•How price giving day metamorphosed into political campaign
Ungwar Mallam Hamza community in Akurba, is a suburb of Lafia Local Government Area few miles away from the capital of Nasarawa state whose inhabitants are predominantly farmers.
The remote community however caught the attention of Arewa Vanguard when residents came out in their numbers in a bid to witness the prize giving day of a popular school(name withheld), not knowing they were up for something bigger.
The occasion according to the organisers was meant to showcase the learning prowess of the students in order to woo other parents and guardians present at the occasion to enroll their children in the next school calendar year.
Little did the gathering whose number was no fewer than 400 know that an unusual event was lined up in the agenda of the programme which in turn became the theme of the occasion.
The school named after one time president of the United States of America (USA) and the purported father of democracy, Abraham Lincoln according to the proprietor was established to make students of the school extol the virtues of its founding father and to further the struggle for a universal recognition of his tremendous achievements.
Friends, families and well wishers trooped out in their numbers to witness the August occasion as excitement was everywhere.
Students of the school which has only JSS 1 as its last class for now marched out neatly dressed in their colourful uniforms, as applause, little chit-chat and lower denominations of Naira accompanied their performance.
The surprise surfaced when the Master of Ceremony announced it was time for campaign of two students for the school’s Student Union President. The two candidates were said to be in JSS 1 and were flag bearers of two different factions in the school.
The female student, Hassanat Mohammed was contesting the position under Victory party while the male student, Abdullahi Mohammed vied for the position under Success party.
Vanguard initially thought it was a drama, until the school proprietor confirmed that it was a contest between both candidates to test their popularity in the school.
It turned out to be more interesting when supporters of the two different candidates were choked up in a car which was on standby for the purpose of what was called ‘campaign’.
The gathering witnessed the manifesto of both candidates which centred mostly on advancing the welfare of the students within and outside the school.
The election process itself was well organised as the school prior to the said date had instituted an electoral committee to oversee the whole process which took about an hour.
There was an electoral chairman as well as electoral officers who were all students of the school. However, agents of the two groups also stood their ground to witness the first ever Student Union election in the school who alongside the electoral officers later counted the number of votes for each candidate to the admiration of the gathering.
The students lined up to cast their ballot just like general election in the larger society. The gathering which swelled during this period was anxious to see the outcome of the process.
There was also the problem of crowd control but some elderly men from the community were able to contain the crowd which at this time had almost doubled the initial number of those who were present at the beginning of the programme.
Proprietor of the school, Yasimiyu Gbadamosi Arafat in a chat with our correspondent said “ the reason why we are answering Abraham Lincoln is because he is the father of democracy and he ended slave trade. He lived and died for the cause of democracy. We, as a school are treading his path at the grassroots level.
“ Why we brought in Student Union Government was to make the children have the zeal that they are the leaders of tomorrow and to nurture them right from childhood.
“My involvement in this struggle is for African continent to jointly agree to set aside a date for the remembrance of Abraham Lincoln and that was why I established a school bearing the name. I was inspired by his antecedents after reading his biography and would be an inspiration for generations to come.”
Mother of the new SUG president, Fatima Mohammed in a chat with Arewa Vanguard explained that she knew her daughter was in the race and only encouraged her.
“I am happy and thank God my daughter was victorious in this contest. I was aware of her participation, but I did not support her with anything, it was God’s favour that gave her the edge over her opponent.
Father of the other candidate, Mohammed Shuaibu said “I never knew my son was contesting such a great position otherwise, I would have prepared him very well ahead of this day..
“Election you know is full of surprises, sometimes you may be popular and still lose. He was against a strong opposition I guess.”