INAUGURATION OF NANKA STUDENTS’ UNION (N.S.U.), 1959
During the summer vacation (long vacation) of 1959: JULY-SEPTEMBER 1959, many Nanka students returned home to Nanka on holidays from various institutions. The institutions included Secondary Schools, Higher School Certificate Colleges, Advanced Level Colleges, Teacher Training Colleges, and Universities. Some of us expressed the desire for the formation of Nanka Students’ Union. Through meeting in churches (Roman Catholic and Protestant churches) and through social visits to our homes, we fixed a date for us to meet at St. Anthony’s Catholic School, Ifite Nanka to start the ball rolling.
Among those of us who met in those days were Prof. Daniel Ezeasor, Prof Geoffrey Onyemelukwwe, Engr. Chief David Umeano, Chief Charles Ofodile, Engr. Bernard Obi, Architect Reuben Okafor, Mrs. Rose (Onyejemeni) Okpala, Mr. Joseph Obijiofor, Mr. John Nwankwo, Prof. NikMuoneke, Rev. Fr. Prof. Romanus Muoneke, Mr. Cyprian Obijiofor of blessed memory and Dr. John Nwosu of blessed memory, Dr. Samuel Okoli, Prof. Emeka Okoli, Mr. Vincent Ezeasor, Miss Patience Ezeozue and her sister Priscilla to mention few names that readily come to mind.
During the first meeting we discussed the name the meeting of Nanka should adopt: Nanka Students’ Union or Association of Nanka Students. Nanka Students’ Union had the majority votes. So we adopted the name Nanka Students’ Union. On that day I was chosen as the protem President. During our second meeting we debated the Union’s Constitution which I drafted. The approved constitution was adopted. The Constitution stressed our aims and objectives. We stressed that the Nanka Students’ Union is not a trade union but an association of Nanka students to help us know ourselves, help one another in studies, and plan recreational activities to keep us active during holiday times. Two main activities suggested were playing of football and organizing of ball room dancing. Nanka had no central hall, but we had in mind Umudala Village Hall which was fairly well developed by then.
During our second meeting, two of us were nominated and voted for. The two of us were my humble self and late Prof. Gab Ezeilo who was an undergraduate of Medicine at the University of Ibadan. I had majority votes and was then made the inaugural/pioneer president of Nanka Students’ Union. I continued to president through Civil War years until 1972, when I graduated B.Sc. honors Botany at the University of Ibadan. Other pioneer executive officers that I can recall from memory include the Vice President Mrs. Rose (Onyejemeni) Okpala (then Miss Onyejemeni from Agbiligba—she was succeeded by Patience Ezeozue, also from Agbiligba), the Secretary-General Dr. Samuel Okoli, and the Provost Marshals Mr. Jonathan Ibejide, whom we nick-named Marshal.
One of the successful activities of the Union was inter-town soccer matches. One of those I can recall is Nanka vs. Usofia. Unfortunately, some well-intended activities of the Union, like ball room dance, ended in conflicts. The Union has played a vital role in reducing religious bigotry at Nanka. Nanka has become more united and more developed. Before the Union commenced, the Catholics and Anglicans were polarized. The Union helped depolarize Nanka. I enjoyed working with Nanka students. They were very cooperative. We even met during the Civil War period once in a while.
Concluding, I give the current president and his executive members the assignment of collecting all previous documents of the N.S.U. Let the President take custody of the documents which will be safely kept at Nanka Hall, when Nanka Patriotic Union builds a town hall. The contents of the documents retrieved could be saved digitally in a computer. The documents to collect include minutes, books, registers, financial records, and documents in file folders including correspondences, and other administrative records.
Mr. President Jonas Agbanari, congratulations in taking over the baton of leadership of Nanka Students’ Union. Keep the flag of N.S.U. flying high! I wish your executive members successful tenure. Long live N.S.U.! Long live N.P.U.! Long live Nanka our great home town!
Sir Leonard N. Muoneme,
Pioneer President, Nanka Students’ Union (1959-1972).
June 7, 2015.