The National Association of Akwa Ibom State Students (NAAKISS) has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 election.
The group made known its endorsement of Buhari during an event on Saturday in Uyo to mark the International Students’ Day.
The group, which praised Buhari for his administration’s anti-corruption fight and the “reformation agenda”, also endorsed Nsima Ekere, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom.
The president of NAAKISS at the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osurua, Chapter, Daramfon Odiong, moved a motion for the endorsement of Buhari as “our candidate”, while the president of the University of Uyo (Uniuyo) chapter of the association, Ime Hanson, moved a motion for the endorsement of Ekere.
NAAKISS has been having a running battle with the state government over the non-payment of bursary to students of Akwa Ibom origin studying in tertiary institutions across the country.
The student body in November last year organised a peaceful protest in Uyo against the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, for allegedly “refusing to show interest in their welfare.”
During the last Saturday event, Odiong said Emmanuel’s administration has made “little or no impact” on education, despite the “huge” money the state government receives monthly from the federation account.
He said apart from the bursary, the students from the state were no longer getting scholarships and grants from the state government.
“We the entire students of Akwa Ibom State origin choose to use this medium to ask these questions: How much is bursary? How much is Christmas carol (which is organised annually by the state government)?
“How much is the cost of political rallies?
“We have been ignored but our voices must be heard,” said Odiong, as the large crowd of students who gathered at the private event centre in the city for the ceremony cheered on – clapping and shouting.
President Buhari’s aide, Ita Enang, and Ekere’s running mate, Amadu Atai, were among the dignitaries present at the event.
After the event, the president of NAAKISS, Uniuyo chapter, Hanson, told newsmen the last time students in the state received bursary, grants, and scholarships from the state government was in 2014 when Godswill Akpabio was governor.
“Since Governor Udom Emmanuel came into office, law students and medical students have not received the grants they used to get from the state government,” he said.
The student leader said they have confidence in Ekere’s ability to take care of students’ welfare if he is elected governor in the forthcoming election.