AFAS P: May we know you?
SHOLA: I am Ojikutu Shola Gabriel, a student of the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan. They call me Shola Progress.
AFAS P: So what is your mission with respect to the forthcoming AFAS election?
SHOLA: Yes, the forthcoming AFAS election, we are actually coming out to do things better. So I am vying for the post of AFAS president. I think it is time for us to do traditions untraditionally.
AFAS P: You use ‘we’, are you contesting the position as a group?
SHOLA: I am using the ‘we’ because it is a collective thing as an association. So it is a kind of AFASites’ thing not a self-focused ambition.
AFAS P: So you are contesting for the post of AFAS president?
SHOLA: Yes sir.
AFAS P: What plans do you have for AFASites?
SHOLA: Generally, we are trying to blend two things together: the association and the people in the association. We believe that without people, the association cannot stand on its own. So we are trying to give AFASites the best, and how can we achieve that? It is by blending academic excellence with social creativity to see what AFASites would get after leaving school.
AFAS P: So how ready are you for AFAS presidency apart from the noise that is already in the air?
SHOLA: Yes, apart from the noise – I like that- what we have done is that we have started making moves, plans and templates. The traditions which are normally available, we have started having issues on ground with them so we have started working on them. So that is the only thing on ground.
AFAS P: You kept on emphasizing on tradition, which tradition are you really referring to?
SHOLA: Thank you very much. Generally, over the years, AFASites who have contested for the post have come to us talking about tutorials, past questions and all that. That’s the tradition then. But this time around, it has not actually worked specifically, so we are looking for how well we can actually redraft that and make things better than just following this trend that has not worked for us.
AFAS P: So the only tradition you are going to work towards is academic tradition?
SHOLA: No, not really, the social activities which in the long run has got more of our funds. We are looking at how well we can rebuild it, rejuvenate it in such a way that it would no longer gulp our funds, but rather add value to the association both financially, mentally and intellectually.
AFAS P: There will be less social activities when you emerge as AFAS president?
SHOLA: Thank you very much; there will not be anything less in social activities. It is going to be a perfect blend of academic excellence and social activities, so we are not going to reduce anything. However, we are saying these social activities will not just gulp our money. They will add to us intellectually.
AFAS P: It is an open secret that you supported with passion the current president during the last election. Can you say you have been pleased with the Adeoye-led administration?
SHOLA: Thank you Mr. Pressman, but permit me to tell you that I did not support the name mentioned, I supported the ideology, which is dynamism and if I did not support the same administration, I’m sure AFASites thought well because the result of the election can actually say. But talking about the administration, if the administration might not have done very well, I think there are few things they have done well.
AFAS P: So what are those things they’ve done very well and where are those areas you feel they’ve not performed up to the optimum level?
SHOLA: Thank you. Let’s begin with the issue of Mike Okiro which they’ve actually commercialized. So in that situation we have the association generating funds a little…..Sorry the executives generating funds for the association and that is enough. In the issue of not doing well, I think I have not seen more of academic mentorship and seminar. So I think in that, is a loophole.
AFAS P: Mr Shola, what’s your take on godfatherism?
SHOLA: godfatherism…… That question sounds very errm…. Interesting. But I will begin by saying godfatherism depends on what you think it is. So I would like you to define what you mean by godfatherism..
AFAS P: Mr Shola, there are so many insinuations around that this election that you have a particular person who is your political godfather and who you think with his support, you are good to go.
SHOLA: Thank you very much. This is not errm… That’s an assertion which you’ve heard. But I will tell you, I don’t have any godfather. AFASites are one and together. In this race, I need them. Not a godfather.
AFAS P : ( Cuts in) so what’s the relationship between you and the current AFAS president?
SHOLA: Oh! The current president is just an AFASite, like you Mr. Pressman and other AFASites… Sorry, he is an AFASite just as you the pressman is an Afasite. So we are friends based on the fact that every AFASite is my friend.
AFAS P: Mr Shola Ojikutu, if this were last year , I mean if we had a Team Dynamism contesting again with Afolabi Olamilekan of Classics and Ayoola Olorun of Linguistics, would you still have supported Adeoye Adejare as AFAS president?
SHOLA: In this situation, I would still have supported him because it was the ideology I supported not the name. So I would like you to understand.
AFAS P: Mr. Shola, The most talked about issue in global politics is the election in the USA that will take place on Nov 8 between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton with the public giving the chance to the latter. On this background, do you think you have any chance against a lady?
SHOLA: Thank you very much. When we talk about contesting, I don’t see it as contesting against a lady. She is a candidate, I am a candidate. So it is not about gender but the agenda. Like you said, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, both of them are playing a card on ground. They are giving Americans what they have and so Americans can decide. The same thing here, we are going to give AFASites our agenda. My opponent will also present hers. So, I am still saying, it is about agenda not gender.
AFAS P: So if you were to pick one fascinating feature about your opponent, what would that be?
SHOLA: She is friendly.
AFAS P: Do you think you have better programmes for AFASites than your opponent?
SHOLA: Thank you very much, I don’t know her agenda but I think I do have things.
AFAS P: If purpose approaches you now and presents her programmes and at the end of the day, you discover that she has better programmes than you, will you step down for her?
SHOLA: I like what you just said “better programmes” than I do. Our programmes are not edged on personality; we have to consider the choice and opinions of AFASites.
AFAS P: Whichever way the election goes, will you still work with purpose after the election?
SHOLA: Errm… I will work with her with all sincerity and unity, as long as it is all in the interest of the Association.
AFAS P: If eventually you lose, will you work with…
SHOLA: (Cuts in) We are not anticipating failure in this game.
AFAS P: So if you had not vied for the position of presidency in the faculty, what would you have settled for in the executive council?
SHOLA: Plainly speaking, if I had not contested for this post I would be only going for the act of mentorship. I would like to be a mentor to the junior AFASites.
AFAS P: I mean in the executive council.
SHOLA: I have never thought of any other position. It’s just the presidency.
AFAS P: So what’s your political ideology; Conservatism or Radicalism?
SHOLA: (Long pause) I am a liberal person.
AFAS P: You are a liberal person? Even in this era when the university management are gagging up students with respect to their rights and other things and you still consider liberalism an Ideal ideology?
SHOLA: When I say I’m being liberal, I’m saying at this point, we are trying to be sure and conscious about protecting the welfare of our members and it is to fight for the right of everyone so…..
AFAS P: (Cuts in) Which of the aspirants for the position of the General Secretary are you endorsing?
SHOLA: I don’t have to endorse anybody. Whosoever AFASites decide to vote, I would work with the person.
AFAS P: Okay, Mr Ojikutu Shola, your words for Afasites before you go for the poll.
SHOLA: Okay, my words for Afasites is that we should try to blend our Academics together with our social life and never forget that we need more entrepreneurial skills to face the larger world when we leave here.
AFAS P: Thanks for speaking with AFAS Press.
SHOLA: It is my pleasure, sir.