The Student Union Government, (S.U.G), was established in order to fight for the interest of Nigeria students in all tertiary institutions in the country. They have in the past actively carryout protest against increment of tuition fees as well as other issues that border on students welfare in tertiary institutions.
In every session, political campaigns are being organised to elect an S.U.G President. This position gives the occupier of such position a first hand experience of what is like to run a government.
During the campaign trail they canvass for votes from the students and on election day a winner is declared after voting. Unfortunately just like our main stream politicians, the youth who occupy various positions under the S.U.G have little or nothing to benefit the students while they are in office. In fact, hardly any student in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions can tell what are their responsibilities to the students and the institutions.
They usually generate their revenue every semester from market taxes, motorcycle and car parking tickets, receipts for departmental, faculty and state of origin dues and at the end of the day, no announcement or disclosure is being made on how much they have made from all the aforementioned sources of revenue.
When they in office during their tenure, those in power of authority at the SUG level usually solicit or request for fund upon a written proposal to carryout mini projects within the school. When they are granted such funds to carryout school projects there is no transparency as to the kind of project they want to execute and the amount of money that will be used to implement such project. Because of the information gap, they have been looting such funds, using it to enrich themselves at the expense of contributing to the development of the school. All these makes students to think if the SUG is still relevant.
In the past, there have been reports of Student Union Government excos diverting funds for school projects to buy personal property. This sort of attitude does bode well for the youths who are clamouring to enter leadership positions at the national level, because it is what we see Nigerian politicians doing that some of the youths who find themselves in leadership positions at the school level are doing. Some people we tell you that if they find themselves holding public office they will loot as much they can in order for them to secure their future when they leave office. This kind of thinking among us the youth is very dangerous as it suggests that there will be no changes by the time we replace the older generation of leaders in Nigeria.
However, some SUG executives have been penalised in the past for misappropriation of school funds but that is not enough. Some more proactive measures needs to be adopted to curb this cycle of corruption.
Nigerian tertiary institutions need to closely monitor the accounts of the SUG and make it as a point of duty to mandate the SUG executives to give a monthly disclosure of its account as well as its spending and they should also let the students they are representing know what sort of projects they wish to carry in order for the students to assess how beneficial it will be to them.
Also the SUG should include students of the institutions in their decision making, this can be done as they will be represented by their class representatives, senators faculty presidents or their departmental presidents.
The Student Union Government should be an avenue where we the youths can show case how ready we are to take over leadership positions at the national level. Let’s make prove to ourselves that we are the change that we need and let’s prove our doubters wrong.