Thursday, 8 July 2021

ACJ's Exclusive Interview With The Chairman Of Students' Union Electoral Commission


"I am not a successful electoral chairman until the administration I hand over to transcends. That is my major concern..."


The management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Division of Student Affairs, conducted an election for the  Electoral Commission and  Petition on Tuesday, 6th July 2021. The election followed the reinstatement of the Students’ Union and saw representing commissioners from all 13 faculties voting to elect the leadership of the commission and petition.

Association of Campus Journalism (ACJ) in its quest to be actively involved in the Students' Union election held an exclusive interview session with Mr Ajayi Oluwafemi, the Chairman of the Great Ife Students' Union Electoral Commission.

ACJ: Congratulations on your emergence. For the purpose of introduction, kindly introduce yourself.

"Thank you very much. My name is Ajayi Oluwafemi popularly known as Efem Castro, 400l from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences. I’m from Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.

ACJ: What is the motivation behind your interest to contest for the Chairman of the Students' Union Electoral Commission?

“The motivation is the quest to serve. It has always been my dream. The dream was actually to either serve as the Speaker or the Welfare Director of the Great Ife Students’ Union. It was never my dream to serve as the Chairman of the Electoral Commission. But then, I know God's will and I want to serve Great Ife Students’ Union.

Motivation is not power, motivation is a quest. Understanding your environment and knowing you have what it takes to effect change. This is not theory, it is practical. I am not a politician but the normal politician will tell you that change in the real sense is the real meaning of change.”

ACJ: We understand that the commissioners are from different faculties, we have about 13 faculties in the school.  So, they may have their own interests to project. As a way to serve the students, what are you going to do to ensure that your synergy will keep these interests at bay?

“Yes, we have 13 commissioners from different faculties. That means there will be different stakeholders with different interests, different thinking and the likes. In our first meeting, I told them, fine, you might have gone through different experiences with politics in their faculties. But here, you are here in your name. Whatever you do will be recorded in your name, not in the name of any stakeholder, not in anybody’s name. So, before you push any wrong interest that is contrary to the custom and tradition of Great Ife Students’ Union, remember your name, like the Yorubas will say, remember the son of whom you are. So, it is just working together as a family to ensure the common goal of Great Ife Students’ Union credible election that will deduce the scientific Aluta that OAU is known for and to produce a long-lasting Union is achieved. That is my major interest.”

ACJ: How do you plan to satisfy aggrieved parties?

“I will try as much as possible to make sure I bring everybody on board.”

ACJ: Do you think that is realistic?

“It is realistic, I have been meeting with some persons to settle some scores and massage their egos. I am meeting with all to ensure that everyone is on board. I will do my best to bring everyone together.”

ACJ: We understand that you have your personal goals towards the Students’ Union. How will you ensure that there will be a free and fair election?

“Free and fair election starts from consultation. At least I should be able to contact, if I am serious with this Union, I should be able to contact 5 past electoral chairmen, past presidents at least 5 and major stakeholders. They should tell us what they have done, how they were able to have a successful election and what they consider wrong. From their experiences, we can gather what they were able to do right and what they did wrong. How we can gather that is my own way of ensuring we have a free and fair election. Consulting them is a personal decision that will ensure a free, fair and credible election. To a very large extent, I have witnessed 3 union elections on this campus, I have the experience.”

ACJ: Have you achieved any major academic feat, like a degree?

“No, I have been staying around OAU campus for a while.”

ACJ: How would want to measure your achievement at the end of the whole election?

“Oh! Do I have a standard? No. I don’t know if that is correct to say but I have a vision. Until that is accomplished, I cannot measure it. I am not a successful electoral chairman until the administration I hand over to transcends. That is my major concern.”

ACJ: What if the job of the electoral petition counters yours?

 “If there is a petition and I sit on it, the worse that will happen is that there will be a rerun. And when there is a rerun, it will still be handled by the electoral commission.

ACJ: How do you plan to work with the electoral Petition?

“It’s actually a difficult question. They have a responsibility and the responsibility is to attend to all post-election petitions.  By the special grace of God, I don’t want to work with them.”

ACJ: But you cannot put out the fact that there will be controversies.

“Yes, there will be controversies. At least, the last election, there was just one. Which is HAC, Angola hall; Coker Vs TPaul. The petitions upturned the election. There was no rerun, so the first runner up had to step up to become the general secretary of Angola hall. That was in 2016. The election before that too was in 2014 and there was no petition.”

ACJ: In your release, you stated that you will stand as the acting president of the Students’ Union. We know what July 10 is and the students on campus are not informed enough about July 10. So what are your plans towards sensitizing the students about July 10?

Unofficially, there is a committee that has been on the ground, either passive or not, that has been hosting an event every July 10 since 2017. That is the action committee. The action committee is planning and we have every intention to make it elaborate because July 10 must not die.”

ACJ: Skipping this year’s inauguration is a very bad thing?

“I made a vow to God that if the inauguration should pass July 10, I will tell my faculty that I am not doing again.”

ACJ: That means you are going to ignore the fact that you had a vision?

“The vision will be punctured if July 10 is forgotten. After all what am I going to do? Usher in executives and students that will not understand? The union is coming in 2021 but if the inauguration won’t hold on July 10th is more like saying that we are not ready. The school management should understand that July 10th is a security to OAU community both students and non-students as far as their own OAU soil is concerned. Before the end of July 8th we are going to have a security committee.”

ACJ: What roles will the media play?    

“Even if the media may not be in place for now, I am going to employ some TV guys and some media outlets to help us push July 10 program. We have to acknowledge the Action Committee because they have a beautiful plan and they have been running it since 2017. So we want to work with the Action committee and elaborate their plans.”

ACJ: How will the security committee be set up considering that you are the electoral committee?

“There is going to be a congress but due to the fact security issue must be taken as a matter of urgency, the congress is not totally a good idea because it will take time. We will organize an Active Union Executive which will comprise all faculty representatives. Every student of this school has a faculty so each faculty will have a representative in the committee. Their responsibility will be to inform their faculty. We are also going to send a broadcast out that if students are interested in joining the security committee. After those interested apply, we are going to screen them. About the congress and all, we'll see how it goes in the coming days after proper considerations.

ACJ: Are you going to this all in one day?

“That’s why there is a plan A and plan B. The plan A is talking to the faculty representatives who will then relay the message to their faculty members and bring in people with good characters. Then we will screen them at the executive meeting.”

ACJ: How do you ensure that the media is well utilized for the reportage?

“There are people that will ensure that the media is well utilized. I can never underrate the power of the media. I am going to have a meeting with ACJ, who is the motherhood of all media outlets on OAU campus. I am also going to reach out to TV guys.”

ACJ: Do you mean the PRs on campus; the WhatsApp TVs?


ACJ: You have good plans and we hope you will be true to your words.

"We want everyone to participate. Like the congress we are considering. The idea is to make it all-inclusive. We will try as much as possible to hold unto this idea"

ACJ: Thank you Mr. Chairman. We wish you success in your preparations.













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