There is a term that is gaining cognizance these days and it is no more an uncommon to hear the term; “the MSSN of yesterday”. It has manifested in many ways, and speeches like “awon brother tiana”, “MSSN of then” etc are the order of the day. It is therefore pertinent to examine if MSSNUI is still on the right course or it has changed direction. Is there really a difference between the MSSN of then and that of now?
One part of me says;
Yes, there is…
The world is changing and the only constant thing is change itself without denying the unchanging nature of Allah. The concept of change is inevitable and it reflects in all aspects of life; the world is changing, the people, the standard of living and this has not left the Muslim Student Society of Nigeria, University of Ibadan branch unaffected.
Gone are those days when MSSN was MSSN as someone rightly said; “then,” he continued, “MSSN was actively involved in the activities of the school and they were really recognised by the school management.” Then, no decision would be made in the university without considering MSSN as they are always ready to stand firmly for their right. Gone are those days when MSSN was a force to be reckoned with by the managements in solving the problems of the school; the role of MSSN in curbing cultism in the university and its environs can never be forgotten. Gone are those days when the leadership of the student union is greatly influenced by MSSN, as we were told, manifestoes were held at the mosque’s car park by MSSN to determine their own candidates to whom full support will be given. Gone are those days when MSSN was actively represented in all the activities of the school; politically at the students’ union level, students’ representative council, halls and faculties, intellectually as pressmen and members of various good and reputable clubs and associations in the university.
There was unity in the MSSN of then, no sectarian divide or sort as the brothers of then will not allow for such and the sisters of then could not be easily brainwashed. The MSSN of then will proclaim justice and righteousness and will stand firm on it as commanded by Allah. They were ready to pay the price; they were not afraid of the management and they took no regard of the professors as long as they are on the just path. The brethren of then did not put their CGPA above their religion;they never compromised.They were always ready for the next action towards a just path. They believed in the words of Allah and agreed that injury to one is injury to all.
Truly, those days are gone, when MSSN was MSSN, when the brothers are selfless; always sacrificing for the sister, little wonder they are being regarded as “awon brother tiana”. The days are gone, when the sisters were caring. Truly, they are gone, those good old days, when the brethren will address a lecturer when it is time for solat, when the academic performances were good despite their commitments, when the cultists were afraid of MSSN, when brethren were ready to sacrifice, when MSSN was the way it was. They are all gone, the good old days.
The other says;
No, MSSN is still MSSN…
“When there is no deviation from the foundational objectives, then there is no change.”
The Muslim students’ society of Nigeria was established mainly to unite all Muslims in all facets of life and inculcate in then the spirit of brotherhood and safeguard the fundamental rights of the Muslims in any society they find themselves. This is the underlying principle of MSSN as those who established it did so to flee from the oppression in the society they find themselves then. It can thus be inferred that the underlying principle of MSSN is to respond appropriately to any problem facing the Muslims at a particular time. This however has been done, is being done and God willing, will always be done by the society. It should however be noted that as situation changes, the challenges faced by the Muslims in the nation also changes, hence the response of MSSN to them also changes. It therefore follows that the response then is different from those now, hence the activities of MSSNhave to be different from what was obtained then. However, as long as MSSN is still appropriately responding to the challenges facing the Muslim students, which is the foundational objective, MSSN is still MSSN.
At the dawn of MSSN, the challenge then was to gain admission without apostatising and they responded. It shifted to retaining the Islamic identity while on campus to the welfare of the Muslims and the protection of the fundamental rights as well as ensuring justice and equality, these all, MSSN responded to. When the challenge of maintaining the unity arouse, MSSN responded by ensuring the interaction and intimation of brothers and sisters at the Islamic Vacation Course and the fathers then will organise MaulidNabiyyfor the brothers while bringing sisters from different schools to the occasion. The issues of cultism and hijab were adequately responded to and ditto for all other challenges that came up then. Appropriate responses for the prevailing challenges; that is MSSN.
As days go by, the challenges facing the Muslims are changing and hence the response, which implies, the activities of MSSN have to change. Things are no more are tough as they were back then and the main challenge of the Muslim students now is their spiritual life on campus, academic performance and their welfarism. MSSN as always is also now responding appropriately to these challenges. There are a lot of spiritual uplifting programmes for the members and the existing ones were intensified to ensure a sound spiritual backing for the members. Academic packages were not left out as the tutorial groups are in existence to tackle that challenge, there are also award giving programmes geared towards encouraging members to be academically upright. The challenges of the welfarism of the members are not jettisoned as appropriate steps are being taken to address them. The student relief fund, Al Ansarpackages for indigent students, exam packages as well as free iftars during Ramadan among others. The development of the members intellectually is also taken as a challenge and the members are strengthened through the Adhikr press, paper presentation, inter hall debate, talk show etc. The Quran and quiz competition, talk show, post solat talk etc are also means of developing the public speaking skills of the members. Leadership training is also incorporated as members are made to serve in some capacities so as to serve as training ground for them. These and a lot of others are ways MSSN is presently developing their members as that is the prevailing challenge that must be responded to.
It is apropos to state that we cannot conclude that because in those days, students in higher institutions who are seen with lots of books are assumed to be serious that those without it today are not serious, the world has changed and e-books are readily available on their gadgets, both students of then and now are both reading; achieving their aims,though through different means, hence they are both serious without the students of this era taking the steps taken by their predecessors then if they are obsolete. It then follows that MSSN of today cannot fight cultism that is not existing nor challenge a lecturer as long as he is not denying them their rights. As long as MSSN is responding to the prevailing challenges as it has always done in the past, regardless of the means it is using or her activities, as long as the foundational objectives are still maintained, the MSSN of then is still the MSSN of today.