In what seems to be a shocking development to students in the tertiary institutions of Ondo state, Nigeria.
The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), ably led by the President, Comr. Bamidele Akpan have endorsed Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for a second stint in office, one year after having a face off with the Governor over tuition fees increment which is yet to be reduced.
The students of various tertiary institutions in the state had demonstrated their grievances at what they call an ‘unjust’ increment in their tuition fees by a three days protest in the state capital in May 2019, a protest which later took a violent turn with the state government having deployed the Police force to quash their demonstration.
During that period, the aggrieved students had the backing of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) body in their bid to make the Governor reverse the 200 percent tuition fees increment in their institutions.
In a video recording made during the tuition fee protest in 2019, NANS President, Comr. Bamidele Akpan was recorded in a confronting manner, saying to the Governor
And we have been talking to him diplomatically, only for him to talk with so much arrogance, as if he’s the president of the world, we cannot take that, Nigerian students will not take that.. And we are saying that His Excellency, that you have drawn the battle line, we will make sure that you understand what we are doing, we will remind him
But on Wednesday, 19th of August 2020, a year and three months after, and as preparations for the 2020 Governorship election in the state draws closer, with Gov. Akeredolu seeking reelection, NANS leadership during a visit to the Governor was reported to have said
“the national delegation of the student body has been in the state for three days for inspection and monitoring of the Akeredolu administration projects, the Governor has done creditably well.”
The NANS President described the road projects executed by the Akeredolu administration as quality, stressing that the Governor has embarked on enduring projects.
He is also reported to have appreciated Gov. Akeredolu for his interventions at the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa (OSUSTECH) which he said, has turned the school around for good.
Comr. Bamidele Akpan is said to have equally appealed to the Governor to reconsider the tuition payable in the state owned institutions in the state during his remarks. Recall that Africa News Plus had reported how Gov. Akeredolu might be strategizing on gaining the affections and supports of Ondo students ahead of the coming election, click here to read more
Akeredolu while responding, said students are important to his administration, and disclosed that he had instructed his team to find out the tuition payable in other state owned institution so as to know what step to take on the reduction of tuition in the state.
”Students are important to us. It will take all of us to sit down to have this discussion about tuition. It’s not a discussion of the deaf. All of us will be hearing. A time when you go to Abuja and take N9 Billion monthly as against when you go to Abuja now and get far less and you have to pay salary.
At my last meeting, I have said let me have where they are paying less than what we charge here. What we found out was that for those newly admitted, we still charge the lowest in tuition but for the second year and all, we have state owned institutions that charge lesser then us. And if not for this issue of Covid, we have decided to reduce it. We will reduce it.
“It’s not a matter for political gains. I know by the time we announce it they will turn it to political gains. We will make sure that by next week we make the announcement on the fee.” He added.