The result of screening of honourable members of the Students Parliamentary Council (SPC) of the Lagos State University Students Union (LASUSU) has once again become a subject of controversy. This time around, a huge number of candidates for seats in the SPC were screened out. These include a number of our members like comrades YNA Omomeewa, Dhikrullah Aasim (Bintinlaye) and a whole lot of known radical and progressive student activists. Like previous years, no one knows the criteria used, no one knows how the screening is done and what factors are considered before approving or disqualifying an applicant.
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) Lagos State University (LASU) hereby rejects the disqualification of the candidates. The candidates as well as the mass of students have a right to know the reasons for the disqualification. We therefore challenge the Independent Electoral Committee (IEC) to publish the criteria it used for the screening. This is the least the IEC must do if the mass of students are to continue to retain any confidence in the on-going electioneering process of the Students Union.
So far the electioneering process has been fraught with irregularity which has cast a shadow over the credibility of its outcome. Of particular importance is the undue interference of the management in the affairs and conducts of the elections. This only goes to show that LASUSU remains tied to the apron string of the management. To build an independent and virile LASUSU, a vibrant SPC is required. But this cannot be achieved going by the highly opaque and undemocratic manner honourables of the SPC are selected.
On several occasions, we in the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) had condemned the process for the election of SPC members as shady, undemocratic, fraudulent and not in consonance with the democratic ideals of a Students union. Instead of elections, members of the SPC are selected through a shady screening process. We had also condemned similar undemocratic practices in the union and had always canvassed that it is about time to amend the LASUSU constitution in order to make the union more independent and democratic. This shady process of SPC elections replaces the right of all matriculated members of the union to elect their representatives and places this responsibility in the hands of a cabal of godfathers and kingmakers.
The outcome of this year’s screening process has again confirmed the correctness of our position which is that the SPC screening process is patently fraudulent undemocratic. Otherwise how can the IEC or anyone explain the disqualification of applicants who are so active in students’ union activities and equally popular on campus that if they should even contest for any office in the SEC some of them would garner hundreds if not thousands of votes?
We hereby urge all LASUITES to rise up and reject this fraudulent process. We must all demand that members of the SPC be elected by popular votes the same way parliaments are elected in many students unions across the country. Without insisting on this, the choice of who become our representatives at the SPC will continue to be decided by the cabal.
The question we must ask is if members of the SEC are democratically elected, then why are the honourables who are to make laws and checkmate the union not democratically elected? Also, if democracy is a system popular representation (Majority), it is only logical that students’ representatives at either SPC or SEC must be elected by popular vote.
Students must understand that the undemocratic process of electing honourables into the LASUSU SPC is a major factor affecting the efficiency and effectiveness of students’ representative. It's only when the mandate to represent is giving by students then we can have quality representation to check balance the union.
Therefore students should not sit back and watch. It is to this end that ERC draws the conclusion that the screening results is far from being credible and obviously it is incapable of representing the genuine interest of students on campus and therefore it must be rejected.
Our Demands are:
- The IEC with immediate effect and in the interest of the entire students and the union as a whole to reconsider the qualification of those disqualified.
2. The IEC in further discharge of her duties should put first the interest of the union above all other interest.
(3) A halt to the shady process for election of SPC members. Henceforth, all SPC members to be elected through direct vote by all valid members of their constituencies.
(4) An independent, mass based and democratic LASUSU free of management interference and capable of defending the rights of the mass of students
We therefore hope the IEC considers these genuine demands in the interest of students at large. We like to reiterate our commitment to a responsible union which serves the interest of her members.
Dhikrullah Aasim (Bintinlaye)
ERC LASU BRANCH