Retrace Your Steps, Abba Moro Urges Student Bodies
The Immediate past Minister of Interior, Comrade Patrick Abba Moro, has advised student bodies in the country to retrace their steps and go back to the fundamental essence of student unionism.
Moro gave the advice when he received members of the Student Union Government (SUG) of University of Benin (UNIBEN), who were in his office in Abuja to honour him with an award of excellence, for his valuable contributions to nation building and human capital development.
Lamenting the derailment of student unionism in Nigeria, Moro, who was a student unionist in his days at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, told the students the story of the famous “Ali Must Go” protests of 1978.
According to him, the “Ali Must go” crisis which has gone down in history as the most earth-shattering demonstration ever staged by Nigerian students, reflected the spirit of oneness that existed among student bodies at that time, as against what obtains now where they are usually divided along the line of support for one government or the other.
His words: “I just reminded them of the need to retrace their steps and go back to the basis because in those years as a student unionist we believed that we were the conscience of the society. We believed that we represented the aspiration of the people. We believed that we represented the vanguard against injustice, oppression and all manner of unfair treatment of human beings by government.
And today I found it nauseating that Student Union Governments have started taken sides with government and are being polarized along the line of support for one party or the other or one government or the other. And so, my admonition to the Student Union Government of UNIBEN and indeed all other Student Union Governments in the country is for them to retrace their steps and get back to basis, because without a vibrant vanguard against injustice and unfair treatment, anarchy and total confusion will be the order of the day and that will not be good for this country.
And so, I believe that as students who ordinarily represent the generation that will take over from the current generation, the foundation that is being laid today for tomorrow should be paramount in their minds. That means that they must ensure that a proper foundation is laid for the future. Otherwise they are going to inherit a foundation that is built on faulty foundation and they would not be able to achieve anything.”
The ex-Minister expressed joy over the recognition given him by the student body, saying, “I feel pretty excited about the honour. I am happy and grateful to them and God that they still recognize my modest contribution to the society even when I have left office. Ordinarily when it is a moment for people to unnecessarily vilify people who had made their modest contributions, the Student Union Government of the University of Benin has deemed it appropriate to give me this award in recognition of my contribution. I thank them sincerely and I’m grateful to God. And as I used to say I will continue to dedicate whatever award or recognition I get from people to God and allow it to serve as an impetus for me to continue to contribute to the upliftment of the society.”
Speaking on what informed the award, the leader of the students’ delegation and President of UNIBEN SUG, Lauretta Obakpolor, said: “Mr. Patrick Abba Moro is a great man. He has done a lot for the youths in our society, nation building and human capital development. So, we have enough reasons to give him this award. We are inspired by his kindheartedness, humility and ability to stand up for what he believes in.”
On his part, Speaker of the UNIBEN student union, Moses Laurel also said: “Comrade Mr. Abba Patrick Moro is a leader. He is even more than a leader. He is a father to us. He has done so much for this country. Even when he was the Minister of Interior, we know what he did in the Federal Ministry of Interior and that cannot go unnoticed. So, we decided to identify with him and also appreciate him for the little things he did that counts in the country. He is part of us entirely because as a student and lecturer he was deeply and actively involved in unionism and activism. So, we are happy today to recognize him and also to familiarize ourselves with him and share from his experience. That is why we came all the way from Benin to Abuja to pay him a visit and also to present him with an award of excellence.”
Also recently, Moro was conferred with the “Rotary Prestigious Humanitarian Award” in appreciation of his immense contributions to humanity by the Rotary Club of Lugbe, District 9125, Abuja.