Controversy is currently brewing ahead of its national convention of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, scheduled to hold on Sunday at the Old Parade Ground, Abuja.
Many of the aspirants eyeing the president’s seat and other offices are allegedly unqualified as they failed to meet constitutional requirements and election guidelines.
DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that one of the presidential aspirants is alleged to have graduated 10 years ago.
A source who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity said pressure from some powerful forces outside the association and dubious characters in the registry of some institutions compounded the matter.
The source also told this newspaper that some of the earlier disqualified aspirants allegedly forged documents and paid bribes to have their way.
According to the guidelines published by the convention planning committee, an aspirant must be:
“Any full-time student of a higher institution of learning in Nigeria, who is not in his first year of his admission.
“A full-time student is one who is enrolled in a full-time program in order to fulfill a requirement for the award of a National Certificate for Education, NCE, National or Higher National Diploma, Bachelors, or postgraduate programs.
“Only students with a track record of verifiable experience shall be eligible to contest for the office of president and senate president.
“To be eligible for an executive position in NANS, any postgraduate student must have completed at least one academic semester and provide proof of completion.”
DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that the Convention Planning Committee, CPC, had made a thorough screening and decided to disqualify some aspirants, but the committee leadership became compromised.
Although documents sent by some of the universities to the CPC have clearly indicated that some of the candidates were not qualified to contest, some powerful forces cleared them.
One of the candidates, Umar Faruk, from Bayero University, has clearly stated in a written letter sent to the CPC that he is a fresh student. According to the constitution of NANS, fresh students are ineligible to contest.
Another candidate, Usman Umar, who is a fresh postgraduate student at Federal University Dutse, got admission in February, just a few days before the commencement of ASUU strike and has neither been registered as a student nor attended any lectures.
According to insiders, Uwaisu Ibrahim of Kano State University of Technology, KUST, Wudil, said he is in Level 5, despite the fact that he graduated in 2021 and had posted his graduation pictures on his Facebook page in 2021.
Another candidate, Yusuf Lawan, is a part-time student, which makes him constitutionally ineligible.
Usman Baba Kankia, a fresh student who allegedly forged the results of the ABU Zaria Computer Science Department and presented them as a Level 3 student, claimed his HOD and chief security had verified the result.
Some other aspirants who were initially disqualified are Sulaimon Adamu Sodiq, who failed to attach supporting documents to confirm his student status at FCE, Kano; and three vice presidential candidates Chinelo Okolie, Okon Jacob and Akinteye Baba Tunde.
When contacted by our correspondent, the outgoing National President of the Association, Sunday Asefon, said even though the screening has the sole responsibility of the convention planning, he’s aware of some reported cases of forgery and other “unholy practices” by some of the aspirants.
He, however, said the State Security Service, SSS, was carried along in the verification process and it’s expected to release the final list before the election commences.
“I can’t tell you authoritatively whether some people have been cleared after initial disqualification because I am not a member of the Convention Planning Committee, CPC.
“The only thing I am aware of is that after the CPC screened the aspirants, they handed over the list to the DSS for their own screening and verification, which they have done. We are expecting them to release the list before the election.
“It’s quite unfortunate the kind of things we saw during this process. Students are forging their school letterheads and writing fake letters just to contest an election. It’s very sad,” he lamented.
The chairman of the screening committee, Lukman Adeyemi, however said some of the aspirants had defended the allegations against them.
He however said the committee is awaiting the final report from the security agencies.