~~~ Iwayemi Zainab, Ojebode Seweuseter
Sequel to the on-going drama in the Faculty of Social Sciences which had the president suspended for 14 days, on the basis of acting in contrary to the constitution, and his inability to properly account for how he spent the money belonging to the association. As his suspension elapses on the 30th of May, 2017, the President Kelvin has narrated his own side of the story, stating that he had learnt his lesson.
In an interview with UCJ Unilorin, the president shed more light as to the reasons for his suspension and some of the big plans he has for the remaining days of his administration.
UCJ: Can we meet you? KELVIN: My name is Oluwaleke Gbemikaye Kelvin, the President of Faculty of Social Sciences from the department of psychology.
UCJ: Could you shed light on the reasons for your suspension? KELVIN: My being suspended was as a result of certain issues that occurred between myself and some of the decisions that I have made as a president of the faculty that certainly didn’t go down well with the SRC of the faculty hence they felt since they have issues with some of the decisions that I took, with how and why I took them, they felt I should be held responsible for my actions and so I think that is exactly the reason for my suspension.
UCJ: What particular action of yours led to your suspension? KELVIN: If you would agree with me, you will find out that the school calendar has been a bit inconsistent that is why we had 300 and 400 level having their exams first so because of that inconsistency in the calender it has made it totally difficult for us to attain our objectives meaning we have to out source or look inward to do some things and some times some of these things that we look inward to do, they made it necessary for us to make certain decisions like I could remember vividly one of the things they held me for was the issue of the faculty freshers hangouts that I did.
We didn’t tell them and the truth of the matter is, it wasn’t like we didn’t want to tell them. We told them but there are some processes they made us go through but we couldn’t go through everything based on the time and the financial commitment that has already been committed to the project and so when it turned out that we can no longer have it based on their own decision it was so difficult to go back on the decision because the students already had a date at heart, they already prepared and we already used our money to pay for the venue and so it just came all of a sudden when the SRC said we should stop it. So it was difficult for us to go back on the decision.
UCJ: Are you saying the program was done with your personal money? KELVIN: Yes, I make bold to say it categorically that from the whole money that was spent for the freshers hangouts roughly we spent nothing less than ninety thousand naira #90,000 and the only money that I will say came from another source, which is not my personal money is nine thousand, two hundred Mayra #9200 and I could get that money not because they willingly gave me but because I told my CEC when we did the program we had before that one, we were able to reserve some money so that money was what I added to facilitate everything that happened.
Apart from that every penny, every kobo spent, I spent my personal money. And as a matter of fact I sold Ticket for like 500 per ticket and sincerely I ran at lose in the sense that people came for the program but somehow, probably because of the way people just come in with the Ticket, tear it, give it to their friends, their friends do the same… So the number of tickets that we sold that day was just a handful…i cannot quote a particular figure right now but I can always do that if you need me to. Because I made sure I kept those tickets for situations like this.
Again why I was suspended was on the issue of the faculty’s account, who is legible and illegible to sign the withdrawal of money. This is what happened, my predecessor who handed over to me senator Lukman, he told me categorically along side the general secretary that I am the sole signatory to the account as a student but Co signatory with the faculty accountant and the Dean of the faculty. The kind of account that the faculty is running is that of 3 to sign, that is the Dean, faculty accountant, and the president of the association which is myself.
So by default, I am the sole signatory to the account. But the SRC always in their wisdom of following the constitution, which is definitely what is guiding each and everyone of us, I believe they think for us to bring out money, the SRC, speaker and the financial secretary which is what was provided for in the constitution is suppose to sign to bring out the money. But in reality, I think they said it was during the time of proffesor Oloyede that he reverted that constitutional provision that says president, financial secretary and the speaker should be the one signing so since that time they ‘ve not amended it in the constitution bit it’s still provided, so they work with the constitution and when I got out the money, definitely it was without their approval although they were fully aware but because they didn’t sign and the money came out they felt I did something to arrive at that which wasn’t the issue. It was just the normal provision and when I wanted to collect the money I ran it by the staff adviser, Mr. Raji. He knows about it, I showed him an he even corrected the letter I wrote to the Dean and faculty accountant should be done and we were able to come out with the money.
UCJ: So when this happened did you inform him of your suspension? KELVIN: when I was suspended, it was in the night so the next morning he called me because he had heard even before I could inform him. So he called me to verify if the suspension was true and I said yes.
UCJ: From your analysis, do you think you are guilty? KELVIN: Definitely I did some of the things they said I did, we did some programs without the approval of the total approval as it is suppose to be of the SRC.but it’s got reasons.
Let me explain One of the reasons I was suspended again, because he who comes with equity must come with a clean hand. Another issues was when I withdrew the money, you know we told the students then that we wanted to do public address system and all and tat was what even the SRC approved for us. We looked into the time of the session and we found out that there is no time anymore so then with the way things were going on, I felt like how do I raise money to quickly buy the public address system let it be serving it purpose and then later when the money comes out from the SRC we just replace it to the appropriate quarter. Then, personally, inside the faculty secretariat right now we have the public address system.
All these speakers( pointing to speaker’s inside SSLT) and amplifier here, the cones inside got burnt and that is the reason they have not been working. We were provided with the sum of #62,000 to make sure we get those things working. Although I gave them a bigger quotation, but you know SRC will always bring it down to what they feel should be enough in reality when we got to the market, we found out that what we have wasn’t even close to what we need. So it means we have to either out source or do less than we intended so I bought in professionals, the electricians bought new spear parts and changed the ones that are burnt as I am talking to you all of the things are in working conditions. And I have the wireless speaker that I bought it isso strong that this administration and it’s successors will use because it would last long.
But the money for it has not been released but the project has to be done such that it can start serving it purpose to students. That was the plan. So what I did is, the first set of money, when we collected from the faculty’s account, one was suppose to be for the faculty orientation and press conference that was done and the other part was suppose to go for the SRC orientation and seminar. I thought there is no way I could achieve getting those sound systems on time if we give out the Money that every body Was suppose to have. So I took some excess from t knee CECs quota I was suppose to give the SRC #58,150, I gave them #50,000.
UCJ: Were they aware of your plans? KELVIN: they were not awere. I took #8,150 out of their own money all with the mindset that I just want the students to get this public address system because it is provided for in the constitution that at least after every semester or session, the financial record of how everything was spent in the association must be submitted. So there was no way it was going to be easy for anybody even the president to swindle one naira without being traced. It is expressly provided for in the constitution ha I didn’t know I thought I could go away with it.
So I took that money, added over #40,000 of my own personal money, only the microphone that was bought is #38,900 talk less of all the money that was use to repair both the amplifier and the speaker’s. All the money I spent so far has far exceeded what was budgeted for me. So although, that decision to pick their #8,000 was done personally by me without informing them and that was where the problem started. All I just wanted to do was deliver and later when everything start working and we get the money, we will return the money to you. That was what I thought and obviously I have already bought everything that needed to be bought. The reason why those things (speaker’s in SSLT) has not been working is because of the state of the faculty, I mean the socket, when we got them the sockets were not working so we had to go write to the faculty management to do somethingabout it.
As a matter of fact, when we got those equipment we wanted to make sure that we ourselves cable by ourselves but the faculty said we cannot that it still has to be subject to the approval of the Dean. So we had to take everything gently by writing and going through the appropriate quarter. As I am talking to you, the faculty electricians are working on it as we have been on their neck since that time. Even during the last meeting held I told the welfare secretary to ensure this things are in place. Because that is the major reason I was into the mess.
UCJ: There was a rumour that you added money to the amount of the final year form. How true is this? KELVIN: I think that issue is one that is still Subject to certain verification. And investigation is still on on that. Like you said it’s a rumour so let’s still treat it as a rumour because it is an issue that is still pending although I wouldn’t say something similar didn’t crop up. But there were reasons why some of those things were and for the total news and information, the way you people are hearing it is not exactly the way it is. There are lots of perception going on the truth is they are not entirely what you people think. Sometimes when an issue occurs, when a third Larson talk about it, he tells you things that are totally unimaginable I am not saying something similar didn’t happen but there are reasons it had to be that way but currently it is still under certain investigation. So I cannot be talking on something that is still under investigation. It will be a way of hampering what is to be done. Once the whole thing is done, definitely it will be known.
UCJ: Lately FOSSSA speaker was suspended for lying on the floor of the house in your favour. Do you have any affiliation with him? KELVIN: What I can say about that is I have a relationship with the speaker like I have with every other person in this faculty. But it requires that the both of us have a bit of an extended relationship because of his post as the speaker of the faculty as we as my own post as the president. Definitely for the association to move forward we have to talk to each other. Also, whether officially or unofficially, when you are talking to people you people get close and sometimes you might feel something like that. But what I would want to say about that is when he said what he said, in my favour, I don’t think…i have a relationship with him but that doesn’t mean I ask him to say what he said, I couldn’t have influenced him. If he says it, it’s because he feels it is necessary that the information be said.
Don’t get me wrong but As the speaker of the house, just like the president, there are sometimes you act on impulse and that Is exactly what got me myself into problem with the SRC. Acting on impulse, when an issue arises what you first of all think is tackle the issue and that is what leaders are meant to do. You act and adapt to situation. Probably he saw it as something that could upset the faculty of it is not handled well. He could have made certain statement that he feel can quench the something he might not meaningfullysay those things to slander or discredit anyone. He might just be saying it on behalf of the faculty but that is as much as I know.
UCJ: During your suspension, there was a souvenir scandal and you were alleged to have given some souvenirs to some CEC members without the consent of the welfare secretary. What do you have to say on that? KELVIN: Thaat is false to an extent because I was not around because unfortunately just a day after my suspension I lost my grand father so I had to rush down home but before o travelled I was the one that call the faculty welfare director to go and pick 600 souvenirs and they delivered it to the faculty and as a matter of fact while I was sitting there the news came. So we were looking for where to keep it in such a way that anybody would not just come and so the accountability can be very credible.
So when they brought it we wanted to keep it inside the cabinet but the cabinet was way too small for the souvenirs so we opted to putting it at the right hand side of the president, between the table and the president seat such that the only person that can assess it is the person that has sat on the president seat but while we were there I heard that the welfare secretary already dashed out oneof the souvenirs to a keke driver. So when he dropped them I said let me pick my phone and call the departmental presidents so that they can come and carry out the sharing modalities such that from there the welfare of department can now handle it just the way it was done in SU. Because the SU called me too. I attended like two three meetings just because of that souvenirs so I felt if the SU can call us the president, because we were the ones that did the modality of the sharing before they involved Asukuti to call other welfare secretary.
Asukuti wasn’t even there when we talked about the modality of sharing and the day the souvenirs was to be shared it was still us that the called to send down our welfare. So I felt like what was done for me the same process should be replicated in the faculty so that no presidents would tell me later that he is not aware of how it was shared.
I told the welfare we should follow the same steps the SU has laid but the welfare secretary was like no. And every one was also like no president. They militated against the president of department knowing about it and the welfare director said he will be the one to share it and he will share it. Is it me that they already told cannot share it that would handle the souvenir? Is it rational? Is it normal? So this is what I’m saying because I was the one sitting on my sit, when the vice president and other CEC members wanted to leave, she just said “let me quickly take mine because we might not be around by the time they share everything,” she even said she wanted the one that is embursed so I was sitting there, she wanted to stretch he hand definitely she couldn’t reach it and some other CEC members too said the same thing so where they had to include me is when they couldn’t reach it and I was closer to it.
So I just passed it to them but I never said anyone should take the souvenir, I only helped them do what they already had in mind. Definitely they did not agree for me not to share it. Definitely if I say don’t take it they will still take it. So instead of me to create a scene I just helped them. That was what happened so if anybody is crediting me that I gave them souvenir that is blatant lie. The only thing is when everyone took theirs I was like oh since you all have taken yours let me take mine too. And that one I didn’t take it out of that same place I just kept it inside faculty drawer and immediately I saw it on CEC group that SRC said we should return it, I just told them my own is inside locker, remove it because I wasn’t even around till today I haven’t checked to see if they have actually carried it neither have I asked anybody of how it was actually shared.
UCJ: Do you regret your actions as a president? KELVIN: Definitely. Thhis is the reason I regret my action. Sometimes it is very important that despite whoever you think is right you should always weigh people’s opinion and also follow constitution. Meaning that regardless of how good your intentions are, if you carry it out through the wrong means people will frown at it. All in all, if you are to ask me if I regretted doing some of the things that I did, I will tell you NO. But if you are to ask me that “if you have another opportunity, would you do it better in a right process? It’s 100% yes, because all the things that I did, I did it with the clear intention of doing it and I know it’s going to be for the betterment of the faculty. Because if the public address system is working, definitely the students are going to enjoy and they will be happy it’s working. I took those decisions for popular reason but the mode or the process at which those things were done wasn’t right. And I have understood so if I have the opportunity there are better ways that I would know how to do things. But all in all, I don’t regret my actions.
UCJ: How do you plan to right your wrong, upon your resumption to office? KELVIN: One thing I have come to realize is the place of law. Law is in the constitution that is actually guiding the affair of every organization. It is very sacrosanct that they are fully and systematically followed according to the provisions of that particular law. Upon my resumption now, definitely you will not catch me doing anything again without the (SRC) approval and I will work more on the CEC because I believe we are not where we want to be yet as a team so I hope to see the CEC work more. We all have the same mind, the same unity of objectives and I hope every student of our faculty can also understand and see things the way they are suppose to see it.
Some things are easily blown out of proportion but we must keep an open mind and a very realistic approach to things that matters. It’s not every thing that you hear about people that are true. During my time in office , a lot of people told me things that are totally unfounded, false and impossible, but it necessarily doesn’t mean those things are true and as social scientists that we are, we should not hear one side of story and judge as if things are like that. Because what I started hearing after my suspension was “Ha! president has squandered money” and the question I asked was which money? Is it the money that I still spend from my own pocket? I am not seeing the correlation. When people are telling you that you are squandering the money that you know you are losing. When they say it I will just be like NO. When you have an issue, especially of this sort, and you are trying to explain yourself, it just make you seem more guilty.
Please, Fosssaites I just hope you keep your open eye on. And if you notice this is election time. Lots of dramas like this play out. And some people want to put themselves on political good standing. I believe politics is at play also. So I believe it is God that sees leaders through.
UCJ: How does it feel, holding back power after a long time? KELVIN: If you are someone that is progressive minded and the only thing you want is just for people to benefit and see the dividend of what they want to get, when the people that you are trying to do everything for are telling you to go and sit down, then do.
My suspension is over right now and I intend to intensify effort to make sure that I deliver on everything that we promised the people. Now I am back doing my presidential duty and I will continue to do so until every Fosssaites in the arena say President Kelvin we are tired of you but as long as you keep giving me your mandate, I will keep serving you.