The just inaugurated Students’ Union Senate President, Akano Jesunifemi reveals in this exclusive interview with the Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ) that he does not foresee threats in the Senate Council in the upcoming session.
Read in this interview as he reveals more about his personality and why he vied for the position of the Senate President.
UCJ: Can we meet you sir?
SP: I am Akano Jesunifemi by name, a 500L student faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The Senate President for 2018/2019 parliamentary year by God’s grace. Basically, that’s the brief.
UCJ: For how long have you been a senator?
SP: I will say this is my third time of returning as a senator. I am a 3rd time senator. So, in a nutshell, I have been here since 2015.
UCJ: Wow! For you to have been reelected three times it means that you’re a good per…
SP: (cuts in) It is not even about being good, I’ll say being good does not take us too far, it is just about people believing in you. So, it’s the belief and the trust. I know many people are good and I am not the only one that has served but the worthwhile things I’ve done is what they have been able to benefit from. It is not until material things are given to students before they appreciate you, even effective representation which was obvious to them is enough to build a good trust level.
UCJ: Can you spell out the things you did that made them want you back?
SP: That can be rhetoric sometimes but I won’t let that be rhetoric. I will just say one or two things about that. The first time I served in the house, I served as the chief whip officer and being the chief officer of the house does not involve being in the sitting for sitting sake. I engaged myself in every matter that pertains to the school. The first time I came in we had a 36 hours budget sitting and I was actively involved all through the course of the sitting and so many things that engaged and dealt with the union as a whole. I didn’t just represent my faculty but was in for the union as a whole.
More so, my faculty used to have big issues with transportation and there were ways in which we went about that. Also, we discussed matters in the house, so, let me say that was one of it. They basically saw a good representation the first time.
The second time I came on board for the faculty and the union as a whole. It’s not by just seeing “Nifemi” as a name in the Senate Council, it’s a name I tied to build not just because I have a political ambition but to protect my integrity as a person and when you consciously and unconsciously protect your integrity, you do things that your subconsciousness can’t even define. I remember playing an active role when we were talking about how to distribute the tablet… There was a rumour that non-worthwhile things were coming in for fresh guys and we looked into it and made sure only worthwhile things were in stock for them, and that if not worthwhile should be pended. I also played an active role in starters’ pack issue.
Also, in the course of the tenure, we had a 14-hour budget sitting again and that led to men calling me “a man of budget”. I am not just a man of budget, I just want to make sure things get better and I’m not just making things get better because I hate anyone. I’ll be doing this so objectively and not emotionally because emotions are not set in such conditions and one must objectively look into things.
During the tenure, I was also able to become the chairman for property assessment, we assessed properties and there was a land scandal at Oke-Odo that we were involved in and it was settled. We checked for vocational centres and how well we can make it beneficial to all students.
Also, I over saw all properties pertaining to the Union including counting of souvenirs during the Eminent souvenir saga. The committee counted so as to accurately feed the entire student populace and give the actual number of the souvenir. People saw these things and realised that this “little man” can also serve.
Although, transportation issue has been a general problem in the whole school, we are looking into it as well as it is not just peculiar to my faculty alone. We hope for better days and not for new days because it is not all new things that are good/better so, we keep anticipating for better days.
UCJ: What exactly drove you into vying for the post of the Senate President? Is it for you to oversee the budget or like you said you have keen interest in budget planning. Was that what brought about the passion for being the Senate President?
SP: Hmmmn, thank you very much, ma. I didn’t say I have keen interest in budget. I’ve just said overtime, everything that pertains to the Union, you know I didn’t mention only budget now. I mentioned everything that pertains to the Union including a saga about Faculty of Veterinary Hostels at Sabo-Oke that we even discussed in the floor of the house when they were asking about it and we explained that it was lit opened like that but there are still some documentations and proper reviewing that would still be done to the building. So it’s not just about budget alone.
Now, if we say what drove my ambition was just budget, then the question for us to answer is this: “Is Senate Council just all about budget?”
The school of the Senate Council expands more than budget, so, we will not be myopic to say that all what we do is budget sitting. Although, that is one of what people look up to. So I reiterate that we will not be so myopic to decide on budget alone.
Now, what drove my interest for Senate Presidency is took majorly at his well we can have an objectively-led Union. I want a Union led on credibility and objectivity that will go with meritocracy…
UCJ: Sorry to cut you in. Are you saying that the past administration was not objective, credible and all?
SP: Why will I say so? No, I didn’t say they are not, but, for objectivity to be a sustainable goal and not just a thing that just because the past administrations has made it so but for us to have a continued existence of objectivity and credibility and all inclusive-not just because you belong fraction or to some sects that you have things that pertain to you on the floor of the house but people that look into all things and lead the affairs of the Union at large at any place in all ramifications and would be able to prove their worth, so that is to answer the question.
Also, what drove my interest to vie for the post of SP is that; I think I can be of help to the Union with the little experience I have been able to gather. It’s not about the number of experience I have gathered now, but if the fee experiences can be productive to the Union, I should give it back to the Union because I believe that the SC is a school I have learnt from even though I didn’t come in as a novice.
UCJ: Okay, based on the result of the election, you were far beyond your opponents. Do you think it is as a result of your input to the council or it is just a political play?
SP: Election most times is a thing of individual interest, so I can’t really say the platform on which I was voted for; but I believe senators that were inaugurated wanted a person that can partner in their progress. So it is not having a uniform council but a unified senate council. So unity is our goal not because of where you come from. I said during my manifesto that “It is not because I am the best, but it is why I’m soliciting for your support but because the best people deserve to be a benefit of that, to see if I can be able to lead the house of Senate Council”. Also, I said that they are great challenges as well as great opportunities now with their help, we will meet them and make this parliamentary year best in history. So, when like-minds come together, we will be able to have things go well. Probably most senators thought about my words and decided to vote me in; it still remains what I can’t answer. More so, such question is for those that voted as I can’t best explain why they voted for me.
UCJ: You mentioned that you want to make this parliamentary year the best in its history, are there things the immediate past SP could not achieve and that you intend putting such to place or how do you intend to do this?
SP: Okay, the IPSP has done a lot and one of those things I think that means the best, is when common things are done in different ways, it can make things better.
So, basically, we are going to be doing things common to people in dynamic ways i.e we are not going to be static with our thoughts.
Also, my administration will have all senators come together because the Senate Council is the actual representation of the student populace because it is the microcosm of the Union itself in that we have all fifteen faculties duly represented including hall representatives which means all school hostels and faculties have representatives in the Union.
With the foresaid, one of the things to actualise is the vision of the house in that we have a productive Council that is not just productive with words but how well we see to things and also to proceed on how well we can make things better. We can actually achieve this by making every body worthwhile; nobody will be looked down upon as it is the pathway to intimidation so if all senators have the self esteem to do things well and one of those ways I think we can make this year better in history is if we all come as one to make the Union progress, every senator will have agenda but the best way to make us the best is that we unite despite the fact that we are from different faculties as all we would be concerned about is a unified union and our selfish or personal goal does not supersede our general goals because as far as personal goals is being given preference, we won’t achieve much. When general goal is the first thing achieved before personal goals we would have a better union and parliamentary year.
UCJ: Thank you so much for that. In correlation with what you said about personal goals or interest, are you confirming the general belief that most senators are affiliated with the Central Executive Council (Students’ Union officials) in order to influence easy grant of their request especially budget?
SP: Talking about this sort of affiliation can be ambiguous in some ways. Affiliation with CEC can be either to help them express their own feelings on the floor of the house or to achieve their intent, so, which of these patterns are you referring to?
UCJ: You can talk on both patterns, sir.
SP: OK, I will like to think that even though we are affiliated with CEC, we should be objective enough. In the real sense, if you as a senator know that what you’re going to say or defend does not worth it, why then would you put your integrity at stake just because your friend is involved? Any thing done on the platform of friendship or because we are from the same faculty won’t make it better. It may have happened in times past but I believe the past administrations in which I served i.e Sen Ademola Adekunbi and Sen Imam Abdulquadri were a better fraction of that because we don’t have replication of such affiliations. Intact, why would a senator start speaking for friends when he/she knows that he would be affected by what he says and not make the Union better? I believe that as an intellectual, things that are worthwhile only should be placed on the floor of the Senate Council.
UCJ: You mentioned that the past administration led by Sen Ademola Adekunbi did great things, on a scale of 1 – 10 please rate his performance?
SP: I will rate his performance 10 of 10 if possible.
UCJ: Wow! Does that mean there were no flaws in the course of his leadership?
SP: Now, I said 10/10 because I see much more of his good deeds than his bad deeds. The worthwhile things he did overshadows all besides every man comes with his flaws but when your good deeds covers your mistakes, people will say you are good and vice-versa.
UCJ: Are you willing to work with the bodies that are necessary in order to achieve your purpose?
SP: Thank you very much ma, I will say that the kingdom that divideth its gates cannot stand; why will I then say I cannot work with bodies that will make the Union progress? I am saying categorically that body whose interest is to make the union progress would be worked with and by God’s grace we would be able to achieve because I can’t achieve all these single handedly.
UCJ: What should Unilorites watch out for in 18/19 Parliamentary Year?
SP: My advise to all Unilorites is that we should all crave for better things, like I said at the inauguration that; “all progress remains at a state of rest until a mental force is being applied to it.” Let us all just participate in making the Union better.
UCJ: Do you foresee threats from co-senators —:those that contended with you or even from the CEC during the course of your administration?
SP: I don’t foresee any threat in anybody and I see everybody as people who we can work together. I believe that everyone with whom I contested with, have the mind of making the Union better; so, no one is a threat to progress. The only threat to progress is those who don’t want the progress, and I believe all Union officials have sworn to the oath that all of what they will do with their office will be to make the union progress. Seriously,i don’t see anyone as a threat.
UCJ: Lastly sir, how do you intend to bridge the gap between the SC and the CEC?
SP: The way to bridge the gap between both parties is that we all understand our functions. There are times each arms of the Union try to do oversize functions and when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. We would try in all ways to extend arms of friendship as well as willingly work with them. Most times, the problem we have is that they think the SC is their enemy but I want them to erase that motion as we are willing to work with them at any time of the day. Our doors are opened to them and like the VC said – the University is running a no-door policy therefore the SC is operating a no-door policy. We will welcome every idea from the CEC and admire our ego does not affect the progress of the Union.
UCJ: Thank you very much for the time. we would be coming in subsequent times.