By EricJames Ochigbo
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Friday disrupted the second anniversary celebration of the 8th National Assembly at the assembly complex in Abuja.
The incident occurred at the House of Representatives version of the celebration when the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, introduced Mr Harruna Kadiri as President of NANS.
Instantly, members of the association, in a loud chorus, rejected the recognition of Kadiri as their president, and insisted that it should be withdrawn.
They continued the chorus of “no, no, no, Kadiri is not the president of NANS, he is not our president’’ and stalled proceedings in the celebration.
It took some effort of security operatives at the event to get the students out of the chambers for the celebrations to continue.
Speaking immediately to journalists on behalf of the protesting students, Mr Chinoso Obasi said that he was the substantive president of the association.
He displayed a letter of invitation to the event addressed to him as NANS president.
Obasi recalled that at the house’s invitation, he participated as NANS president in a public hearing recently conducted by the Committee on Tertiary Education and Services “to defend a bill that has to do with Nigerian students’’.
“Today, I am here on invitation, not on my own, to attend this celebration and I am being embarrassed with another fellow being recognised in my place.’’
He accused a member of the lower house, Rep. Heman Hembe, who he said was a member of NANS, as being responsible for the development.
“A Sergeant-at-Arms Officer had approached me and asked for my name and I gave my complimentary card.
“To my greatest surprise, when the speaker was about to recognise my presence, Hembe went to meet him and the speaker recognised Kadiri instead,’’ he said.
Obasi disclosed that Kadiri lost in the association’s election held in 2016.
He decried the incident, saying “at a time when democracy is being preached, it is saddening to see the House of Representatives undermining the process.
“We are not a political party; we are not an arm of government. We are only a pressure group, so, why the attempt to impose somebody on us who is not representing us?” he said.
Obasi said NANS would pass a “vote-of-no-confidence in the speaker’’.
In a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Hembe questioned the media for bothering itself about the incident.
Hembe said he wondered why the media preferred controversial issues to other burning issues in the country.
“Is the NANS issue news worthy? You media people, why do you like controversy so much?
“Of all that happened today at the anniversary celebrations, of all the speeches, is this the only thing you saw to write?
“You can write whatever you want,” he said.