– An opinion-piece
Comrade Farouq Muhammad Ahmad was a student and emerged the best graduating student, class of 2019 (first class Hons) of the Department of Nursing Science, University of Maiduguri, he became the number one (001) among the students of the prestigious University of Maiduguri – becoming the President of the Students’ Union Government for 2018/2019 academic session, the most admired position in the SUG and the highest rank in student-politics.
There is an African saying that “You cannot learn a man without getting close to him”, but I dare to say NO in this case. Farouq became the SUG President at a time the Students’ Union Government was undergoing a tremendous revamp. Not to discredit the honest effort and immense contribution of all Administrations before 2014 and 2015, this refurbishment to the best of my knowledge began during the Administration of Faisal Bunu who was notable for his closeness to the students, he had his way around the students who appreciated the leader they had – a leader that is attentive to their concerns and this in no small measure contributed to the cooperation that the SUG enjoy among students even at present.
After Faisal Bunu came Abu Hanifa who made tremendous improvement on the Student-SUG relation and recorded landmark achievements before he handed over to Alamin Kanselem who took the SUG to an unprecedented height with remarkable achievements not forgetting the Student-SUG cordial relation which in fact was further bettered through many programs introduced by the Kanselem-led Administration among which are the Student-endowment Fund, Essay, Debate and Quiz Competition among others including the creation of the ‘SUG Press’ which was to serve as a media between the Students and the SUG, University of Maiduguri Students can attest to the efficacy of this Press, the tremendous work they did relating the problems students to the SUG and even the Students’ Affairs Division especially during the period of transfer from old to new University portal.
Kanselem handed an excellent and well regarded SUG to Farouq who was a high class performer that took up the mantle of leadership and capitalizing on the successes of his predecessors achieved enormously within the space of some months. Among Farouq’s landmark achievements were the reduction of transport around campus which he fought tooth and nail to achieve, lifting the ban on students from entering the University with their bags, construction of Overhead modern wait-points for students, and the crown of it all is the Ultra-modern SUG Shopping Complex – an achievement that surpasses all including other sundry feats that we all can see for ourselves.
Notwithstanding how successful a government may end, I think that one of the ways to judge also is about the ability the government to create sustainable policies on one hand and on the other hand its ability to sustain the ‘good’ policies of its predecessors – this is where the lesson lies and this is the bane of the Nigerian Politics. There are a lot of abandoned projects in this country and this we must all agree happens more often and more common that even the death of mosquitoes.
As a young vibrant leader, I had expected comrade Farouq and all other student-leaders to make a difference that even while we blame and condemn the old fashioned form of Politics played in our country in which there is no blueprint for governance, where everyone coming into office has his own policy and doesn’t give a damn about what their predecessors have started.
Despite all the achievements recorded by the Farouq Administration I still feel this urge that more should have been done in sustaining some of the wonderful prospects of their predecessors most important of which was the Student-Endowment fund which was launched by Kanselem giving hope to many indigent students but unfortunately no mention was made of it again and many students have been asking questions. Among others that were suffocated include the SUG Essay Competition and Debate which was started by Comrade Kanselem with the intention that it will be a yearly event. There are many other instances to cite but this piece was not meant to be satiric but didactic hence I pray it appeals to the understanding of all especially young leaders and the incumbent SUG Executive.
To this end however, it could be deduced that leadership for young people should begin to take a new shape and style, we can change the tide of the society by refusing to partake in leadership just to become famous rather to continue to build and the system of governance using the machinery of policy-based leadership, this leadership does not necessarily have to bear your name so long as it has been seen to be effective and people-oriented, then there is no point abandoning it.