On 7th December 2019, Uites decided and New minds were voted into various offices of the students Union. The election saw Akeju Oluwasegun emerge the president of the students Union, university of Ibadan. As part of our commitment At campus News to bring you latest information especially as regards students in the university of Ibadan, we scheduled an interview with him and here’s the transcript.
CNU: Can we meet you?
Akeju: I’m AKEJU, Oluwasegun. President of the Students Union University of Ibadan, a 400 level student from the faculty of law and a proud Zikite..
CNU: How does does it feels to have emerged as the new President barely two years after the Union was proscribed or suspended?
Akeju: I feel a lot of duty; I feel it as a call to action. There are so many things to cover up. So many loopholes for the past two years and six months to be precise. I feel its a call to duty.
CNU: Do you think anything has changed in your personality since you assumed this position?
Akeju; Yes! I have to be more responsible this time around and Its a big task. I think I’ll be working towards doing better for the job.
CNU: Of course, going by the result; you won with a wide margin defeating your opponent with about 614 votes which caused a lot of surprise among uites. Would you like to share your success story with us?
Akeju: Yeah, Its been deliberate. I have been detailed and paying attention to and studying the whole ideology of the students generally. Because, politics is not just shouting, It’s a game of numbers. What we did majorly was that we make sure we sold ourselves not just and you know there’s a difference between marketing and conversion. So, we try to convince people rather than just marketing ourselves to them. I entered almost every room I could enter in male hostels asides from Indy where we were not allowed to do that. I did room to room in zik hall like three times. For female hostels, we have supporters that did room to room for us. And for queens hall; they did room to room like three times. and the room to room was not just about “vote for Akeju”. There are sometimes we talk for about 30minutes to 1hour in a room. So, every day since August 30th has a particular task and a particular duty we fixed. We follow them and paid attention to detail. So at the end of the day, we found more supporters among all the halls of residence. So what we just did at the end of the day was to just focus on the other places our opponents were strong so that we’ll be hooking them down and yes we did that. On the election day too, our tactics also came in; we made our opponents feel very relaxed so that they won’t work and we pushed.
CNU: So congratulations once again; regarding your opponent ” HESSY”; what would you say what’s your relationship with him?
Akeju: I think we are fine right now. I don’t think so, personally there’s no bad blood.
CNU: How has the opposition advancements being towards you after emerging the winner?
Akeju: Its not easy to lose an election after spending money; right now, I think the relationship is getting better.
CNU: It was reported that you visited the theft scene at Maryam’s hostel and what was your actions and reactions to that?
Akeju: Okay when we got there we followed the police and as that time they were still searching for the thieves. We got inside, we entered the rooms. We found out that the security there was okay and according to reports; they were just two security men and one was staying at the gate and the gate is quite far to the hostel itself and just one round the hostel. Looking at the situation on ground now and around the university of ibadan. They should be having more people doing that and beef up their security.
CNU: Something interesting now; the Jawwar’19 finals which was held in Trenchard hall, you were noticeably absent. What can you say about it?
Akeju: Yes. We had an emergency and there was something we had to put in place. I’ve never missed jawwar finals since my 100level so that means I have no intention of missing it. its quite unfortunate I had to miss it.
CNU: Before the SU election brought you into limelight; you’ve represented your faculty at jaw war and the question is now that you’re not just for law or zik, would you still speak at jaw war if beckoned upon?
Akeju: Yes! I have spoken twice at jawwar. It depends on the circumstances around that period, and If the circumstances permit me to. since my primary duty asides from being in school to study is also the SU. So if the demand doesn’t clash with the demand of the SU. There’s nothing bad about it. We all know that it is not easy to speak at jaw war. It requires a lot of commitment and everything. There’s nothing bad and I’ll really love to speak again.
CNU: What are your plans for the TLDS as a member?
Akeju: i believe that they should be free to some extents and to also train the speakers very well. They have to groom a lot of people and not just those that approach them and what makes people approach them. Because I’ve met a number of people in that really want to become public speakers but are in one way or the other scared and because of that they don’t want to approach any L&D at all. I’ve pushed some of them to join L&D. I think we should make sure people find it easier to join. We need to develop more people to speak and I think its based on self-discovery.
CNU: some Uites are of the opinion that the newly elected executives would be puppets controlled; how do you intend to change these narratives?
Akeju: It is normal and been two weeks with them now and I don’t think they are. In fact, they have been up and doing and have also been fantastic. So was wondering if we could have that in 2weeks; then we’ll be having a fantastic year together. Opportunists don’t have plans for what they are doing but they just want to take advantage but this people are very determined in ensuring we have a success Union and I can tell you we have things to do.
CNU: What are your plans as regards the entertainment or social culture in UI given that the absence of SU has contributed a lot to this effect?
Akeju: We are currently working on normalizing our plans in which we’ve agreed in what we want to do this semester. There are plans to ensure we work on our toes. We have plans.
CNU: Is there anything UI is missing regarding the way politics is being played in other schools, for example within your council, there’s a vacant position which is the sport director in the election. Do you think Uites is missing out?
Akeju: Right now, we are trying to recover and the political consciousness is in decreasing level. The apathy is quite much. But we can only revive it if we engage students more. Its normal since we’ve not had SU for over 2years and 6months now. So its logical to be seeing people. Its just one year it will take to revive everything and within a year. And I believe by the end of the tenure, we should have a good one.
CNU: Would you like to shed more lights on the Public complaint commission you want to implement?
Akeju: Yes, its just an avenue to receive complaints from students. In the sense that instead of looking at “who are you going to meet?”. It’ll be a proper ground for like maybe harassment, complaint about lecturers, results and everything. Its like a mechanism for us to make our work very easy and to give a platform for students to come around. What is it, is that you give us the opportunity to show us what you’re passing through and that’s the first angle and the second angle is to take ACTION!
CNU: Do you think there is any correlation between this initiative and the school’s gender harassment policy?
Akeju: Ours is quite larger than the school cos it is not only sexual harassment only. It revolves so many things.
CNU: What’s your take on the new sexual harassment bill that has been passed into law across various tertiary institutions?
Akeju: I would give Kudos to the schools and these policies are good ones, only that people don’t notice it. In fact, UI has been strong on that. We brought it out again. It is commendable.
CNU: You are now the only bridge between the managements and Students, how do you intend to balance up what the students and what the management is dictating?
Akeju: Yes, number 1 is diplomacy and number 2 is identification of problem. Because the managements will make a decision based on a particular problem they’ve found. The students will also make a decision about a particular problem they’ve found. Once we identify the problem, what we’ll do thereafter is to resolve the issue together using diplomacy as a tool and all. That’s what we intend doing.
CNU: Flashback to the election, there was a drama between the electoral commission and the Union of Campus Journalists, can you talk about it?
Akeju: The thing is, I don’t really want to delve into it since Im a third party so I don’t know what happens. The only thing is that as of the time the Presidential debate was scheduled, the screening result hasn’t been released and the electoral committee said that its only after our screening result is out and they asked us not to attend. From my own angle, I think that’s better.
CNU: You talked about skill acquisition in your plans. Now, the question is, will there any difference between this initiative of yours and the one being set up by brand on campus?
Akeju: Yea. Almost all the ones you’ve been seeing around are just probably one day or two days and that’s the end. But this will be spanning for 3- 4 months depending on the particular skill you want to acquire and there will be certificates at the end of the training. Its like you’re learning something and can put it on your CV. You are getting what you want instead of you learning how to make shoes outside. So what we are working on is sponsorship because it requires a huge capital but its different.
CNU: In the political space; who do you look up to as your role model and why?
Akeju: I think outside Nigeria, it’s Abraham Lincoln. He was a lawyer, a controversial politician and the way he got the position was through hard work. He is my role model; I really love the spirit. In Nigeria; I don’t think I have any maybe we are the beautiful ones. Lol.
CNU: How has been your relationship with past UI Students union leaders?
Akeju: I’ve been monitoring them from close range since my 100level days and right now I’ve calling past students leaders to get update from what they’ve done. You know we have to have information on what they’ve done. I speak a lot with speaker, Edosa, Hunter, shola and so many set of people. I think the only set I’ve not engaged is Niphemis. I couldn’t get more to access them but we are really working with them.
CNU: Also, there is this general perception that you’re an anti-aluta agent and there have been cases people have heard you granted interviews against any form of protest. What’s your say on that?
Akeju: I’m not anti-aluta and Im not again protest. It is a way of showing our displeasure against a particular thing and we can’t rule protest out. I’m always after rational protest in the sense that are we going to protest and being sent home. That’s what I advocate for. If we want to have a protest, let us have a protest that will be purposeful to change and where we know it wouldn’t change anything then we shouldn’t bring it but the congress has the final say.
CNU: What’s your agenda for the National Association of Nigerians Student?
Akeju: NANS is an association for students in UI and anyone that one to participate in it is free And whatever decision that will be made, we should make sure it is in line with school scopes, Uites generally and our SU. And there are so many lapses in NANS in which we believe we can help them to change. I don’t have any issues with NANS.
CNU: Your biggest plan(s) for the union; what are they and have they started already?
Akeju: Two major plans; One is building up consciousness and second is to make sure that the students have a Union and one who truly cares for them and our plans have started. We just get inaugurated two days to 3days and there isn’t no place to settle. We are putting plans in place and another is skill acquisition for uites. Plans are generally underway
CNU: Your parting words for greatest uites.
Akeju: As proud Uites; we should feel like Students Union belongs to us. One has to be in consciousness. We want everyone to know that SU has come back again and they should participate in whatever we want to do. We also solicit for cooperation of Uites just when the plans have started. And I think Students should be focused which is very important.
Thank you very much Mr President.
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