AFAS Press recently engaged the University of Ibadan Students’ Union presidential aspirants in order for them to articulate their plans and stake their claims to the coveted seat of the presidency of the Premier Students’ Union. Here is COMRADE telling UItes why he should be elected on the 29th of April 2017…
AFAS PRESS : Can we meet you?
COMRADE HAMZAT: Thank you so much members of AFAS Press, I am HamzatAbass,Ayodeji, a.k.a . Comrade, An aspirant for the U.I.SU presidency. I am a 300Lstudent of Linguistics Department and I major in Yoruba. I am a Zikite. I attended Makehay International Comprehensive College. It is a group of schools where we have primary and secondary schools. I left and proceeded to Methodist Grammar School, Bodija ,here too, for my SSCE which I finished in 2006. In 2008, I gained admission into a college of education precisely Emmanuel Alayande College of Education in oyo to study English political science so I finished there 2010/11. After that, I taught within 2011/13. In 2013, I gained admission through direct entry into Ekiti State University, an affiliate of that Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, to study English Education. In 2015, I gained admission into the University of Ibadan to study linguistics Yoruba.
AFAS PRESS: so, what is your stake in the forthcoming Students’ Union election?
COMRADE HAMZAT: being an aspirant of U.I.SU president, I so much believe in the Union and that is why I am coming with an agenda which is tagged solidarity, what we can achieve as a union transcends voting candidates but also giving our supports. Voting alone is not enough and that is one of the problems we have been encountering in our union. As far as University of Ibadan is concerned, if you can agree with me, comparing the University of Ibadan union to that of others, the problem we have is not lacking of the intellectuals but the consciousness of the intellectuals is the problem. Do we have their conscience? When we have their conscience, we will let them know that this union is for U and I. And when we don’t have their support after the election, how will you expect the administrative to function? This is not the time for any promise. Let’s make it simple, fundamental things: let’s try to ‘solidarise’ U.I; let them know that the union is to educate them beyond the academic setting we have in the classroom.
AFAS PRESS: you said the past SU administrations have failed in some aspects. Can you explicate on those areas where you think they have failed?
COMRADE HAMZAT: I don’t want to answer this question as politician, rather as a unionist. I am a student-politician but I wouldn’t like to see it that way. They did the best they could. Maybe that was the agreement between them and those people that gave them the mandate—who knows? So, let’s believe that they did what they could and this present ones are doing what they can. As far as I am concerned, one thing I will continue to say is that University of Ibadan Union is not having total awareness and total participation of UItes. We cannot have the participation of everybody but let’s have the participation of the majority.
AFAS PRESS: Mr. Comrade. Your point that the problem of the University of Ibadan union is not the lack of intellectuals but the lack of consciousness of these intellectuals seems to indict you too, as you are just responding to the clarion call since about three years that you have been in the University?
COMRADE HAMZAT: I can remember that when I was in 100level, despite the fact that I was in 100level, I was co-opted as a member of the Students’ Representative Council. Apart from being a co-opted member, I assisted the administration then. Immediately after my co-opted membership in 2015/16, I contested as member of the Students’ Representative Council for Zik Hall constituency and I won. If I’m not mistaking, And there is something I will always say: that I have contested for any post in the Department is not a matter of pride; but the fact is, there may be a problem with the administration because when you have packages that are more sophisticated than that very system.
COMRADE HAMZAT: No. I am very sure that the intellection I have as far as unionism is concerned would best fit for the circumstances we have now in the University of Ibadan Student Union. As regards the question about why I have not tested my popularity, the position I could have contested for might have been in my Department or the Faculty but I think this is the best time I should contest and serve the Union.
AFAS PRESS: But don’t you think charity begins at home?
COMRADE HAMZAT: Fine, I will be very happy to say this: I have been a good statesman in my Department. I’m also proud to say that I’ve been a reference point to student politicians in my department and I can remember there was a time they called me to contest for the president of that very department but I told them that the time is coming that what I aim contesting will be known—that of the faculty too. I know I have what it takes to be a union president than that of any faculty thing. That is why I intentionally decided not to contest. For now, contesting as union president, I see that as the right time to come out as an aspirant.
AFAS PRESS: You have been defeated on several occasions and at different platforms by Ojo Aderemi namely those defeats in the hall of residence, the faculty and even in some of the opinion polls, do you still see a glimmer of hope?
COMRADE HAMZAT: I surely see aim to my aspiration. The reason being I always believe in one thing that for a wise person, popularity is not disability. In politics, it’s not popularity that guarantees one’s emergence. If popularity is what determines the winner, then we still have another story to tell about the situation because that is not true.
AFAS PRESS: What do you think about the endorsements at the faculty and you hall of residence?
COMRADE HAMZAT: Let me comment on that of the Zik Hall endorsement: it’s okay we have three aspirants. I am still the best candidate they have. It is not about pride. You see, there are certain political gimmicks that went there. They knew it. I can say it to the eyes of any stakeholder. Fine, the stake is okay. I’m not blaming them for that but can they tell me that these stakeholders—as they are being called—have spoken the mind of Zikites?
AFAS PRESS: Are you saying you have so many enemies amongst the stakeholders?
COMRADE HAMZAT: Not enemies but you know, the people could have been in the best position to choose whomever it is that they want; and that of the faculty of arts too, anyway I don’t have anything against anybody but I will still continue to say this: either political gimmick or whatsoever, politics is a game and it will remain so for life. I will never allow the opinion of the stakeholders make me step down. I don’t settle for less.
AFAS PRESS: So, in other words, you are prepared for victory?
COMRADE HAMZAT: Yes and I know that, with God, I’m able.
AFAS PRESS: Mr. Hamzat, can we please do away with politicking a bit and ask about your closeness to the university. How conversant are you with the university?
COMRADE HAMZAT: Ordinarily, I’m close to the university, let me say, averagely; to the union, averagely too and the reason for making it average is this: I would have said it in a very long way if not for certain reasons and what are the reasons? Now, the present administration, I mustn’t be too close to the executives being a member of the SRC. You know, we are watchdogs to one another, being two arms. But during the time I was co-opted, either I want it or not, I was very close to the executive council then and I know certain things about how things went in the Union and the management.
AFAS PRESS: With your average proximity to the Union and the university, could you please identify the problems with the Union and the University and suggest tenable solutions to each?
COMRADE HAMZAT: That of the union, whenever we want to stage anything, we have little or no strategy on ground and whenever we fail to plan, we plan to fail. That’s as regards the union.
AFAS PRESS: Do you mean the current administration does not have a plan?
COMRADE HAMZAT: Don’t really put that into my mouth. I’m generalizing. Yes. I’m generating this from the fact that you asked of what I could identify. You know, I have a right to my opinion. So, as far as I’m concerned, more strategy is what we need in the union. It’s not just jumping at things anyhow
AFAS PRESS: Okay. Mr. Hamzat, if you would shift grounds for any of your running mates, who would that be and what would be the reason?
COMRADE HAMZAT: The fact still remains that as far as I, Hamzat Abass Ayodeji A.K.A. Comrade is concerned, I’m not ready and will not even let you believe that I may step down. The reason is because I still see myself as the most capable for this very position.
AFAS PRESS: at a point in time, you could be said to be second fiddle to OjoAderemi. Now some people are of the opinion that you are now third in the count, tipping Valentinus ahead of you and pointing attention to his financial strength.
COMRADE HAMZAT: It depends on the perspective you are looking at it. As far as the issue of finance is concerned, Union elections shouldn’t be about finance. It’s beyond that. If we are to take union as it should be, money shouldn’t be the most important.
AFAS PRESS: But, can the Union function without money?
COMRADE HAMZAT: No. Union administration running without money is quite different from running for that position with money. That is beyond what it is supposed to be. Doing fundamental things is what we need money for. What are those fundamental things? Creating awareness, probably posters and if you have interest, jingles. So, those should be the fundamental things that we can spend on.
AFAS PRESS: What do you mean by the sobriquet ‘Comrade” and what is your political ideology?
COMRADE HAMZAT: Anyway, comrade, being a freedom fighter, may not refer to what you mean but the fact still remains that by the time you are the type that can serve as mouthpiece for others, you can bring happiness to people by letting them have the good portion of the dividend of the union, you are a comrade. Not really going in a gag way with the management, I will always say something as a unionist, you have to, maintain two edges—one sharp, the other blunt. The situation will now determine the one to be used. It’s not every time that we will go gaga with them. We do stay diplomatically but when we see that that is failing, we order with the request of a congress. When we see that this is the next thing to do, we won’t fail to take to take the right measure; the right measure you can understand.
AFAS PRESS: Okay. To end on this note, can you intellectually, without campaigning, convince uites that you and not any of the other running mates of yours deserve their mandat?
COMRADE HAMZAT: As far as I am concerned, I will always ay on thing: not every promise will make you be a good union administrator but the simple ones I’m promising uites is that when we can solidarise, there is tendency we achieve more than what we are seeing now if at all you will believe we are achieving anything—just let me say it that way. The fact still remains that I as a person having it in mind that the first thing we should do is to unite Uites the more. That will now give us that very chance to pull things and achieve so many of them because we are not in a perfect system. We may not be able to achieve everything but whatever we achieve will be a stepping stone for other administrations. I’m not promising a perfect union but a journey to perfection is what I’m promising to start through me. To now promise heaven and earth will just be a kind of duplicate of what people did in the past just to have their votes.