With the scandal from the just concluded SALT Excursion, the suspended AFAS President, Adejare Adeoye of the Department of Communication and Language Arts gives his say about what really happened. Excerpts…
What is the state of AFAS?
AFAS is in a very good state, although I have been presently suspended as the president of the Association, but base on the last information I had, the Association is moving on fine.
What can you say about your suspension and why were you suspended?
Well, I think one of the reasons was on the issue of improper planning and other issues related to the just concluded SALT excursion, that’s all I can say about it.
Do you agree that the excursion was a total flop?
To me SALT was never a flop and I think the best set of people to determine the success and failure of a concept or an ideology are those who were involved. I suggest the press conduct a survey to determine the success from the participants. Personally, SALT was never a flop because the accommodation and transportation packages were far better than that of the last tenure.
Why then were you suspended, if SALT wasn’t a flop?
I was suspended for improper logistics which does not out rightly mean that the excursion was a flop, I suggest that the press should sample the success of the excursion from then option of those that witnessed it before concluding that it was a flop.
Does that mean to say that your suspension was not justified?
I can’t say whether it is or not, that’s what the House has to say.
It was said by the Sub Dean that the pre-visit which was your responsibility wasn’t done. What can you say about that?
First, I will like you to know that the excursion was supposed to be championed by the Social Director. I called the Social Director but she said she had classes and I also called the Vice President and she said she had presentations and we should postpone it to Thursday. The way we have been running things is that if I am not around, I make sure the General Secretary is around. That was the reason; it was not as if I just decided to go on my own.
Also, concerning whether I went or not, I actually went. Few people believe I didn’t go because when we got to Badagry, I was in the same bus with the Sub-Dean, so we were talking about the way to go and we missed our way and we later called people from the hotel and they told us to wait that they would come and pick us. That doesn’t mean I didn’t go there. If I come to your house for the first time, that doesn’t mean I already know the way. My Social Director went a day before we travelled and if I didn’t go, they would have told her that I didn’t come.
Rumors have it that you are running a one-man show; the whole idea of SALT was done by you alone and that you didn’t carry the members of the executive along, what’s your response to that?
Personally, the person I have carried along the most in everything we have done so far is my General Secretary because of his dedication to work, he is always available and very dedicated. Few weeks to GES exams, he sort for permission to face his academics squarely, so he could meet up with some tests and assignments he had missed, so he could cover up for his lost academic space. Whether we like it or not if we have nine executives members, everybody cannot function very well, so sometimes when we call for meetings and some do not show up when there’s no exam, so is it when there’s exam that they even have evidence not to show up for the meeting that they would now come for the meetings? You can confirm from my PRO at least in the process of attending meetings towards the excursion he attended like two meetings with me, I didn’t call my General Secretary at that period because he approached me that he wanted to face his academics squarely. This is somebody that was always dedicated and available, so if he asked for some space to face his exams, I see no point in not allowing him or trying to enforce him to come to the office when he is preparing for exams, and that’s why he got the information late. Also, it was expedient for us to finalize about the excursion having noticed that four thousand naira could not take us to Badagry and if we delay till when every executive member is available, which was after exams, when do we want to relay any increase on the cost of the excursion to all?
Therefore it’s not a matter of running the administration as a one-man show. That’s not true at all, the Sports Director organized the Super Four, even our administrative budget was single handedly done by the General Secretary, of which the members of the Council can attest to, I didn’t handle that, I also didn’t handle the Vice President’s Freshers’ Welcome, I don’t handle money with the Treasurer, I don’t handle the Financial Secretary’s account. So I don’t understand the point of being running a one-man show, but I think that came up basically because of the excursion, of which we had to make that decision fast and that came in during exam period. I am not running a one-man show, nobody can run a one man show! AFAS belongs to everybody. It’s just a misconception from a few of them it’s not like that at all.
What’s your opinion concerning the Sub-Dean’s interview?
The Sub-Dean is like an uncle to me, if I have personal issues with him or against him, he has the right as an elder statesman to correct me, for instance in Yoruba land, it is normal for an elder statesman to be angry about whatever error a younger person commits. He was and he will still be my uncle. So, my opinion concerning what he said is that he was just correcting me and all what he said is out of love. Don’t you think the Sub Dean is better than those who have something against me but are not saying it? So, whenever anybody expresses their opinion concerning one of my errors, I appreciate every point in time, because it’s an avenue for reflection, it’s an avenue to review my action and inaction when next I have opportunity to,
What exactly was he correcting you on?
He was correcting me about the need for me to have avoided a few errors that we made concerning logistics at the excursion so that when we have subsequent programs, we would try and avoid such. And most of what the Sub-Dean spoke about, he was referring to the Executive Council, but somebody must take the blame, and as the head of the Executive Council, I have to take the blame.
Rumours have it that you might face the Students’ Disciplinary Committee. What’s your say about that?
First, the excursion wasn’t a failure, and secondly, you said it was a rumour. So, I don’t know.
It’s also said that you offended some members of staff of the Faculty and they are seriously angry at you, do you have anything to say concerning that?
Like I said earlier, most of those you think you know are like uncles to me, so they have every moral right to criticize me out of the love they have for me and they are saying that Adeoye, it shouldn’t have been you, why do you make all these kinds of errors and all that, which is normal, so I don’t think they are trying to witch-hunt me, I think they are trying to knock me back to shape. I also believe that whether we like it or not criticism is good, in any democratic setting it must be allowed, so that the people at the helm of affairs of a particular administration put themselves to check. To me, I don’t think I’ve any issue with one or two lecturers and if there is, I believe they are just correcting me.
When do you think your suspension will expire?
I don’t even know, it’s indefinite
Do you think there is any conspiracy going on against you in the Association?
Well, I can’t really say because to start with, I don’t think there could be a need for any form of conspiracy. AFAS does not belong to anybody, we are all here to try and contribute our own bit to AFAS, and as I like to say whether the devil likes it or not we are all going to leave, so there shouldn’t be any form of conspiracy it should not be a welcome idea.
But there have been threat to some people that seem to have worked against you (for instance your secretary) and it seems the threat is coming from your camp.
Who are those threating him and what are their reasons for such threats? I see no basis to him being threatened because he has been doing his job satisfactorily, so there is no point of threat.
Why do you think the secretary rated the excursion five?
That I don’t know because the Social Director and I rated it seven, while the secretary rated it five. We look at things from different perspective, so he might have his reasons to that, during the excursion when we had the issues, he tried his best and was up to his responsibilities.
Can you rate this administration on the scale of ten?
I rate this administration seven on a scale of ten.
Do you think the festival would not hold?
Well, for me to say that, it depends on when I get reinstated. Let us see how far and it’s not going to be my decision alone; there is going to be a plenary session of the House and all hands must be on deck to decide to determine the feasibility of the programme. But the efforts we have made concerning this program have been so phenomenal; we have had a lot of people come on board and we have tried our best to ensure that we hold this program, and we would still love to have the program but right now, I am incapacitated, since I have been on suspension.
Mr. President is it true that the House approved only fifty thousand naira the art festival?
Yes, it’s true and the reason for that is that, it wasn’t part of AFAS due but what we had generated.
So is there any money available for arts festival?
We even spent that on logistics and other things for the purpose of the festival. And for now, there’s no money available for the festival.
Your words for AFASites
Greatest AFASites! Well, I will like to thank everybody for their support so far, those who are supporting Adeoye Adejare mean well, those who are criticizing Adeoye Adejare also mean well, as a matter of fact I will say I love those who are criticizing me more because they are humans and they believe there is no excuse for failure and I believe that their criticism is a come to action. I say very thank you.