By Sàlàkó Olúwapèlúmi Francis||
If we do not ask this question at this time, what other time will be best to ask? More than two sessions ago, the Congress disappeared, and till date, no one has heard, or bothered to hear from it. What happened to the congress, did it die, who killed it, how did it die, and why?
Every president since Eminent’s departure have appeared at the debate and manifesto with seemingly sufficient knowledge of the constitution but each one of them has failed to exercise this knowledge as and when due, knowingly or otherwise.
Eminent called the congress once in the first semester of his tenure, but what happened afterwards? Even after there were several allegations of misappropriation and negligence against his cabinet. What happened with Reedof whose cabinet inherited the same traits plus worse more, and Animashaun whose cabinet inherited these and more. Misuse of power, and exploitation of office privilege inclusive?
For the purpose of education, union members should understand that the congress is not a secret or illegal gathering for it is in no way against the University code of conduct (please see student handbook for reference). It is, instead, the most powerful decision making organ of the union. It means that a congress decision overrules the decisions of the CEC/Senate Council. The congress is also powerful enough to dissolve both the SC & CEC if found wanting in their constitutional role.
If lack of urgency and pressing demands is the excuse for sidestepping the congress, let us remember that the compendium states that “there shall be atleast one (1) congress in a semester” regardless of uprisings. But scarcity in situations doesn’t even work in excuse because there’s been several issues that calls the attention of a congress, prominent examples being Tuition hike, Water issues on campus, insecurity, indiscipline, embezzlement and mismanagement cases with serving and past officers, and on and on. The student populace is presently in a severe mobility crisis. The Union officers have been unable to find a solution whatsoever. Isn’t this worthy of a congress?
The Union officials must understand that effective communication (especially through WhatsApp & Radio presentations) between the Central Executive Council and the congressmen cannot override the establishment of the Congress. It is improper by all standards to assume the position of the congress.
I, with due respect for all privilege accorded the (Senate) president by the compendium, agree that the president is the general overseer but it is sheer disrespect to not fulfill the demands of the constitution. He is entrusted to meet and consult over union functions but never to override the congress.
By now, I am sure that most students must have, if they know, forgotten the existence, or importance of the Congress. When the present crop of students in their final year leave school, we shall no longer have students who have previously experienced this sacred gathering. This will mean that we shall head into the future with no identifiable experience and bond which this convocation provides you.
It is mournful that the congress which should be a tool of fear that inspires accountability and credibility into union officials has been sidelined for years on no logical ground. If it is the machination of persons outside the union, what do they stand to gain, & why did the presidents betray the congress so? Should they not explain?
A congress should be where the Union members expresses their minds, and/or contribute progressively to the Union and not thru Google forms or the President’s text box.
If nobody will, I shall, for history, personally write a letter that demands the convocation of a congress and it shall be left to Union members to decide it’s feasibility by providing their signature or not. If it falls through, I will live, knowing that I have done my part.
Pèlúmi Sàlàkọ́ is in his third year of study at the department of history and international studies. He is the creative director at Yellow Cab, an organization dedicated to art and literary promotion. He is @Salakobabaa on Twitter