In an interview with AFAS Press crew, Rebecca Ajayi and Samuel Arowosafe, the Sub-Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Dr. Adams Akewula, speaks on the S.A.L.T excursion and other general matters that concern students of the Faculty. Excerpts…
Sir, can we get to meet you beyond being the Sub-Dean of Faculty?
I am Dr. Adams Olufemi Akewula, a lecturer in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. I specialize in Arabic literature and poetry and I have studied both within and outside the country. I am a simple and a gentle man.
We know that being the Sub-Dean of Arts is not easy and one of your mandates is that you would improve the learning condition of students in the Faculty, so how have you been able to make sure this is realizable?
First thing is that if you are working with people, you move closer to them and that is what I’m trying to do and to see AFASites as part of me and at the same time I should be part of them so that I can feel the same thing they are feeling whether positively or negatively. So, if I should distance myself from them, I won’t get the required result. So, I try to relate with virtually everybody as a friend and I don’t see myself as the Sub-Dean because the office of the Sub-Dean would end one day, but if you need information from students, it is either you ask them or you move closer to them. So what I have been doing is that I usually invite people to open upon whatever they have in mind and to relate with me as a close confidant and also as the Sub-Dean of the Faculty. So, both male and female students have been coming to me concerning their financial challenges, spiritual challenges and then I advise them. Occasionally, I collect their parents’ numbers and call them, and to an extent this act has even gone beyond Faculty of Arts. AFASites now introduce me to their friends in Faculties of Law, The Social Sciences and Technology who are also facing challenges that they should talk to their Sub-Dean. Sometimes, students (male and female students) are threatened and when such case is reported to me, I will also invite them and help both parties settle their issues amicably and thereafter, they start seeing each other as brothers and sisters. Those are the things that I have been trying to do.
Concerning the Small Lecture Theatre, students believe the room is ready for use. Why has it not been opened for lectures?
Thank you very much. Room 32 contractor has not released the key because the contractor got the job through the University and not through the Faculty. So, until there is the settlement between the management at the central level and the contractor, the contractor cannot release the key to the Faculty. Although the Room is ready for use, but the contractors want to make sure that they are also given their full payment before they can release the SLT to us for use. Technically the Room is not ready for use.
How have you been able to cope with students’ numerous demands and unending requests personally and professionally?
As a lecturer, I do my job diligently and I know that this office that I occupy requires a lot of meetings. It could be individual meetings, management meetings, and some other meetings. What I do is that I fix my lectures to be early in the morning and because I know there won’t be any meeting between the hours of 7am to 9am. Secondly, I fix some in the evening at around 5pm to 7pm and that is what I do as regards my primary assignment of lecturing. As regards the other aspect of meeting people, when I am not in the mood of talking to people or when I am stressed out on a particular day, I would lock the door and relax so when anyone comes and sees the door locked they would go back and until I feel balanced. Meeting people is not easy and you need to have a large heart that can accommodate various types of people; be it the sycophants or the truants who might likely come your way that Sub-Dean, I have not eaten since morning. Some departments will come that they want to make a request and at times you might be in loggerheads with your colleague especially when students are asking for a particular space in the Faculty and you ask them to go and meet the lecturer in charge. Sometimes the lecturer will deny them of that space and students will come back to me to report and I will have to go and beg on their behalf but the lecturer might ask if the extracurricular activity is more important than the primary assignment. So, I see these issues as challenges, but if you know how to relate well with people and you give reasons for such action, then you might not have problem.
Sir, what is your opinion about mainstream politics and politics in AFAS?
Politics is something that virtually everybody should be involved in because politics begins from one’s individual life but I am not disputing the way people define politics as being a dirty game. Politics to me is the ability to manage your own life, manage your family, the society and the society at large. But in politics, what we normally look into is that is s/he a politician, do they merit and do they have the criteria of being a politician? And that’s why I tell people that you can use propaganda to win election but you cannot use propaganda to rule or to administer people. I love politics and I am involved in politics both within and outside the University. When you talk about politics in AFAS, I believe AFASites need political education. It is not all about candidates making promises. I have never seen a situation whereby someone did something that any other person has not done in the past. They have not improved on the dinner, they have not improved on excursion and even on the souvenir they give to students. It is still the same thing that is being circumambulated each year. AFASites need to be politically enlightened to know the kind of leader that they will vote into office. It is not a matter of taking people to Spices to drink or have fun and you will think such person is the right candidate because if a candidate buys you Shawarma, he will be after the Association’s money. The executives are not soliciting for funds outside and they don’t have any other source of funds and so, there is no way they can get money aside the dues levied on AFASites. When AFASites are now disappointed, there would be hues and cries of embezzlement. This is because some of them have compromised by following them to bars. But the point I am trying to drive home about political education is that there should be a difference between intellectual environment’s politics and the Amala politics played by the likes of Baba Adedibu and others. Let’s challenge the intellectual capability of the person that wants to lead us because we are not ignoramuses and we are in an academic environment. This is the reason why the University said if you don’t have a minimum CGPA of 3.5, you cannot contest and so my own suggestion even to the management is that they should let it be 4.2 and at least 2.1 students should be allowed to contest for election on campus. The University of Ibadan awards certificate based on learning and character and that is why you hardly see any first class student being dragged into SDC. Even if he or she is in first class the University can withdraw the certificate because he/she is not worthy in character and learning. If someone who is On 5.8 or 6.4 CGPA is leading a particular faculty association, s/he would sit up and this has happened in the Faculty of Arts. A lady in Philosophy department led the AFAS executives sometime ago and I have never seen any regime that has beaten that particular girl’s record. She was on 6.0 when she was elected and she graduated with 6.1 and when she communicates with you, you would be proud of her as the President of your faculty association.
Sir, in relation to what you just said now about politics generally in AFAS, what do you have to say about the President who is the head of this current executive council?
He is a failure!
That’s very sharp, brief and concise
Yes, he is a failure in the sense that it is a one-man show. Just like the game of football, there is need for team play but that is lacking in this administration. Those who are on the team list with him (the President)- the Secretary, the Vice President and others, intelligently, they are all okay, but there is no synergy. They don’t play like a team. It is a one-man show by the President in the sense that he is the one carrying out the responsibilities of the Social Director, the Vice President and some others. That means that because the President has failed, so the other members of the Executive Council have failed as well. So, if he is cut out of the body, it means the body is no more in existence.
Sir, do you mean Adeoye Adejare’s administration is a complete failure?
Yes. He is a failure in the sense that if you look at the orientation programme, there were lapses but I had to beg the Dean to still attend. If you also look at the excursion, there were lapses in the accommodation, feeding, transportation and others.
Sir, generally, what do you have to say about the excursion and what is your rating of the excursion because you were there?
If you want me to rate the excursion as far as I’m concerned as a lecturer, the organiser or organisers of the excursion scored 39%.
Yes. At the initial stage when they came to me about the excursion, I asked how much they were charging but it was later discovered that they charged people differently. The charges vary from individuals; some paid ₦8,000, some paid ₦6, 000, some paid ₦4,000, some paid ₦2,000, and some ₦500 naira when they got to the excursion site in order for them to enter. Some did not even pay at all. Then, when we left here, there was rancor between the President of the Faculty of Tech and the President of the Faculty of Arts students’ Associations based on the transportation to the extent that some people stood; they stood from Ibadan to Badagry.
Adeoye told me that he had visited the venue and it was unfortunate that when we got to the road, he was asking me for the way to Badagry. It was there that I knew that this guy (Adeoye Adejare) is a failure. When we got there, I was invited inside. At the point of entry, I saw a group of students numbering about 25 standing outside, and when I enquired about their reason for standing outside, he submitted that some of them were yet to pay. He said the hotelier said that if they don’t pay, they will not be able to secure an accommodation. I said, ‘that means that I will not enter as well, because as far as I am concerned, I signed for this excursion.’ I would have backed out because the two other lecturers I spoke with who are expected to go with us for the excursion turned down the request because they said the President lacks integrity and that they cannot have anything to do with him. Hearing this, if I had also decided not to go, AFASites would say that it is Sub-Dean that did not sign the paper for the excursion. The President only gave me the names of 73 people listed for the excursion and which are covered by insurance but when we got there, we counted 180 people.
By 3am on the day of visitation, he called me to ask where I wanted to sleep, and I inquired from him where he wanted me to stay, and he replied by saying that I should stay with 300L students but I rejected his suggestion because I needed to respect the privacy of the said students. When I asked about other people who were yet to be accommodated, he could only stammer and then I said, If that was the case, I should be allowed to stay on the bamboo bed that is close to the beach and that I don’t need the accommodation because I know the kind of person he is. I wanted to get the Executive Royal Suite for myself but the reporter for Tribune newspapers opposed such plan because, they might start going about to tell people that they secured the accommodation for me. As the Sub-Dean, I should not be sleeping inside a room when some AFASites are sleeping outside. Badagry Prison Yard won the best prison yard in Nigeria in 2013/2014. The reason is that the ewa aganyi, the beans, they eat is eaten with bread. Other prison yards eat it with garri. The ewa aganyi given to the AFASITES could not be compared to the ewa aganyi given to the prisoners. It was to the extent that some of them did not eat. I did not take the food because I know that the kind of food they were given would have not have been bought by the AFASITES had they not been there. And they collected money for it! The names of the 73 people given to me were his. The reason I said he scored 39% is this-he gave me the names of 73 people as the number of those given insurance. And they promised that they are going to visit these places. If you count the number of places, they were more than ten. They visited only two places of the number of places they had listed. 15 places were listed and they sought for the approval and got the signature of the Dean. And when they asked for a staff that would follow them, I also signed. When we were about to come back, I asked them to get the names of all the people that were on the buses as a leader is expected to behave as we were billed to leave early on the day of departure. He did not do that! We left five ladies that called us when we got to Badagry roundabout. We had to wait for them and had a car bring them over because he had almost gotten to Seme border. When we got to Agbara, seven other AFASITES called that they had been left behind. So I called them and told them to meet us in Ibadan if they had money on them. They then spoke to the President who then told them to talk to the Sub-Dean as if it was the Sub-Dean who collected money for the excursion from them. Now, there are some people who paid and who should be sitting down but on our way back, some so-called big boys who are not even on first class or even 2.1, some are even extra year students, without money were desperate to sit down. And so they resorted to slapping somebody who actually paid for the excursion thereby forcing them to stand. The management would look into that, How can you slap your colleague? Maybe they thought that they were not under the school jurisdiction because they were outside and as a staff, it means they did not even respect me. And these people were allowed to enter the bus by the President without payment! So that means the excursion was a total failure. For those who have never been to any excursion before, they may be saying the excursion was interesting probably because they just travelled and because they saw the beach and they think that is all about excursion.
Sir, we learnt that you invited Adeoye Adejare to come and give account of how he spent some of the Association’s money?
It was the FLC that set up the Audit Committee, the Committee then found the President, the Vice-President and some people guilty of misappropriation and they wrote to me that the Faculty management look into it and I had to talk to my boss who directed me to go and set up an investigative panel. I set up an investigative panel comprising of a lawyer who is also a lecturer and two other lecturers. I invited them to come and face the investigative panel but it was only the Vice-President that came and the President did not show up before the panel.
So will there be any punishment that would be melted out on him for not honouring the invitation?
I don’t give punishment. It is at the central level that the appropriate punishment would be melted out based on the recommendations made by the investigative panel. Like the issue of the excursion, I can take it to the central investigative panel because I have evidence but the other issues on ground should be within the members of the investigative committee because I am not a member. But they would recommend appropriate punishment to the Faculty before it can be forwarded to the appropriate quarters.
So it is likely that with the various allegations against the President that sprung up during the excursion and other matters already on ground, he will be processed for SDC?
Yes because it is gross misconduct and even his colleagues who slapped another student on the bus too.
Thank you very much for your time
You are welcome.