Over the last four decades, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has been a major and strategic voice in the Nigerian history of struggles for genuine political freedom, economic emancipation, good governance, observance of fundamental human rights, as well as clamor for honour and respect from international community.
Their most historic moment came during the military regime of Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, when Segun Okeowo led Nigerian students into the streets to demand for the resignation of the then Education Minister, Colonel Ahmadu Ali, who was tagged a misfit in that ministry, on account of his implementation of draconian policies subjecting students to pains, agonies and tribulations.
Though Ahmadu Ali escaped, the shutting down of the entire nation for weeks then sent frightening signals to the government that the worst could have happened, if the government had continued to refuse to acknowledge that NANS was a major stakeholder in the running of the nation affairs.
It’s in the same light that we situate the present NANS’ ultimate mandate to the South African government to relocate their businesses from Nigeria, with a clear warning that failure to do so would result in those business going up in flames, on account of that country’s unabated xenophobic actions on the citizens of Nigeria there and general hostility on to the Nigerian nation.
The world recalls that close to 130 Nigerians have lost their lives through this heinous crime. Ironically, if there is any nation that should be eternally grateful and totally committed to the Nigerian cause, it’s obviously South Africa and its neighbors- Namibia, Zimbabwe, etc. Recall that on these nation’s roads to Independence, Nigeria then had no other foreign policy she professed other than “African remains the Centre Piece of her Policy” with South Africa’s emancipation as the main focus.
moves and shuttles by Nigerian government and its officials to ensuring solutions have been rebuffed to date. There is no gainsaying the fact that the South African government and her people detest and have profound hatred for anything Nigeria and her people, for no other reason other than inferiority complex. Therefore, if diplomacy has failed in its entirety, why must we halt the patriotic zeal of NANS to explore other possibilities?
If shutting down completely South Africa’s business interests in Nigeria would produce solution, why not? DS and Shoprite are two of South Africa’s business concerns in Nigeria that have obviously struck goldmines. The Nigerian government provide is an enabling environment for them to flourish and blossom, despite the fact that DS in particular has been over the years, been deployed as an instrument of exploitation and naked extortion on the Nigerian people, as the services rendered are never commensurate with the astronomical rate being charged. In fact, Nigeria remains the only country across the world where DS achieves its yearly super profit.
There comes a defining moment when a people desirous of liberation from oppression and frustration must embrace change. May be that turning point has come when Nigeria people must start looking beyond ephemeral and short-term comfort and entertainment offered by DS and Shoprite. The Nigerian business community must seize this momentum by bracing up to that future that would have zero presence of South Africa business interests in Nigeria.
It’s incumbent on us as a people to rise in unison and call the bluff of South Africa government and her people.