunde bakare is a man of integrity and uprightness. He said the truth and today we can’t find NANs anywhere near fighting for the masses. We need a total overhaul of nigeria system, we need a change

    • Maria

      If his truth is against Jonathan tomorrow… then you rain abuses on him.

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  • Abi

    The only sense in this article would be that it is probably a sponsored article by those wishing to diminish Ben Bruce’s profile any way they can. A whole load of rubbish, from @nonsense#.

    • hyperbole123

      lol you ‘wucked’ o

  • Lilian

    We need to take a holistic view on this issue. Producing local affects more than just consumption. It has a multiplier effect as it creates jobs thereby reducing the ‘62%’ poverty rate and ultimately increases consumption. We may not be at ‘your’ desirable level but let’s start and we’ll get there in the medium term. Waiting until we can compete globally is a joke. Let’s start small, improve on our processes/costs then go global. That’s what I think anyways

    • tomi

      I agree with you

  • David

    The article is right on point. In the era of increasing integration of markets, you isolate at your own peril. In addition to fixing Infrastructure, power, security, and red tape; one thing we need even more is imagination – leaders with more imagination. Calling for restriction on imports as solution for protecting an “overvalued naira” is very simplistic and half baked.

    Buying local and importation are not competing needs; neither are they mutually exclusive. In fact, local productive capacity almost always benefit from foreign competition. The key is to strike the right balance. There is no denying the obvious needs (from job creation to national security) to support local industries and help build up local productive base. But doing so at the expense of efficiency will kill innovation and only further the deterioration of the industrial base of the country. There are better solutions. One solution is to place a targeted non- prohibitive tax on certain imports and use the proceeds to support local productive capacity in the form of investment in research and development, STEM education, vocational/job trainings, and targeted subsidies to local industries. The subsidies must be phased out overtime; otherwise an unproductive dependency will be created.

    Subsidies, when implemented properly can be a force for good. With help from massive government subsidies, the Chinese’s steel industry developed into the world biggest steel exporter and spurred rapid modernization of Chinese economy, construction, infrastructure, manufacturing; and suddenly transformed china from a net steel importer to a net steel exporter. Even today, national subsidies to oil, gas and coal producers amount to $20.5 billion annually in the U.S., not to mention the enormous subsidies to the new and growing renewable energy sector. The auto industry is no different – the US government and many other governments almost exclusively buy only local brands for their vehicle fleets. So subsidies are good when well thought out and properly implemented, and could be used to develop strategic industries and technology. This is why the government should support and buy local manufacturers like Innoson motors. With increase sales and revenues, local manufacturer would be able to invest in innovation and product improvement. Remember how Taiwan (China) used to be synonymous with bad quality products, not anymore.

    Now let’s bring it home. What has the Nigerian government(Federal, State and Local) done to help the Aba shoes makers transform from decades old rudimentary and inefficient shoe making processes to a more efficient mass market manufacturing process? There is no shortage of people who know how to make shoes or are interested in making shoes. What these people lack is the capital to invest in technologies and processes that will put their shoes on the same footing as any shoes made in Italy. This is where an imaginative government comes in. With some targeted investment and subsidies, Nigeria could easily go from a major importer of shoes, to a major exporter of high quality shoes.

    What about cocoa and cocoa derivatives? The global chocolate market annual sales estimated to be $98.3 billion in 2016. Nigeria has one of the most conducive climates to grow cocoa and can easily capture more of this market. With smart investment and targeted subsidies, Nigeria could not only easily grow more cocoa but could also produce and export more chocolates. This is not hard to do – it is not rocket science!

    Our brothers in the North can benefit from smart government investment and subsidies in production of Hide and Leather products. Global demand for Leather goods industry has continues to grow. Leather goods industry revenue is forecasted to reach $91.2 billion by 2018. I bet Nigeria and naira can benefit from capturing more of this market. Again this not rocket science. Our people already know how to make leather, all they lack is the technology and processes to produce mass market leather with global quality standard. Noticed how none these industries is new to our people and how with targeted little investment, they can easily employ large number of the unemployed.

    Oh, let’s not forget palm oil – the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, used in almost every packaged product sold in the supermarket from instant noodles to multivitamins. Again our people already knows how to make soap and lotions from palm oil, but why can’t we improve on that and compete globally. Like most people, you probably know that once upon a time, Nigeria was the leading exporter of palm oil. Today Indonesia and Malaysia supply about 86% of the world’s palm oil, raking in $51 billion in 2014. (Hah, what was Nigeria 2016 budget again?).Do you know what Nigeria’s share of the global palm oil supply was? Wait for it, 1.7 %( less than 2%). We use to be number 1. So what happened? With the increasing growth of renewable energy and electric car, reliance on crude oil revenue is not sustainable.

    Today Palm oil Futures(the unit price at which Palm oil is sold in the international market) is $645/MT for Palm Oil(Crude) and $1,025/MT for Palm Kernel Oil (Crude). Moreover, Global Palm Oil market fueled by increasing demand for bio-diesel (yes, palm oil is used to make diesel) is projected to reach $88 billion by 2022. What are we doing to capture more of this market? Again this not rocket science, something our people already knows how to do. Nigeria has one of the best climates for growing palm trees. All that is really needed is targeted investment and subsidies for thing like: better seed varieties, modernization of the farming and cropping system, and integrated refinery and improved processing technology. Not rocket science.

    Imagine for one moment that Nigeria can maybe; just maybe make the required investment in the above sectors. These industries are not in any form foreign to our people – we already make shoes, we already grow cocoa and make chocolate, we already raise cattle and make leather, and we already grow palm trees and make palm oil. Imagine the number of jobs that will be created. Imagine again how much foreign exchange that will be earned through export. Imagine a diversified economy and the multiplier effects. This is just for a start. Can you see what I see? A society will go as far as the imagination of its leaders.

  • scimitar

    Nafcon fitted your model , but the Nigerian disease corruption killed it. Onne plant should have been replicated 20 times Thanks for another point of view

  • tomi

    Avoid giving people the wrong message.
    I would say your opinion about exporting is quite right but it is not in anyway been affected by buying Nigerian.
    How do we export Nigerian made products when we Nigerians don’t even buy them.
    If love yourself, no one will love you.
    Charity they say begins at home.
    It will only be bad if Nigerian products are restricted to Nigerians market. Encouraging Nigerians to buy their own product is not dangerous at all.

  • tomi

    If you don’t love yourself*