The omens are bad. The signs are ominous.
The omens are bad. The signs are ominous. A peep into the immediate future of our dear Association shows another round of castrated opportunities to get it right. Clinton Chibueze’s leadership of the Faculty Legislative Council (FLC), at its inception, was welcomed with the enthusiasm akin to the one shown Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government of Nigeria. One was quick to assume, a very great misassumption at that, that sanity would be restored to the FLC after years of the misfortune of being plagued by the leadership of the likes of Adekiitan Yemi and his immediate predecessor, the man “who escaped dwarfism”.
It was last week that the writer learnt of the appointment of the members of AFAS Audit Committee for the 2016/17 session. The members are Mathew Oluwaseun Ayodele (of History), Samuel Seyi Onibonoje (of History), Silas Oritseseun Richard (of Religious Studies) and Izuchukwu John (of Music). On the surface, it appears nothing is wrong with the selection of the committee members. But dear readers, many things, in fact so many things are damnably wrong with the composition of the members. This is not a matter of constitution but of common sense, fair play, social justice, responsibility and accountability.
The composition of the committee and the choice of its chairman is a bad omen because it signals that a certain cabal has been instituted to run AFAS from two key areas – the legislature and the auditing. To set the record straight, Mr Mathew Ayodele was the, ‘so to speak’, the campaign manager of Mr Chibueze while the latter was campaigning to be the speaker of the House. So it was a simple deal: give and take na d way. The kind of what the Yorubas will call gba mi l’ojo ki n gba e l’erun stuff, that is, help me when I am in need and I will return the favour. And here we are with Ayodele Mathew being the Audit Committee chairman.
And to assist the Chairman is one classmate and a good friend of his, Samuel Seyi Onibonoje. Together with the Speaker of the House, Onibon, as he is popularly called, and his chairman belong to the same clique. And on what basis is Silas nominated! I cannot remember Silas ever making any original contribution to the FLC while he was an honourable member of the Council. The only commendable nomination in the committee is Izuchukwu John, that vibrant former honourable member from Music constituency. He has shown on many an occasion to be a man of sound judgement and great integrity. This piece is not in any way calling him a saint devoid of political bias as we know his anxiety during the last politicking in AFAS. Who among us did not have their prejudice anyway! But a rich man in the midst of three poor chaps is also poor. The best of morals will be easily drowned by the ocean of partisanship.
And yet many will still ask, what exactly is wrong with the composition of the committee and its chairmanship. David Okanlawon was the speaker of the FLC two sessions back and many referred to the administration as the most corrupt and indeed they might not be far from the truth. The pressman, Tope Lanre Bello, who acted as the Secretary of the Audit Committee in the year would admit that he saw things. In spite of the corrupt tag the tenure tried fruitlessly to discard, David Okanlawon never made his associates members of the Audit Committee. The chairman of the committee that year was Owonikoko Mark Akorede. Owonikoko was a congressman member of the committee. The duo were never enemies but yet were not close. Neither were other members of the committee friends to the speaker. Shola Gabriel Ojikutu (yes, the very AFAS president of the present dispensation), a member of the House at the time was also a member and he gave the speaker a very tough time. He even gave him the title – the man who escaped dwarfism. A member of the committee who probably became charmed by David was John Uyabeme who later became the committee in the following year. Another member of the committee, a certain Imoleayo from Theatre Arts was simply anti any government in power. And again, it was David Okanlawon that nominated all of them. The only member of the committee not nominated by the Speaker was Tope Lanre Bello, who was the Secretary of the Committee.
Last year’s audit session was not any better for the leadership of the House. Adeyemi Isaac Adekiitan was the speaker of the FLC during one of the darkest days of the council in recent history. Yet again, it was to the credit of Yemi that he ensured the independence of the Audit Committee of his time. None of the nominated members of the committee were ever his close pals before they were nominated. Lukman Oluwakayode Salabiu (of European Studies), Sunday Popoola (of Religious Studies), Moruff Adekola Aderemi and the Committee chairman, John Uyabeme were the members nominated by the FLC. Tobi Idowu, from AFAS Press, was the Secretary. Had ‘Yemi lived fully to the public view of him, he would have just made his friend, Tobias Benjamin, the chairman of the committee and filled the committee with other friends of his or dummies that would not dare to challenge him.
The composition of the committee becomes worrisome because the session has just started. Even Yemi almost convinced us last year that he had got some leadership skills from God-knows-where. It was towards the end of the session that we learnt that the leadership lesson he got was half baked. If at this stage, we are already having causes to be dreadful of the immediate future.
And like the eco-political trajectory of Nigeria, it has been a downhill slide for AFAS especially at the FLC level such that the buffoonery immediate leader has always been better than their predecessor. Or have we not already begun to say Jonathan’s administration was even after all better than Buhari’s. It is such a pathetic situation. And today, Clinton seems to have made a saint out of Yemi. At least, Yemi did not make his friends and associates judges over how he spent AFAS money.