In an attempt to establish the truth on what transpired during the just concluded SU elections, the Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ), University of Ilorin, has met with concerned persons to make clarifications based on their knowledge of the event.
Below is an interview session of UCJ with the Students’ Union Senate President, Adekunbi Ademola, who made some revelations and clarifications regarding the trending matter.
UCJ: can we meet you?
SP: my name is Ademola Adekumbi, a 500 level student of the faculty of law currently occupying the position of students Union Senate president.
UCJ: what is your perception on the on going ruckus as regard the just concluded election?
SP: my perception of it is that there are two set of people who are involve in raising the dust. On one hand, there are some people who are being sore losers , having participated in the electoral process and have found out that they themselves and their candidates did not win, and are deliberately trying to inflame the emotions of people, I don’t know for what purpose, maybe they want to use that as an excuse to the fact that they did not win. And the other hand is the people who are genuinely concerned about what happened, let say they are true activist, but they are being misled by the information that are not verified.
UCJ: does that mean that the whole process was free and fair?
SP: I can affirm it that since the beginning of the election, the whole process was free, fair and most importantly transparent. Because you know as a law student, there is something we often say that “justice must be done and must be seen to have been done” most importantly the whole process was free, fair and transparent and most people can verify that. As there is nothing hidden. The procedures of Senate council, students affairs, ISEC, everything can be verified.
UCJ : what do you have to say about the rumour of Animashauns’s result?
SP: there are several rumours on that, there are some rumours that says Sub Dean did not allow networks like MTN, Glo, Airtel to be fast on main campus
UCJ: let’s start from that of his result (CGPA)
SP: The Senate council, at the beginning of this session, resolved constitutionally, because the constitution says we can amend constitution every four years. It was done last four years by my predecessor, Olawoye from faculty of law and we resolved that we were going to amend the constitution and we accepted that the constitution should become valid this session. People are raising a lot of dust about constitutional amendment for CGPA while forgetting that we amended a lot of other things in the constitution that would benefit the life and processes in the union, we put provisions in place to checkmate financial excesses, electoral transparency, checks and balances as well as a lot of things specifically the CGPA. Yes, the CGPA in the constitution before was 60% and it was amended to 52.5%.
Two major argument, the first one was that 60% was way too high. 60% is the requirement to become a scholar in college of health sciences. You know in main campus here if you don’t have up to 4.00 GP in a class no one will be scholar. is it then reasonable to use that as a bench mark for becoming student union president? It is obviously not reasonable. The lady who had 18 awards last session, a medical student, she was celebrated widely, she had 62 or 63%. That is some one who had 18 awards, some one that is exceptional. It is obviously too high, so we reduced it.
You might want to ask why did we use 52.5 and not 55%. During the amendment, When we got to 55 % we discovered that the ratio of people who are eligible to contest on main campus and Oke Oyi are vastly different. On main campus, 3.5% is something that is achieved by approximately 25-30% of the population in each class. Ceteris paribus, although there are different ratios in classes and this tells you that what I am saying are not guesses. We spent first semester second semester debating this issues. We did research, got statistics from the University, got opinion from staff and students.
In Oke Oyi, people who have 55% and above are usually about ten or twelve in a class of about 150 so reducing it would allow relatively the same proportion of students access to contest because we believe in a democracy and it must be free, fair and allow people balance I terms of their aspiration, that is why we choose 52.5% consensually after a vote in the senate council, there was nothing hidden, People were allowed to speak, even congress men present were also allowed to speak
UCJ: in the constitution, How long does an amended section stay before it becomes effective?
SP: The answer to that is ‘immediately’
UCJ: Is it embedded in the constitution like that?
SP: No it is not. The constitution provides the procedures for amending a constitution. I know there was a broadcast that said according to the Nigerian constitution, when you amend a particular constitution it’s not applicable in that administration. That is utter nonsense, As a 500l law student, I can categorically say that it’s utter nonsense. A law becomes effective the moment the procedures for amending it is completed. In the Nigerian constitution, the terminal procedure, after it has passed through National Assembly, house of representatives, and has been sent to the president, it must be gazetted . The moment that gazetting is done the law becomes applicable.
A very good example is the ‘not too young to run’, is it not enough to say that the not too young bill will not be applicable in this administration? If there is an election tomorrow the not too young bill will be applicable in as much as INEC has not yet published guideline then because the law will not be retro active and will be applicable immediately, in the students union constitution, the terminal position is that the president should sign and the moment he signs, it becomes a new law in the students union and that is the general law across Nigeria.
UCJ: you mentioned earlier that the whole process was totally transparent, what can you say about some people seeing their names on portal at the inception of voting as some names were no where to be found? what about cases of delay in OTP or no OTP at all
SP: First with regards to the technical issue and how it applies to transparency, something can be fair and transparent and also have technical difficulties. I don’t believe that the whole of condition or the whole management conspired to hide some names on the portal. It was technical difficulties, in fact, someone applied for all reports and his name was placed under senator, and there was someone whose name did not even appear on portal. In fact the position of Banks and Rainbow (AGS) was not found for about 30 minutes. Those were just technical errors.
Now on transparency, A panel was constituted to monitor the elections at students affairs unit, which to the best of my knowledge is a new practice. But I am aware that students affairs collected staff from various faculties. And constituted it into panel that has access to monitor How the election was progressing. The Dean of students affairs and the Sub Dean actually said they were going to Monitor the elections. So it is nonsense, those who say the Sub Dean is involved.
UCJ: There were rumours that after the election, voting portal was not closed, it’s giving room for people to vote. What do you have to say on this?
SP: What I know as a half way computer person that I am, is that they terminated voting and saved results as at the time voting was terminated. In fact it was not only Sub Dean that was present at the collation center, pressmen were there too, it was a staff of COMSIT who had already saved every thing on his computer that was announcing the result. So I don’t know if anybody was able to vote after the election, but I know that from what I have heard he terminated and collated results at 3:30 or there about
UCJ: Compared to what happened last year, the people that voted last year were not as many as this year. Almost 20,000 people voted and last year it was not up to that, with this don’t you think that something could be fishy? Or do we say the level of publicity for this year was that high?
SP: On one hand, we can say that publicity was higher but personally, I don’t think that was the case, maybe people were more interested , you know the election was a controversial one, in fact the moment we had a candidate coming from college of health sciences, more people were Interested. You will agree with me that a lot of stages beginning from the initial stage made this particular election more known maybe that might be the case and maybe there is something fishy as well, it is legitimate for people to circulate things like that but then people can speculate but with the absence of concrete evidence to anything that might have surged the vote, I think ultimately that those were just guesses.
UCJ: You mentioned that a panel was constituted to check the voting process, who are those that made up this process?
SP: I am not aware but I know. The pressmen who were present at the collation center would have seen some of them there, I am not certain though. Now formed by who, that question is very key, the undertone is, you know this word accusation, Sub Dean!, Sub Dean! Sub Dean, they have forgotten that the students affairs unit is under the leadership of the Dean. People who are so eager to ascribe this ultimately humongous power to the Sub Dean have forgotten that Sub Dean is junior, as a matter of fact far junior to the Dean of students affairs and several other people who are involved in the University administration. So they thought that Sub Dean would be running agog and doing whatever he likes in the students affairs and the Dean, prof. L. T Ajibade, a professor of many years would not caution him if he was doing wrong, it’s just not logical. As a matter of fact what it shows is that they are on the same page. Unless you are saying that anybody in the University just conspired against you and your candidate. It is more likely that the system was proper and did not have the Dean so to say.
UCJ: What do you have to say concerning the fact that the day before the election, some candidates were not cleared and another result released had almost all candidates cleared.
SP: Well, I have never seen that, but I want to believe that they were exigent among chances, I cannot specifically say what they were but I want to believe that they were …maybe it was a typographical errors, but I have my opinions, but my opinions are speculative and would not be proper for me to express as a matter of fact, I think UCJ should be able to ask chairman ISEC to get more details.
UCJ: There were also rumours that some people were at disadvantage during the voting exercise, like someone wrote a piece where he registered his grievance, according to him/her, as at the time when there was power cut here on main campus, he took a jerk to the other side and he found out that the story was different, in the sense that they had a stable power supply, the network was dope, Wi-Fi was a plus…
SP: As the Senate president of the students union, for the past one year approximately, there is no sitting we had that senators from oke Oyi has not come to complain about the situation of things in their campus, that they don’t have light, they don’t have water, they don’t have this, they don’t have that because they do not use the same light as the University of Ilorin. While we enjoy relatively good light, they use the light of the general public in that area. This “Concerned Unilorites” has never complained before that people in Oke Oyi do not have light sometime when people in main campus have light o
Does Sub Dean control power department in the University of Ilorin? Because they said it was sub Dean that did it. And they said he did it because he is Christian and his candidate is Christians as well. the question is the people there, are they Christian as well? I want to guess that there would be Christians and Muslims there as well. Is the Sub Dean In control of MTN, GLO, Airtel, Wi-Fi …network as well? Let’s be rational, if you were Sub Dean of students affair, does that mean you will go round in all departments and be like see, we want our candidate to emerge o, you put off the light, you turn off Wi-Fi, you go and tell MTN to make their network bad. It’s not logical. They brought light here(in main campus) eventually, in fact, it was people at Oke Oyi that were constantly calling to tell me they could not get OTP before it started here. They don’t even have functioning Wi-Fi at all in most places in Oke Oyi, that person did not say that, UCJ can verify.
UCJ: What other Things do you have to say?
SP: I want to say that people should ask questions, I served as senator two years ago and as senator, I have been involved in a lot of things that are controversial and as individual, if you are doing something and there is no controversy around you, you are probably not doing anything significant, and if you are doing anything worth while some people will be happy and some will not be happy. The point I am driving at is while I was serving as a senator, there were several open letters, because I served in about 5 committees and there were always one issue or another and I responded to every open letter I got that had a name attached to it. But I cannot respond to letters that are anonymous mouse because I know those people don’t have an obligation to be truthful, respectful, and they don’t have the primary obligation to even care about the fact that I put forward. But as senate president of this university, and I represent every student of the faculty, if you approach me and ask me questions, whether it’s online, in person, in private, I will respond and take my time to give you break down. But I am aware that the University staff, though might not be as accessible as I am, but I know they will not shout at you if you go and ask them questions. Even Sub Dean of students affairs and the rest of them. So the point I just want to plead with the university of Ilorin student is that, whatever it is that is not clear, just try and find out from whoever name you see and get the perspective before you believe it because a lot of people believe that thing that when a law is passed it does not become effective until the next administration. There are about eight hundred and something law students go and ask them, they will tell you that a law becomes operative immediately it is signed. That is the position of the law but some people who don’t know will believe, swallow and share it to others thereby harming people’s reputation and causing uproar in the University. Democracy grow by active participation and active participation must be done with A level of rationality. So it’s not just about sharing bc it’s about finding out the truth and sharing the truth.
It should be noted however that these are words of the Senate President and not by any means, the opinion of the Union of Campus Journalists. Stay tuned as we make more clarifications and discoveries.
Team of Interviewers: Pressmen ******** Zainab, Ojebode S. Tomi, Abdullah R. Adetutu; and the pack ably led by Fadlullah Abdul-Azeez.