Students pledge support for Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu in Lagos

 Students pledge support for Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu in Lagos

Friday, February 17, 2023 12:45 am

L-R Mr Fuad Atanda-Lawal, Prof Bidemi Bilikis Lafiaji-Okunneye, Dr Adeola Oloyede

                                                       By Nehru Odeh

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Governor, Babajide Sanwo- Olu of Lagos State command not just a huge following in Lagos and beyond but are dearly loved by the people.

This was proved on Tuesday 14 February when students from across the 10 higher instructions in Lagos State, including their union leaders, converged on MUSON Centre to show solidarity to the two leaders and pledge their support as the forthcoming general elections draw near.

Organized by the BAT/BOS Independent Campaign Council, the event held on Valentine Day because of its significance in order for students to express their love and appreciation to Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu for impacting their lives positively through people-oriented programmes.

It was indeed a full house.  The hall was not just filled to capacity, the atmosphere was electrifying and charged as students who came in large numbers sang solidarity songs in praise of the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress and the Lagos  State Governor.

Dignitaries present included:  Prof. Bidemi Bilikis Lafiaji-Okunneye; Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State College of Education; Mr Fuad Atnda- Lawal, Chairman, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA and Director, Students Mobilization Department, Independent Campaign Council;BAT/BOS 2003 Elections; Dr Adeola Oloyede, lecturer, Lagos State University and Deputy Director, Students Mobilization Department. Independent Campaign Council; BAT/BOS 2023 Elections; as well student Union leaders. Presidents of faculty and departmental associations from across all the higher institutions in Lagos State.

The audience

In a chat with newsmen, Oloyede said the event was organized on Valentine’s Day because of its significance. “Valentine Day is very significant and we are showing that apart from the fact that we love ourselves, we also love our political leaders. Because we can see what the likes of Babajide Sanwo-Olu has done in Lagos He has transformed Lagos beyond the ordinary. And it all emanated from the blueprint of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“We love them so much that we decided to pick up this day because we might not have this kind of event anymore. So, we decided to pick up this day to show our love for them and then further reinforce our decisions to prepare towards the forthcoming elections.

Oloyede also said the event was organized to sensitize and mobilize students to show unflinching support to Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu because of the way the two leaders have contributed to the development of education in the state.

“We know that the elections are around the corner. We have to determine and decide our future. Everyone counts. If we want our Lagos to continue to soar. If we want our Lagos to continue to skyrocket. If want our Lagos to continue to develop phenomenally more than other states, then we must always look at the perspective of the progressives.

“BOS no doubt has served Lagos State in his capacity of governor. And he is still serving Lagos State. And we know that he has not deviated from the good works laid down by his predecessors, the likes of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“And that is why we are saying that today we need those that understand the essence of education. When Bola Ahmed Tinubu was governor of Lagos State, Lagos State University, LASU, was never shut down for one day.  And these are people that know the essence of education.

“We knew others that were governors in some part of the country shut down their institutions for seven months. And now they are coming out today to tell us that they are going to bring innovations into higher institutions and the rest.  What did they do when they were governor then? They brought higher institutions to their knees in their states.

If you look at it, of course you will agree with me that of all governors in the country today, Babajide Sanwo-Olu is the best. A part from the fact that he upgraded all the institutions in Lagos State, he also gave them  not only basic amenities but quite a number of facilities that other  states could not do.

“Now it is not just about higher institutions alone. We know all the innovations and activities that he has brought to Lagos State.  And that is why we say to lead is to serve. The truth of the matter is that BOS is a leader.  And this is what we know.  And this is evidenced in all his works.

“We know what happened when he first ascended the post. Before we knew it we had Covid. And virtually all activities were brought down.  Covid held about one and a half to two years of our lives.  And he had nothing more than just two years to work in Lagos State. Now, look at what he did within two years.

“So, we need people who have genuine intentions for the Nigerian masses. And that is why we have to stand and face it toe to toe that this is what we want. We want the utmost transformation of the country. We want the utmost transformation of Lagos State.  And we are going to get it.”

Oloyede also tasked the students to walk the talk and made sure that their votes count. “Elections are around the corner. Most of you live on campus, some of you live off campus.  There are polling units on our campuses. All you need to do is mobilize concretely and then be armed with the good works of those you are supporting.

“That if ABC could do this. Then I can trust him with my votes. So, we know where to go from here.  We are going to walk the talk and I know we are going to walk it together.  That’s why we need to constantly engage ourselves.  I know we have been engaging ourselves before now. But we will continue to engage ourselves in a robust manner so that we continue to enliven the spirit and give ourselves appropriate direction.”

Asked how prepared the students are for the election, Oloyede, quoting Frantz Fanon, said: “Every generation must out of its relative obscurity discover its own mission, either to fulfil it or betray it,” adding that since the student have witnessed the past, are witnessing the present and are also looking forward to the future, it behoves them to make a very pronounced noise about their future come 25 February.

“From this turn-out, we actually targeted coordinators. These coordinators are presidents of colleges and faculties. So, if you look at the 10 higher institutions in Lagos, you have about 150 of them here. That is about 50 students from each higher institution in Lagos.

“So, this is a robust turn-out. It’s a high success and shows that they have a sense of direction and they know where they are going. These are youths. But then we can refer to them as adults too. Some are in their final years. Some in 300 level, some in 200 level and some in 500 level.

“And they actually know what they are doing. They have read about the past, they know about the present and they are looking forward to the future. And they have taken the future into their hands. I strongly believe that with the likes of BOS and BAT, the future is bright. The sky is the beginning for us all.”

Atanda-Lawal, who gave a job opportunity to a final year student at the event, also noted that since the youths are the future and the future is now, he enjoined them to be active participants in the political process as their involvement in politics goes a long way in ensuring a peaceful transition from student life to work life.

Atanda-Lawal debunked the assumption that students are mere tools in the hands of political actors who are only used during elections and dumped, citing the fact that he himself is a youth who became the chairman of Ikoyi/Obalende LCDA at 34.

“So, we are not using and dumping. Our directorate is a different one. This is a directorate for students’ mobilization. And we understand the importance of students. If we think we can use anybody and dump anybody, it is not going to work. Because four years is not so far away. In 2027 they would wait for you. We are saying now that we have a contract with them, that we must not just use them for elections. It is not possible. Nobody can be used for elections anymore.

“If you are good at winning elections that means you are good at doing jobs. If you are good at winning elections that means you are good at driving development. We are saying that our own directorate is still going to be checking up on our people, ensuring that they understand and they get the dividends of democracy. That’s what we have preached here today. We are not here to make empty promises,” Atanda-Lawal maintained.

The Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA Chairman was also full of praise for the Lagos State Governor. “And there is no gainsaying what our governor has done in Lagos State.  We can’t overemphasize it. When schools were on strike nationwide, students that were in higher institutions in Lagos were not on strike. They were fully functional.  And we are saying that our governor has done well.  And that we understand what he is going to come and do in his second tenure.”

Prof. Bidemi Bilikis Lafiaji-Okunneye, Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University of Education, who enjoys the massive support of her students, also charged the youths to be active participants in the forthcoming elections and support BAT and BOS, saying that it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that students go out to vote, adding that the era of playing football on the day of election is over because of the target expected to be reached in Lagos State, which is four million votes

“Let our charity begin at home. Let’s all go out to vote. The era of youths thinking that they are used and dumped is over This government has a lot of opportunities presented to the youths.  And they can only take this opportunity if they have their PVC and go out to vote so that they can also have a voice, they can add their voice, they can become stakeholders by asking for their own rights too. After all they have voted for the choice that everybody wants.

“If their voices are not heard, then we have a very bleak future.  If they have not been heard in the past, now is the time that they will be heard.Because there have been antecedents of this leadership. The leadership of Sanwo-Olu has been a very good listener of the youths.  He listens to the youths and he actually follows their dreams, to ensure that they achieve their dreams.

“For example, we were at Onikan some time ago and he gave donation of buses to the students. They are going to take the delivery of buses by tomorrow, I think. These are some of the programmes. He also slashed our own school fees. You know we are a new university. He slashed our school fees from N90, ooo plus to N68, 000. So, these are some of the policies that will help the youths to be educated and to have a future that is very bright.

The Vice Chancellor also assured the students that their efforts in making sure that Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu are elected President and Governor respectively will be greatly appreciated. “We won’t use and dump. We recognize whatever role you have played at whatever point and we compensate actions. Take my word for it. We compensate actions. It may not be a spontaneous thing. It may not be something that will come immediately. But you will surely reap what you have done well. That is just it. We are open to criticism. We are open to corrections, to modifications. But please approach us in a civil manner.

“We are also empathic. We are compassionate.  We know what youths are going through. And I do tell people that if Asiwaju becomes the president of this country I’m sure that we are going to look back and say is this the same Nigeria that we are coming from? We are going to say are you sure it is the same Nigeria? Because things are going to be better. That is my very strong belief,” she averred.

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