I SEE THE RAYS OF HOPE BEAMING…
“I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars” – Stephenie Meyer (Twilight)
My lords, my eyes have seen evils. Against my desire, I have seen sanity being trampled upon and men have degenerated so low to the state of immoral and obnoxious practices all because of power. I have seen men grossly immersed in farcical shows of shame all in the name of Students’ Union politics. Of course, the election has come and gone and we have seen surviving gladiators panting in the arena after a fierce political battle (Congrats to the Redemption Team). However, victories that would have called for celebrations have been poisoned by heavy stenches of slain characters and personalities, inordinate religious intrusions, violence, cursed godfatherism, iniquitous campaigns, management hypocrisy, undue ethnic rivalry and affiliations amongst others. The smoke of these stenches are so intense that one may not see anything close to the rays of hope or anything close to optimistic reflections in future Students’ Union elections.
Nonetheless, my sacred business before this honourable court today is not to be a prophet of doom, but to give effect to the words of our elders who say that when one sees vile and nasty situations and yet one survives, definitely something good and pleasant lies on the way. It is with this strong optimistic lens that I look into the future. The city of Rome as it is often said was not built in a day and even the tallest building in the world, Burj-al-arab took 1,825 days to build. It is normal for perfection not to come in easily. Obviously, excellence comes as a result of constant practices and learning. I believe our union is still learning and I am of the strong opinion that our plight will keep getting better as we painstakingly take our notes from the moving slides of experience.
Furthermore, you will agree with me my lords, that the electioneering process in the University of Ibadan is becoming more vibrant year after year. The rate of awareness is rising beyond its abysmal level. Though some of us are against the usage of expensive posters and noisy jingles by candidates, it cannot be denied that these elements have been some of the basic forces reinvigorating and renewing the interests of the electorates in the electioneering process. From the start-up days of T.cool to the sophomoric era of Edosa down to the “watery aluta days” of BB, it will be highly unfair and prejudicial to say that there has not been remarkable improvement in the level of political apathy and lackadaisical attitude of students towards the Union’s elections. The massive turnout in this year’s election is a pointer to that fact. Now, who says we’ve got no HOPE?
Political maturity is another of such reasons for us to remain optimistic about Students’ Union elections. Two years ago, my lords, Mellanbites boycotted the Students’ Union elections all because of the disqualification of their candidate (Ahmed Adejare) from the presidential race. Similar occurrence happened this year, lo and behold, Zikites refused to tow the same path marched by Mellanbites two years ago! That’s political evolution and maturity, my lords. Autocratic actions taken by the school authority coupled with thoughtless conducts from political opponents that could have sparked up violence were all shrugged off in that spirit. In addition to the above, looking at the crop of the coming generation of students who are likely to take the leadership positions from the present folks, one cannot do but smile that the beautiful ones are growing and the future of the union will be adequately secured in their hands.
Finally, my lords, it is true that we have seen evil and nasty things happen in the just concluded Students’ Union elections, yet we refused to be pessimistic about the future. Just like every infant, our union too has to go through her teething troubles. All these post election stenches are mere heralds of an impending rainfall of sanity.
I rest my case.
THE FUTURE LOOKS BLEAK!
Even when God, in his love for man, said he has no favourite; man, in his love for money and relevance, has anointed his fellow as God’s favourite” – Adebayo George
Like every other Uite, that likes the quietness that characterizes this community, I am glad that the election train has finally gotten to its final station, taking away the noise and commotion that came with the electoral process.
I congratulate the president-elect, Mr. Olufemi Odesola, on his emergence; I sincerely wish that he gets the right map for the rugged roads that dominate our journey as a people. However, contrary to the joy felt by some, that someone finally emerged, mine is of opposing feelings; we have only got a new horseman, the horse still clamours for the attention of seasoned veterinary doctors, to move out of the stable. Our thoughts should be far from accomplishment, like I once said; our war is very much at home with us.
My lords, without prevaricating, the future of UISU is bleak; the violence, bigotry and injustice that characterized the electoral processes are pointers. The bridge that facilitated our movement to this juncture requires serious examination; it bears nasty narratives and pictures that negate our status as scholars and perhaps, the custodians of the future.
The noise following the disqualification of one of the presidential aspirants, Mr. Teslim Ogundiran Teslim, may have died down; however it gives an insight into what subsequent elections could be like. Since the interpretation of a clearly stated stipulation of the constitution, seems a big task for the set of students that made up the electoral committee, I cease to question the necessity of the general studies (GES) course that centres on philosophy and logical thinking!
While one may not like to question the make-up of the electoral committee, one could seek reasons for the involvement and rumoured influence of a representative of the school management, on the electoral committee. Perhaps one should also seek to know the criteria for selecting student members of the committee; the involvement of the subjective editor-in-chief of the male hall 2’s press organization could be one of the rationales for this. We might have dumped notes and identity cards of the last session but we have not forgotten that he was at the centre of the misappropriation case on the press funds of about #60,000. The young man and some other questionable folks that make up this committee will eventually get allowances, and perhaps be found worthy in character and learning at the end of their stay here.
Photographs showing swollen faces and bodily wounds of some of the supporters of the leading aspirants nearly made one announce on Diamond radio that JAJA doctors resume immediately, despite the strike action. My lords, the violence and chaos that occurred are not signifiers of a progressive union. Massive propaganda and character assassinating documents that littered the Facebook group of the union show how desperate people could be for positions and power. Hacking into people’s social media accounts or perhaps fake Facebook chat histories and sponsored scandals could be the least of our worries in latter elections.
UI being a subset of the Nigerian society nearly drowned my thoughts of how repulsive it is for religious and ethnical sentiments to come into place in the selection of student leaders. This does not only insult our status as scholars, it portrays a deliberate attempt, by some, to get involved in a needless fight of classes. The roles played by religious bodies in the electoral process won’t go down as fiction. Since the leaders of the Assembly of Unibadan Christian student fellowships (AUCSF) have not come out to clear the air on those nasty text messages that state that the body endorsed Odesola, many more people could as well take it as true. While religion based participation in electoral process itself is obnoxious, one may be forced to wonder if Johnnexto and Obeta Ameh are freethinkers or Ogun worshippers!
The massive involvement of some alumni also spells doom for the future of the Union. UISU seems to be a replica of the national setup where the leaders we knew in our infancies are still the ones whose pictures still appear on election posters. That the likes of Adelabu Adeola, Tokunbo Salako, Gbemisola Osadua and some other folks, are still part of the decision-making process makes the prospects of godfatherism inevitable.
My lords, the electoral process is not just repulsive, it gives a bleak view of what the future of the Union looks like. I rest my case!
CONCLUSION: This column is about you, it presents the two sides of a case courtesy of two writers from different schools of thought. “Audi alteram partem” means hear the other side before passing your judgment. Take the gavel, make your decision and slam because you are the judge in this courtroom.
UISU ELECTIONS: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
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