May 19, 2022

UCJ-UNILORIN

Official Website Of Union Of Campus Journalits, University of Ilorin.

Controversies, reactions trail disqualification of a nominee from UISEC

4 min read
Abdul-Ganiyu Lawal and Adedimeji Quayyim

Highlights:

  • Senate disqualifies popular “reporter”, Budoz the Informant
  • Budoz operates illegally on campus – Sub-Dean, Dr. Alex Akanmu
  • I will have to liaise with my immediate constituency (Education) and communicate my position – Abdul-Salaam Abdullah (Budoz The Informant)

The Senate Council sitting which was held at the Faculty of Communication and Information Science Lecture Theatre (CISLT) on Friday, the 7th of January 2022 witnessed nominations of two students from each Faculty to be nominated for the Independent Student Electoral Commission (ISEC), who are in turn authenticated and inaugurated by the Senate Council.

A petition was submitted before the Council upon receipt by the Chief Justice of the Students Union, Honourable Justice Muazzu Ola-Lawal Abolaji against Mr. Abdulsalam Abdullah Opeyemi, a nominee for ISEC from the Faculty of Education. The Clerk of the House, Yusuf Toyyib, read a point of order regarding the petition as the petitioner wasn’t on ground and it was not signed properly. 

The sitting witnessed intense deliberations amongst the Senators about the validity of the petition and on whether the petition should be accepted or not. The petition was then considered for dismissal on grounds that the petitioner was not present and was impersonated.

Senator Alawaye, a 300 level student representing the Faculty of Education who was involved in the submission of this petition to the Judicial Council, initially debunked the fact that he didn’t submit the petition. However, after protracted arguments in the Council, he agreed to the fact that he was involved. The Senate President, Senator Akinyemi Olufemi, then directed that the petitioner be produced on Saturday, 8th of January, disregarding which would invoke the infliction of penalties on erring senator(s).

However, during arguments about the petition by the Senators, the Sub-Dean of the Students Affairs, Dr. Alex Akanmu, raised concerns on why the nominee in question, Mr. Abdulsalam, cannot qualify as a member of ISEC, as the nominee is a freelance journalist and reporter who hasn’t registered as such under the Students Affairs Unit, which he evidenced with a WhatsApp chat from the nominee in December 2020, stating himself as a freelance journalist. This, he said, was a gross violation of the school rules and regulations.

In his response to this allegation, Mr. Abdulsalam noted that he is a blogger and not a reporter but the Sub-Dean insisted that his membership in the ISEC would be a conflict of interest. Thereafter, the nomination of Mr. Abdulsalam was nullified on the grounds of his issues with the Student Affairs unit of the University.

During the reviews, the Sub Dean explained that the Commission is overrated, stating that “ISEC can’t determine the result of an election”, noting that the Commission, which is responsible for the oversight of the smooth process of electoral process and franchise on campus, is still bound by management directives in the exercise of its functions and duties.

In an interview with the UCJ UNILORIN, Mr. Abdulsalam Abdullah Opeyemi noted that he “runs educational media outlets for the love of humanity.”

In his reactions to the matter of his nullification from the ISEC, Mr. Abdulsalam maintained that the Senate Council cleared and absolved him of any allegations raised in the petition submitted by Senator Alawaye. He noted that the Sub-Dean of the Students Affairs, Dr. Alex Akanmu disqualified him “on the grounds that I am a reporter and as a reporter I can’t be nominated as an ISEC member until I write a letter renouncing my position as a reporter”, a development which he “still finds very funny.”

Mr. Abdul Salam confirmed that he has had previous interactions with Dr. Akanmu as he serves as one of the staff advisers of Nigerian Universities Education Students Association (NUESA), where he had served as the immediate past Public Relations Officer. He also stated that “as a media outlet I sometimes contact him via WhatsApp to confirm controversial news before publishing as a professional reporter.”

Mr. Abdulsalam mentioned that the Sub-Dean isn’t the chief interpreter of the constitution, stating that “the position of the Students Union Compendium is clear on qualifications and eligibility of Commissioner-nominee and  the Sub-Dean said it that the ISEC doesn’t have any hand in the election which isn’t an ambiguous statement, so I will have to liaise with my immediate constituency (Education) and communicate my position.”

Mr. Abdulsalam told the UCJ UNILORIN that “our focus should be correcting the shame of producing winners in an election with 8 votes, in a community with over 45,000 students. Perhaps, that is not of importance and interest to the Sub-Dean. Rather than coming each year to say the electoral body has no significant role in elections, I think we must implore and appeal to him to be giving updates on what the school is doing to compliment the aspirant of having a trusted electoral process.”

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