ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo has urged students not to allow the ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) sway them into antisocial tendencies that will destroy their bright destinies.
He said they should rather pursue worthwhile goals capable of enhancing their learning and sound character in and out of school for a better future.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo stated this while granting audience separately to the National Union of Bayelsa State Students (NUBSS) Worldwide, and students of Sagbama Local Government origin studying at the Federal University, Otuoke in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a statement by his media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, the Deputy Governor described studentship as a veritable foundation for sustainable development of any people and their society.
Ewhrudjakpo reminded the students that the greatest social assets of any individual are good character and integrity, stressing that “bad character is like a flat tyre which cannot take anyone far in life.”
The state number two man advised the students to take their academics seriously and strive to become better than their parents and guardians.
He insisted that students would be doing themselves and society a whole lot of good if they shun social vices including cultism, rape and drug-abuse.
Responding to NUBSS’ request for sponsorship to enable them campaign against cultism in secondary schools, the Deputy Governor urged them to tackle the menace from its roots by preaching the message of repentance to their undergraduate colleagues, who are into cult activities.
He said, “Your goal or proposal to go to secondary schools to campaign against cultism is quite laudable and noble. But I disagree with you on your target.
“You must first of all, remove the log in your eyes before you take away the spec in another person’s eye. Who are the people who go to initiate our children and your younger ones in secondary schools? Are they not from tertiary institutions?
“It is those of you who are cultists in the tertiary institutions that go about initiating the secondary school students into cultism. So, I want you to first of all talk to and convert the undergraduates before coming down to students at the lower levels.
“Cultism never pays you anything good. Look at the governor and my humble self; we are not cultists, but we are where we are today. So, don’t allow anybody to deceive you.
“We want you to become better citizens. And so, you have to build yourself academically and also develop sound character. After all, the two main goals of a university education is to certify you worthy in learning and character.
“We are all affected by the ongoing ASUU strike. But don’t allow it to derail you into criminal or antisocial activities. Remain focused on the right things. Your hands must be on things that would add value to your lives.”
In his remarks, the President of the National Union of Bayelsa State Students (NUBSS) Worldwide, Comrade Yenne Ebobra-Dennis, explained that their visit was to formally introduce the new executive members of the students’ body to the Deputy Governor.
The NUBSS President also solicited government’s support for their proposed behaviour change communication campaigns to primary and secondary schools across the eight local government areas in the state.
On his part, the President of the Sagbama Local Government Students, Federal University, Otuoke chapter, Comrade Sylvester Agbalaje, appealed to the State Government to support their information, communication and technology (ICT) skills acquisition project.