By Ibrahim Salman
With few hours to go for the 2021/2022 University of Ilorin Students’ Union Government elections, the five presidential aspirants met today, at the school auditorium for the presidential debate.
The candidates in question are Gbenga Ibitoye (Ibitoye), Jimoh Toheeb Mayowa (Jackson), Owoseni Adegoke Israel (Owoseni), Ozizi Elijah Opisa (Ozizination), and Taofik Waliu Opeyemi (Omoluabi). The debate was moderated by the members of the 7th Sense Concept. Aspirants took turns answering questions from the moderators, later opening to questions from the audience. Each candidate had the opportunity to pick one of his four opponents and ask a question.
The debate kicked off with brief introductory statements by the aspirants. They all used the medium to introduce their background and contributions to the development of students in the university as well as their intentions for the office.
In several questions, the five presidential aspirants communicated their leadership potentials and reiterated their intentions in running to be the 34th Students’ Union President.
Ozizination highlighted his desire to help students in breaking barriers and to be responsible for advocating for students—a recurring theme of his answers throughout the debate.
Likewise, Jackson and Ibitoye frequently applied their own identities “Empowering greatness” and “Together we can” respectively, in every question directed to them.
Omoluabi mentioned his willingness to carry people along with his administration in both progressing and able representation. Meanwhile, Owoseni also referenced his insight in helping students on how to help in developing their potentials.
The panel asked the five aspirants a general question about a flaw about the aspirants that is unknown to the public and can lead to their disqualification as the presidential aspirants of the Students’ Union government.
For Omoluabi, teamwork was very important, referencing the statement of the former Lagos State Governor, Lateef Jakande, who said “…we are imperfect, the strength of others will make us actualize perfection”.
According to him, there are 11 offices in the SUG. “The president cannot be perfect but I believe the efforts of other students’ union officials will make our administration a perfect one,” he added.
Jackson emphasized that human beings are characterized by flaws. He said “We have to understand that we are a product of imperfection. Although I am not going to say that I am perfect but I assure unilorites that there is absolutely nothing that I should be scared of or should make me feel it is wrong for me to contest as the SU president.
“For me, leadership is a product of service. If as a leader, you want to prove yourself to be a very good leader, you must be willing to serve. So the willingness to serve is the zeal for the aspiration.”
Here are Owoseni’s words in response to the question; “When we talk of a competent leader, we are talking of an all-round leader. Nothing can deter me to be the next president of this Union.”
“When I decided to run for this office, I checked, rechecked, evaluated and re-evaluated myself and I found out that I have no demerit to disqualify me from running for this office but qualities, competence, capabilities, and energy to get the result that we desire,” Ozizi asserted.
According to Ibitoye, no human exists without limitations. He believes that to err is man and God is the only perfect being. He stated not to have any hidden thing to disqualify him.
“I do not have any skeleton in my cupboard that does not make me fit to be the next president of the Students’ Union,” Ibitoye submitted.
The audience also asked candidates several questions centered on the issues of security on campus, welfarism, and how to engage marginalized physically impaired students.