TOPE LANRE BELLO
It is no longer news that two students from the Faculty of Arts, Ojo Aderemi of the Department of History and Hamzat Abass Ayodeji AKA Comrade of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages are vying for the position of Students’ Union presidency.
The race to occupy the number one position in the University of Ibadan Students’ Union thickened on Friday, 24th March 2017 as the Association of Faculty of Arts’ Students (AFAS) under the presidency of Shola Ojikutu held an endorsement meeting to produce only one candidate for the post. At the end, it was Ojo Aderemi who got endorsed by the ‘stakeholders’ of the faculty at the expense of Hamzat Ayodeji.
The endorsement was the third for Mr Ojo Aderemi who had earlier been endorsed by his departmental Association, Students’ Historical Society of Nigeria (SHSN) and Nnamdi Azikwe Hall of residence. Ojo Aderemi is a 200 level student of the Department of History. Before his matriculation in 2016 into the department, he had been a diploma student in the same department and it was at this point that he publicised himself to the student populace. So, do not wonder so much how a 200 level student could have the audacity to contest the almighty Union’s presidency. The truth of the matter is, Ojo Aderemi was a stale fresher last year… Little wonder therefore that ‘Remi, for short, is getting the endorsement of the various organisations he belongs.
Ojo Aderemi’s gain is however Comrade’s loss (at least for now). Comrade was beaten to the endorsement of Nnamdi Azikwe Hall’s stakeholders as well as AFAS’. Ayodeji Hamzat is a 300 level student of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages who has got his eyes on the leadership of the Union ever since he got admitted into the University. Predictably however, he is very likely to get the endorsement of his departmental Association, Linguistics Students’ Association (LINSA) as well as her sister organisation, Yoruba Studies Students’ Association of Nigeria (YOSSAN).
The endorsement in itself is not to be seen as a big deal because the stakeholders present were divided on who to endorse. The biggest evidence to this can be seen in the votes polled by the duo. Remi got 22 while Hamzat got 18 out of the total 40 of votes. The difference was just four. It could have gone either ways. It is on this premise one can safely say the president of the Association misfired when he said “AFASites have decided.” Both aspirants enjoyed almost same level of popularity among AFASites.
It is instructive to note the words of the Faculty Legislative Council Speaker who said the endorsement was to provide a stance for AFAS in the upcoming UISU election. This, to him, was to avoid neutrality for AFAS as a student faculty association since “neutrality helps no one.” Yet the endorsement rather than makes AFAS present a single candidate for the position will in the long run divides the Faculty into two power blocs. It can even bring shame to the Association and her leadership if the endorsed candidate does not eventually win. Or more bitingly, if the unendorsed candidate wins…
The point that the endorsement meant and means nothing cannot be over flogged. We have heard and seen instances where unendorsed candidates won elections over the endorsed ones. The story of Babatunde Badmus, an unendorsed candidate from Independence Hall winning the UISU presidency over the endorsed candidate of the Hall, Senator Enoch is still a talk of the town wherever discussions about the invalidity of endorsement is being made. We have even heard of a situation whereby an endorsed candidate later brings shame to the platform that has endorsed him. A point of reference is the case of Adegbola ‘Femi the current General Secretary of the Students’ Union who was caught cheating in an examination hall. Many are even of the opinion that an aspirant who easily steps down from a race they have greatly committed to is nothing but a kin of a fellow who did not really believe in himself and so was only waiting for someone to shut him down. All fingers still point to “SICK” hall.
Should we even be sure of who the eventual candidate will be? Many an aspirant in the past had been disqualified few days to the election while some actually stepped down from the race. We have reference materials from ‘Jare to TOT, to Johnexto amongst others. This point needs mentioning because the endorsed candidate’s CGPA at the last checking was not up to the minimum required for aspirants for UISU position. Notwithstanding the assuredness with which the candidate has been talking about the rectification of the result, one cannot still be too sure. Did Johnnexto too not brag that there was a mistake in his results? The writer therefore advises both aspirants to go on with their political scheming. May the best candidate win!