After three years’ ban on students’ politics at Njala University, the ban has finally been lifted and students’ politics has once again come to life.
The ban lifting started with the conducting of elections for the chief electoral commissioner in which Patrick M Koroma had a landslide victory, and from hence he is responsible for conducting elections for the students’ union presidency.
But this year’s election is not based on fraternities any longer, rather a grade point of 3.8 out of an all round 5 points qualifies an aspirant.
And Wednesday was the manifesto day at which two candidates from the Department of Language Education presented their manifestoes.
Mohamed Kabbah, who has been heading the union’s interim government stated at the occasion that the process was opening a contest that was stopped by erstwhile President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah due to the involvement of students in occultism at the universities in the country.
The chief electoral commissioner, who was the chair of the occasion, assured both contestants and the entire students’ body that, “this election is going to be free from violence…there is not going to be any form of ‘me-manism’ in this election.”
John P Stevens, a third year BA Linguistics student with a grade point of 4.20 and who is one of the contestants, averred that, “this moment is very crucial in this noble university.” Crucial in the sense that, he intoned, once again students’ politics on campus was waking up after a long slumber; having been banned as the fraternities created divisions and violence within the student body on the various campuses.
He went on to say that the main aim of his manifesto was “to weld this fragmented union together.”
His manifesto touched on almost everything bordering on students at the university, from transportation, poor health and sanitary, the Sierra Leone government Grant-in-Aid, the Students’ Representative Council to student-student and student-lecturer relationship.
He also stressed on bridging the gap between the Certificate students and undergraduate students.
Sylvanus Kaimbaima, a third year BA Literature student with grade point 3.80 and who is the second contestant, in the opening of his manifesto speech declared that, “we are gathered here this afternoon to decide on a decision, a decision that is crucial to our development as a university.”
In furtherance, he confirmed that his manifesto was touching purely “on issues fighting us, issues pulling us, issues pushing us.”
These issues, he outlined, were “tribalism, regionalism and sectionalism” that had characterized the process ever since the ban was lifted.
The deputy chief commissioner, Hassan Massaquoi in his vote of thanks, guaranteed all that no matter what intimidation that might characterize the elections it was going to be conducted to the best of the administration’s and students’ satisfaction.
However, the whole process ended successfully but with a fraction of students making sarcastic comments against the commissioner.