Aderoju Okunsanmi is the Students’ Union Vice president. She is a 300 level student of the Department of Communication and Language Arts. She assumed office in June, 2016. AFAS Press crew had a chat with her recently on her programmes and other issues bothering her office as the number student on campus. Excerpts…
What are the challenges so far?
Firstly, as a person I am not so use to having to go through the Students’ Representative Council channel before a project is approved. I do have a problem with their way of approving a budget. I have a problem with the fact that some of them do not go for enquiry on things we have in our budget. They just go ahead to slash some things. And it is quite annoying because they do not make me do my work effectively. I am quite sure everyone understands that most of the things we need to do in life, we need money and when there is no finance to do the work, I don’t know how we ought to go about it. Certainly I am not saying we should use money for everything because I promised that during my tenure, there would be sponsorship for most of the programmes we want to do and I am doing that. Secondly, the issue of finance, the money in the Students’ Union purse is not much, each student pays ₦200 which can hardly do anything these days. We have fueling of the bus and so many things and we know that to get money, you have to spend money. For instance, for us to get sponsorship we have to travel as far as Lagos State, Ogun state and even Abuja to have meetings with companies.
Can you tell us some of the things you have achieved since you assumed office?
Well as the Students’ Union Vice President, I am the head of the Academic committee and the Students’ Union Week and aside that, I promised the students of University of Ibadan so many other things of which we cannot do so fast. It is going to be step by step. Right now, we have had three academic committee meetings and we are not just having meetings, we are planning on things that would work out very soon by God’s grace. For instance, we are working on the scholarship scheme and how it would be done on the matriculation day and the Vice Chancellor has agreed. We want a case in which the incoming students will see the outgoing students been awarded and they will be motivated to read hard. All we need now are sponsors to make it happen because it has been approved already. Also, we have been working on the Students’ Union Week which is really core. We know so many students look up to their Hall week, Faculty week to lighten up stress and for this, the Students’ Union week will be very on point and we are trying our best to make that happen. We will make sure it is more than what everyone expects.
Has it been easy working with other executives?
Sincerely speaking, at the beginning of the tenure, it was not that easy because I on my own, I am sure some people might find it hard working with me because I have principles. So it is a normal thing. It is very difficult to work with people the first time you meet them but you have to gradually learn to do that.
Recently, you organized the Fashion week; can you tell us the outcome?
The Unibadan Fashion week was not the Students’ Union programme, we only affiliated to make the programme hold since it was a unique programme. With what I heard on news and from other places, it was a success.
There was news about the Students’ Union President and General Secretary facing the SDC because they did not present their budget when they ought to. What can you say about that?
The news that has gone round is kind of funny and it is also true. The SRC has done that to make sure there is discipline and order. I won’t say it is a bad thing and I won’t say it is the right thing because sometimes to make things right, you have to check and balance it. The SRC made that decision that day and I will be glad if they speak to the two people in question and get more information before they make their decision.
Is there any new innovation for the Ivory awards?
I will like to say something, people have been saying that Ivory Honours is under the Students’ Union but it is not. The Students’ Union award is Ivory Awards. The Ivory Awards is going to happen the same day with the dinner which is the last day of the Students’ Union week, October 30th, 2016. The thing about the Ivory Awards is that, this is going to be the first time it will hold and it will also be the first time a dinner will be held during the Students’ Union week and we hope to make it a success. For the Ivory Awards, we will be looking at education, entertainment and entrepreneurship because we want the school to be balanced and we would be giving awards in those three areas. Our website will be unveiled soon.
What are the steps you are taking to make sure your budget is been approved?
Well to be sincere, they say there is little a man can do sometimes except you want to go through the back door and I am not interested in that. I don’t think I can go through any war, the programme is not for me and we know that planners are the ones that suffer most in an event and it will be quite bad if such events are scrapped.
Some of the items on the budget that were not approved, we were told we could go ahead to get sponsorship but I don’t go with that. I believe that they should approve some amount and knowing that whatever they approved wouldn’t be enough; I will go out and get the remaining things done through sponsorship.
How are you balancing your academic life with all these activities?
It is like the hardest part of my life, but what I do is to make sure that I am extremely strict with my time and aside from that, a leader must sacrifice.
Has your office affected you relationship with course mates, friends and family?
To be sincere, it hasn’t. The Deroju that didn’t have any post two years ago is still the same. I play with people, I go to my friends’ room and sleep there sometimes, I crack jokes in class. They don’t see me like they use to but I am very sure that they understand but one thing I do is that, whenever they tell me there is something they need to see me for, I make sure I make time for it especially my friends and family members.
You ran unopposed and it is believed that you had the backing of some stakeholders and people say they decide the way you run your affairs. What can you say about this?
Well, I will laugh about this and I will say I am Aderoju Okunsanmi Aderonke and nobody pushes me around. If I say it is no, it is no and if I say it is yes, it is yes. No stakeholder tells me what to plan because if they do, they will also destroy my name. I can only get advice from people in general.
But it is believed that they favoured you and you are trying to compensate them
During my campaign, people do complain that I don’t call stakeholders. They didn’t favour me, God did it because I had two strong opponents and they stepped down two weeks before the election. So, nobody favoured me
Some people say you are an autocrat, what is your reaction to that?
To be sincere, if I was an autocrat, I don’t think I will be in this post. But autocracy a little bit works for me because there are times you have to tell people this is what I want and you have to get it that way. You can’t always smile with people and expect the best. There is no human being that is a leader that won’t use autocracy sometimes.
Is there anything new you have that will blow the minds of Uites?
I am not one who talks about the things first; I like people to see it. I will like to tell Uites that they shouldn’t look down on the Students’ Union Executives to have failed. We are going to try our best to make sure that the way things were before, it wouldn’t be that way. For example, we are going to try our best to wow Uites for the Students’ Union Week and we hope that they will see from that, that there are other things to come.