Happy International Students’ Day By Akorede Shakir Lom
By a way of concise introduction, the 17th of November is the International Students’ Day, an international observance of students’ activism. The date commemorates the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague after demonstrations against the killing of Jan Opletal and the occupation of Czechoslovakia, and the execution of nine student leaders, over 1200 students sent to concentration camps, and the closing of all Czech universities and colleges.
This celebration has successfully emerged as an international event, an intellectual and civic forum that celebrates the dogged patriotism of the past heroes. It was firstly marked in 1941 in London by the International Students’ Council (which had many refugee members) in accord with the Allies, and the tradition has been kept up by successive International Union of Students, which has been pressing with National Unions of Students in Europe and other groups to make the day an official United Nations observance.
The Athens Polytechnic uprising against the Greek military junta of 1973 came to a climax on November 17, with a violent crackdown and a tank crushing the gates of the university. The Day of the Greek Students is today among the official student holidays in Greece. The 1989 Prague demonstrations for International Students Day helped spark the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day is today marked.
In a bid to sustaining a global legacy of prospective and progressive student unionism, a student activism that stands for real justice, equity and emancipation from all forms of oppression, the leadership of NANS KWARA, under the dexterous chairmanship of Comr. Akorede Shakir, in the year 2012 deemed it fit to observe this international day of students. Indeed, the celebration in Kwara State was the first of its kind in the history of student unionism in Nigeria.
For a meaningful fraternization, similar occasions like this are very pertinent in converging reasonable student leaders, uniting all arms of student unionism and addressing germane issues that are confronting the whole student race.
It is so sad to be expressed that student leaders, at times, are the major contributors to some of the myriad problems in our nation as a whole. – from diverse ramifications.
Rather, we must be stimulated by this event to become mechanisms of change and progress, on this occasion today, we must restore the real spirit of proactive unionism. To achieve this, students must rise upright once again, reflect on the prolific records of the fore fathers, and occupy their right places at the right time and in the right sense.
I want to sincerely appreciate the incumbent leadership of NANS KWARA ably chairmaned by Comr. Ibrahim Abdur- Rasaq (JEJE) for sustaining this legacy and holding courageously to our egalitarian culture. I wish this event would become a permanent and concurrent programme in the history of student unionism in Kwara, perhaps other states will wake up one day and emulate our commendable step.
Finally, in the voice of the past leaders that have ruled Nigerian students in Kwara State at one time or the other I bring a solidarity greeting to all fellows and brothers in the struggle worldwide.
Happy International Students’ Day.
Comr. Akorede Shakir Lom
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