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AN OPEN LETTER TO KWARA STATE STUDENTS
#1
By: SALIHU AYATULLAHI

 Dear fellow students,

IT'S HIGH TIME WE CLAMOURED FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE, AND NOT BURSARY!

LET'S CALL OUR UNION LEADERS TO ORDER!

"We've seen over time that countries that have the best economic growth are those that have good governance, and good governance comes from freedom of communication. It comes from ending corruption. It comes from a populace that can go online and say, 'This politician is corrupt, this administrator, or this public official is corrupt." - Ramez Naam

Merely looking at the highlights of this letter, an ordinary reader would assumed the writer is moving against the run of play. It would actually seems comical and amusing for a fellow student to make such an opinion, at a time when the struggle for the bursary payment is on the hit. A conventional reader who hadn't subject the content of the letter to rational thinking would most likely found himself asking, "if this is not the right time, then when?","If not bursary,  then what? But as Edward Albee would say, “sometimes it is necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come a short distance correctly".

Over the years, the Kwara State Students under the aegis of National Association of Kwara State Students, have staged several protests demanding the payment of the annual bursary, which was last paid in 2011. We are incontrovertibly known with these popular demand that the then dreaded, ALUTA songs had become a ringtone in the abode of the oppressors. Any passerby who observed a group of students moving along the Ahmadu Bello way towards the government house wouldn't need not to ask what the protest is all about, and any stranger would save himself the task of asking who they are. Even when the Acronyms, NAKSS, is searched on the Google search engine, instead of a useful, ethical and beneficial information to pop-up, one would find oneself reading about the Union's latest protest. Over what? The Non payment of the bursary.

My fellow colleagues,  When the special adviser to the Kwara state government, Dr. Muhydeen Akorede, made it known in a statement he released in February that the state government budgeted a sum of '1 billion Naira' for Student bursary and scholarship, i found myself becloud in a thought of delibrations, Is bursary and scholarship next on the line? My fellow Kwara state student, even with the yearly inclusion of bursary and scholarship to the state budget submitted to the House of Assembly, when last was it implemented? Of what advantage is a sum of #4,500 to a student whose weekly budget is far above that amount? Who actually is benefiting from the bursary, the state government, the student Leaders or we, the students

When asked if bursary is actually the next on the line, the constant strikes embarked on by the staff of the state owned colleges of education, would evidently answer the question. Our lecturers went on industrial action over the non-payment of there salaries which saw to vicious official mass murder of these lowly, voiceless lecturers and also paralyzed our academic stability. But who would save these starving, defenseless lecturers from the double-dyed villainy of a rapacious, conscienceless, power-mongering cabal led by Bukola Saraki and his servile crony, Abdulfatai Ahmad? (I wouldn't be barking at the wrong tree by the mention of Saraki's name, he is for all practical purposes, the state’s de facto governor, and Abdulfatah Ahmed is merely his impotent, obsequious caretaker who must dutifully take orders from Saraki or risk losing his cushy surrogate governorship. This isn’t a flippant or ill-natured putdown of our governor, who seems like a nice person; it’s an uncomfortable truth known to all Kwarans). We, the students? I doubt this, for we are psychologically blind and running after a meagre sum of #4,500 at the expense of our future!

My fellow students, education facilities in most of our public-funded schools in Kwara State are in precarious condition. Most schools have not been renovated since they were established many years ago and are not adequately supported with facilities that will make education attainable. A situation which is gravely affecting us and our younger ones in the secondary and primary level to the extent that students from poor background are finding school unpleasant. A visit to some of the schools in the state would depicts how the state government left hundreds of classrooms in ruins in spite of the huge sums of monies budgeted for education annually. Yet we are not able to protest over this, but for #4,500, we are ready to face a battalion of armed security officers!

The State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed after he was sworn-in for a second term promised to overhaul 120 secondary schools across the state by building 1274 new classrooms and rehabilitating 2000 existing ones. A glanceful look at our schools today would portray that the governor was only making a lip service, as most of the primary and secondary school classrooms in the state are falling to pieces. No rehabilitation nor new ones to replace. Is it a sin to protest over this? Why for that meagre sum that can't even buy us handout, students at the Kwara state College of Health Technology, Offa can testify to this.

My dear colleagues, Most of our parents working at the local government level have forgotten the last time they were paid, yet they expect them to work, pay our school fees, buy us handout, pocket money and transport fare, with zero percent salary,do this people have conscience at all? My dear learning colleagues, why are we not protesting on this, but an annual stipend of #4,500. For God's sake, in this era of economic recession, what can we do with #4,500?

I intentionally didn't direct this letter to the student leaders for they are the one benefiting from this so-called bursary. It is worthy of notice that on every #5000 given to each student by the government, NAKSS (NHQ) would charge a sum of #300. Let's assume the government is paying 5,000 students. A sum of of 1,500,000 would be raked in by the NAKSS Executive with no meaningful project to Execute with. Not to talk of the #200 being charged by the local chapters, yet you expect them to initiate or support this struggle? Never! We should be the ones to stop going with them on unnecessary protest and call them to order!

Yes! Bursary may be our rights, but this is not the right time to ask for such right, when the basic rights are yet to be gotten right.

Let's tell the state government we are no longer interested in their #4,500... We need good governance, let  them pay our lecturers and parents, so that the incessant strikes would be put to an end, our schools need infrastructural development, we are tired of a state with potholes all over the street, other countries are having free Education, we are also entitled to it, stop making education expensive for us, you build KWASU with our money, why is the school fees that much, The Colleges of education, technology and polytechnics fees are not affordable...the government should operate on a free, fair and transparent policy.

SALIHU AYATULLAHI
NATIONAL D. SENATE CLERK,
ILORIN EMIRATE STUDENTS' UNION (NHQ).
08125284937
Salihuayatullahi@gmail.com
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