Mr Lamine Sow, Education Specialist, United Nations Education Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) regional Office Abuja, says effective student leadership is relevant for building a peaceful, and inclusive society that will provide equal access to good governance.
He stated this in Nsukka on Thursday during a 2-day workshop organised by UNESCO in partnership with the University of Nigeria Nsukka for Students Union Governments (SUGs) and the Department of Students Affairs in Federal Universities in the country.
The theme of the workshop was titled “Reinforcing the capacities of student union leaders and students affairs units to revitalise movement in Nigeria universities for good governance’.
Sow who was represented by the Head of Sector, Social and Human Sciences UNESCO Abuja office., said the objective of the workshop was to identify the challenges of student unionism in Nigeria and determine the strategies for enhancing the internal capacity of students’ affairs unit for effective student leadership.
“This would help to support transformational and ethical leadership for good governance in Nigeria.
It’s worrisome that most students union leaders in Nigeria have been unduly influenced by the prevalent negative values in society.
“Most student leaders lacked a well-articulated strategy for their tasks. Some don’t even understand the terms of reference guiding the office they occupy because they are sponsored by interest groups within and outside the institutions, he said.
He urged student leaders in the country to leverage on the capacity workshop to improve on their capacities as leaders in order to engage students, school authorities and government in dialogue without any form of violence.
“UNESCO will continue to pursue its mandate in search for a more just and peaceful world on your behalf as student leaders.
“I urge all participants to pay good attention to various topics packaged for this training so that at the end maximum learning will be achieved for better student unionism in the country,” he said.
The education specialist commended Dr Christian Ezeibe, the Associate Dean of Students Affairs Department, UNN, the facilitator of the workshop, for his efforts and commitment in putting all arrangements together to ensure the success of the workshop.
In his address, Prof Charles Igwe the Vice-Chancellor of UNN said that the workshop had presented an opportunity to educate students union leaders on how to effectively engage university managements, policymakers and governments without resorting to violence or losing their voices.
He said “it is my expectation that at the end of this workshop participants will be able to specifically identify the role of students in addressing societal challenges and consolidating peace in Nigeria.
“I congratulate the programme facilitator (Ezeibe) for ensuring that all participants from different parts of the country attended the workshop,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Ezeibe (the facilitator) expressed special appreciation to UNESCO and UNN for the workshop which he said would go a long way to educate SUGs in the country on effective leadership as well as the need to use dialogue in seeking their demands.