The student union guy. In your Nigerian university days you either knew one, dated one, constantly brushed off the romantic advances of one, gave one copious amounts of fellatio solely to boost your GPA or…you were one.
Often scruffy, fond of using words like “Aluta” or “sagacity,” some also doubled up as Class representatives. For whipping the student body in line with the dictates of the university authorities, their girlfriends got free hostel accommodation. For their ability to rustle up crowds of students at the snap of a finger they were courted by politicians every election year. In fact Student Union guys were such a powerful cult that even cult boys freelanced as student union guys on the side.
Take note that I only refer to them in past tense because I do not live in Nigeria anymore. So, don’t you dare sniff at that hustle because these guys regularly move from “Aluta” in UNIBEN to anything from Councillor to Senior Special Assistant in Aso Rock.
How does all this concern you? Well, the beauty of the student activist hustle is that it does not discriminate in terms of location. So for those of you who are in Jand, or planning to come to Jand here’s all you need to know to become a Nigerian Student Activist in Jand!
- Pick a “Naija” university in Jand
No, I don’t mean University of Benin in Birmingham.
The first thing is to attend the same universities where a larger number of Nigerians are already perfecting/have perfected the Student Activism runs. Generally, London is best because this is where the Nigerian embassy is (see point 3). I’m told you might want to try the London Metropolitan University or Greenwich University. Oh no, don’t be shy…after all Catherine Middleton made sure she went to the same university as Prince William and guess whose son will be King someday, Oho!
I must now ask you to keep away from Universities like the London School of Economics or the School of Oriental and African studies because the Nigerian students there are not into activism, sorry. They organise polished, social-climbing intellectual events that are sponsored by their CEO banker and Nigerian governor dads. At any rate it would be easier for Iya Rainbow to wear a UK size 10 G-string than for you to get into those universities, yes…who is your father again?
- Join an association…or make your own
Now you are in a university, you are a student! The next step is to join a Nigerian students’ association. If your university does not have such an Association, start one immediately. Feel free to call it anything; just make sure you add “Students” and Diaspora” to the title.
Even if you run an association, be sure to join those redundant central, umbrella associations created by sharp Nigerian Student Activists who learn from our government and do not let such a thing as duplication of duties get in the way of their hustle. Think of it as similar to opening a church…if you join a church then you will have to carry Bibles, serve as an usher, collect offerings and all that before you rise to become a deacon or pastor. In fact, many years may pass before you even smell General Overseer. So it is better you own this hustle, because time is of the essence.
- Build your street cred
These UK student visas don’t last forever so you need to build your résumé, especially if you have no previous “work experience” in student activism. The quickest way is to organise protests against anything and everything in Nigeria. I guarantee that the government will be sure to provide you with causes and reasons to protest against – from fuel subsidies, to the English-speaking deficiencies of our First Lady. Simultaneously, the UK government will guarantee you freedom to prance in front of the Nigerian Embassy in London undisturbed, feted by journalists seeking to interview a celebrity such as yourself so…go for it. In-between protests you may use your clout to organise bogus networking events discussing Nigeria, leveraging on spare lecture rooms in your university’s campus as a venue. In the highly unlikely event that the Nigerian government is behaving itself, then focus on your fellow Nigerians in Jand.
For example, if a Nigerian has overstayed their visa in the UK please pay no heed to those who say they are guilty of immigration fraud. Just get out in front of a court building with a few placards and fight on behalf of the Nigerians who have no idea you or your associations exist. Be sure to have your business cards ready for any wandering journalists and let them know that you protested against Nigeria’s military regime—never mind that you were too young or too scared to do so. After all, there was no internet in Nigeria in those days so who’s to say you’re lying?
Shine your eyes for the koko – side runs
All these protest tinz are the ladder; the destination is the runs that bring in the cash so shine your eyes, Bro. You may begin with regular “courtesy visits” to the Nigerian Embassy, and move on from there to being a student-crowd mobiliser. Expect to be paid to provide anything from hecklers to taunt visiting VIPs, to paid placard-carriers supporting thieving politicians on trial in Jand. As your popularity grows, you can expect the Nigerian media outlets in Jand to ask you to come into their studios as a guest, whenever they need someone on tap to huff and puff against the government. Be patient because it can go any way from here; you could start by charging political parties £2 per character for every tweet you write in their support and end up becoming a paid consultant to some Nigerian government official or a campaign aide to electoral candidates. To ensure no one misses your career progression, make sure you check-in on Facebook, and enter selfie-overload on Instagram as you shuttle business-class between Jand and Nigeria for the first time in your life.
Do emulate your predecessors in this business and periodically whitewash your hustle by applying to represent Nigeria at all these international youth conferences by UNICEF and the likes. Nothing reeks of credibility more than a mug-shot of you smiling from behind a name tag at a Davos summit, see? And please do not worry about your GPA at this point—it is a Jand university so they are very supportive of students like you, who show “leadership qualities.”
- Save for the rainy day
Learn from the masters. Some of them have extended their student activist hustle by studying for a second Post-grad degree, or immediately enrolling for a longer Undergrad degree to ensure they remain in the Student Activism circles. So, trust me; you won’t be the only one. If you play your cards right then by this time money would be coming from Nigeria in such quantities that you would not need to work a day in Jand. Nevertheless, it is best you save up, because many an election or a cabinet reshuffle have reversed the fortunes of Nigerian Student Activists.
But if you take my advice seriously then when all else fails, you would have run your hustle so well that even the UK Border Agency would be falling over itself to grant you asylum for your courageous activism.
And now if you’ll please excuse me…I need to find that crowbar to extricate my tongue from my cheek.
See you next week
photo credit: http://thelondonnigerian.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/london-protest.jpg