UI: Ojo Aderemi, self promotion, betrayal, suspended students’ union and other untold stories I

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[Analyses]–Bottle breaks…Whistle blows… Trumpet sounds… Such was the mental picture accompanying the full blown shock I experienced in the early hours of Tuesday, having seen members of the Ojo led executive council of the suspended Students’ Union, University of Ibadan openly questioning the votes they secured at the poll. I was still absorbing the shock when another one struck, as a loyal member of the ‘Patriotic Intelligentsia’ and the perceived right hand man of the President openly supported the claims of the executive members, describing Ojo Aderemi as a blackmailer, dishonest fellow and an individual who seeks nothing but self promotion. Of course, when the sun which is known for rising in the east and setting in the west takes a different turn, thus, rising in the west and setting in the east, then it is evident that several incidents had happened during the course of the night.

THE ONE MONTH ADMINISTRATION, STRUGGLE AND SUSPENSION

The Students of the University of Ibadan voted en masse on April 29, 2017 for their preferred political aspirants, with the hope that the aspirants will give to them, the ideal Union they crave—where the welfare of students will be promoted, unity among students will be enhanced, where victimisation of students will be fought against, where the lives of students will be improved and in addition, where strikes will be averted. At the end of the voting exercise, majority of Uites voted Ojo Aderemi as the President of the Students’ Union, which is now suspended. Ojo, during a Press Conference witnessed by campus journalists, under the aegis of the Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan, said he would uphold the previous resolution of the Congress, which was “No ID cards, No ID exam”, since the University management was unable to provide students with ID cards for three semester, which as described by the leadership of the suspended Union, has led to harassment of students in public, loss of scholarship opportunities for students, inability to conduct certain bank transactions, among others.

Since Ojo had promised to give the students a Union where they would be able to make decisions by themselves, the administration called the first Congress where students resolved to uphold the resolution of ‘No ID cards, No exam’ and also to protest on May 29, so as to inform the public of the state of things at the nation’s Premier University. The school management, having heard of the resolution, called the President of the Union, Ojo Aderemi, the Speaker of the Students’ Representative Council, Ibrahim Asiwaju, to a meeting at the Senate Chambers in the eve of May 28, 2017. As described by the Union President, it was later agreed during the meeting with the Vice Chancellor that a member of the Senate will address Uites the next morning (day of the protest), unfortunately no one came. Uites protested peacefully outside the school gate, amidst threat by the Oyo State Commissioner of Police.

It was during the course of the protest that the Vice Chancellor, Professor Idowu Olayinka, in a bid to “deflate the gra gra” of students announced through the University’s Radio station, Diamond FM, that undergraduate activities had been suspended till 17th of July, as students are to vacate their Halls of residence. This ended the protest and saw students moving out of the University with their luggage. The Students’ Union Executive Council and the Students’ Representative Council were later suspended, and this led to the beginning of a new movement—the struggle for the reinstatement of the Students’ Union.

THE PUBLIC OUTBURST: PATRIOTIC INTELLIGENTSIA AND THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

The average Uite might believe that the ‘Patriotic Intelligentsia’ is an ideology, existing only in the abstract realm, but such belief is not true, as there is more to it. The Patriotic Intelligentsia should not be compared to Huntersola’s Redemption Agenda, which was more of an ideology which was to guide the activities of the Huntersola led administration. The ‘Patriotic Intelligentsia’ is a team, comprised of students, which according to a member, Phillip Olatinwon, are patriotic and intelligent and according to another, Temitope Gideon (Temmy Gista), are ready to assist in promoting the welfare of students on campus. Some members see it as a movement while others have likened it to a political party. In all, Ojo Aderemi, the Convener of the team, consults this team most times before making final decisions on several cases. And it was believed in some quarters that this team was even more relevant and powerful than the duly elected executives of the suspended Students’ Union.

However, the public outburst made on one of the very influential whatsapp groups, which comprised of students leaders in several spheres and some alumni, had shown that some members of the Council and some members of the Team have felt a huge sense of betrayal from the President. Particularly, the House Secretary, Mr. Adeyinka Oluwanifemi (Niffi); Assistant General Secretary (Koro); the Public Relations Officer, Olasunkami Usman Rational  (Rational), of the Executive Council as well as Mr. Phillip Olatinwon of the Patriotic Intelligentsia team, were those who publicly expressed their grievances. While I invited all parties involved in the outburst for special interviews, not all granted my request, but some did.

In the words of Phillip Olatinwon, “what led to the public outburst on the WhatsApp page was as a result of things that occurred during the struggle which happened as a result of some errors from the leadership of the Union and these errors were not properly managed. The errors became unbearable when the last Press release came out. I have nothing against the Press release but I have a problem with the way the decision was made, how snappy it was. A lot of things had happened before in which we were trying to manage internally but it got to a point where we could no longer take such and that is why you see some of the executive council members expressing their grievances publicly. It was important for me to also express myself.”

“The problem I have with the release is that such decisions should have been made by the majority because during the campaign, one of the pillars that we had was that decisions were going to be made by students. If that is what we stand for then the decisions of majority should not be made by the minority”, he said. Phillip, who happens to be the right hand man of the President, described Ojo as a dishonest fellow, self promoter and a guru in the field of blackmailing. He said Ojo’s dishonesty is seen when collective decisions are thrown away for his opinion and stance to hold.

Rational, the Public Relations Officer of the Suspended Union, after questioning the votes that led to his emergence alleged that Ojo misplaced priorities when he visited the Lagos State University, to deliver a speech at a programme organised by the ASUU branch of LASU, at the expense of a meeting with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, for the purpose of self glorification. Niffi and Koro also followed the line of questioning their votes they got at the poll, after which they condemned the President on the basis that their opinion at the level of the Union have never ‘held water’.

So according to the claims, it appears that Ojo had been using both the team and the Council in pushing his ideas and plans and making them appear like collective decisions, thus, promoting his image while fueling hate feelings from both end. According to Phillip, “the executives used to believe that their decisions were not welcome since the President of the Union makes the decision from the angle of the Patriotic Intelligentsia, whereas it is not. The same way the executive members are lamenting internally, the same way the members of the Patriotic Intelligentsia team. To us, it was as if it was the executive council that was making the decisions and to the Executive Council, it was like it was the Patriotic Intelligentsia. So he was blackmailing us from each end.”

WAS THERE A SCHEDULED MEETING WITH THE VICE CHANCELLOR?

During the outburst, it was alleged by the Public Relations Officer, Rational, that a meeting which could have led to the reinstatement and granted the demands of the Union was arranged with the Vice Chancellor. He claimed that Ojo has misplaced priorities as he abandoned his responsibilities as President of the Union (suspended) to cater for his personal business. The allegation has questioned the sincerity, priority and motives behind the actions of Ojo, since the period was when Ojo travelled to Lagos to deliver a speech at an event organised by the ASUU branch of LASU. This claim justifies the argument of the aggrieved members of the Council and Team that Ojo’s involvement in the struggle was for not totally for the benefits of students, but to buy a space for himself in public discourse.

Although, members of the Patriotic Intelligentsia had disclaimed this, as Temitope Gideon (Temmy Gista) said that there was never a scheduled meeting with the Vice Chancellor. Phillip also attested to the claim of Gista, stating that there was only a suggestion which they got from a member of the Senate. Phillip said that while Ojo suggested it on the group of the Executive Council, he failed to respond to the suggestions of the Council members for about 72 hours, leaving the Council members with the belief that the meeting was already scheduled. Temmy Gista asserted that what happened was simply miscommunication.

However, it appears that aside from the diplomatic interventions from members of ASUU chapter in the University of Ibadan and the intervention of the Lagos and Abuja branches of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA), Ojo personally has never stretched out to dialogue with the Vice Chancellor based on the demands of the Union as well as its reinstatement. This has granted a sense of justification to the claim among students that he (Ojo) is in a clash of ego with the Vice Chancellor, which makes him rigid on most of his decisions.

OJO: A TEAM PLAYER OR SELF PROMOTER?

A good leader is a team player, by this, he acts based on the collective decisions of the Council members and gives credit, not to himself but the Council as a whole. But does Ojo give credit to his Council members as due? There is no constitutional violation in this regards but a moral one. It has been gathered that some members of the executive Council are displeased with the frequent act of the President, which is mostly to belittle the efforts of the Council members. As gathered, this constitutes another reason for the public outburst. Personally, I could remember during the Press Conference in which was called by the Executive Council and attended by Pressmen on Campus, the Vice President of the Union, Miss Akanni Olamide, had asked me why the Union of Campus Journalists failed to invite her for the Press conference, which translates that she was never aware of the Press Conference in which ‘they’ organised. This is a flaw on the path of Ojo led executive council, as it appears that Ojo has been involved in activities in which even the members of the executive council in some cases are not aware of. Moreover, since the Executive Council, the Patriotic Intelligentsia and the Democratic Socialist Movement are different groups of consultation for Ojo, relying on the opinion of one may be bad choice for him.

WILL THE UNION BE BACK?

The reality is that the suspended Students’ Union will be reinstated, but the question is when? As it appears, the strategy of lobbying is being adopted by the leadership, in partnership with the Council of Faculty Presidents and Hall Chairpersons. Since Ojo wished Uites success in their examinations, indicating that the struggle has come to an end, the only means to getting back the Union is to plead with the appropriate authorities. The diplomacy in which Ojo seem not to be aligned with in practical sense and the lobbying which was previously seen as a ‘no way’ is now the only way to getting back our dear Union. According to a reliable source, work is ongoing towards ensuring that the Union is reinstated as soon as possible, as a meeting with the Vice Chancellor was held on Friday.

RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION

While I must note that Ojo has been on top of his game, upholding the resolution of the Congress and giving his best for the promotion of students’ welfare in the University, it must also be noted that allowing a matter between the Executive Council come into public discourse is a big slap on his face as a patriotic and intelligent leader. Ojo must learn to be flexible in his actions especially in a case the Students’ Union has been handicapped. He must learn not only to carry members of the executive council along in decision making but also prioritize their opinions at the expense of any other group. Ojo must ensure a better relationship with the arm of the Students’ Representatives Council and must ensure sincerity in all his doings. Above all, the Union must be reinstated by any means.

But this is only the beginning, there are still a lot of stories, untold.




Copyright 2017 The Page. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thepageng.com as the source.

Comments

comments

5 Comments

  1. Izuchukwu Temilade John

    July 9, 2017 at 5:12 am

    What a long article Mr. Haleem, so charismatic. first, I will start by pointing out fallacies embedded. You said people voted the union ” where strikes
    will be averted. “, does that sound right? Which average intelligent student would vote a freedom fighter and pragmatic unionist and hope that strikes will be averted?
    Second, your incessant claim of being objective once more is absent in your article. Some members of the executive openly voiced out their complaints and grievances, openly casting aspersions on the personality of the President, and your objective sense propelled you to seek them for an interview ( though declined), you also interviewed the so called Philip Olatinwo ( the only member of Patriotic Intelligentsia that complained, as you failed to identify other members of the patriotic intelligentsia that Philip said were complaining – “The same way
    the executive members are lamenting internally,
    the same way the members of the Patriotic
    Intelligentsia team.”- What a dearth of investigative journalism); your objectivity did not propel you to seek to interview the President, Ojo Aderemi, whose personality was berated. That is not only illogical, but unjust, unequitable, partial, and goes against every mantra of objectivity the press claims to make.

    I don’t know how the press conjure up their articles, but I believe they should guided by simples rules of logic one of which is “he who asserts must prove”. You said “In all,
    Ojo Aderemi, the Convener of the team, consults
    this team most times before making final
    decisions on several cases”, what a defamatory statement and preposterous accusation. Do you monitor closely to know that the President consults the Patriotic Intelligentsia before MAKING ANY DECISION? The Patriotic Intelligentsia ( as I am a member) has only met once, since the President was elected, and that was even before his inauguration, and I believe Ojo Aderemi has made several decisions after that of which he made with his executive members. The Patriotic intelligentsia has never made a decision for the President, the President doesn’t consult the Patriotic Intelligentsia before making decisions, that’s a fallacious statement; the President being a listening leader only listens to suggestions from various uites.

    Lastly, I call again on your objectivity, Mr Haleem, as your conclusion is devoid of any iota of objectivity. If your article merely reported the outburst of some members of the executive council, it could have been merely a case of “reported speech”, but for you to begin to berate Ojo Aderemi shows you have concluded already based on a one sided argument, which is a crude belief that the majority is always right.

  2. Climaxbox

    July 9, 2017 at 5:51 am

    Nice one

  3. Onifade Bello Abdurrahman

    July 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I read this with keen interest. It’s nice and logical. Meanwhile, I’d like to state that the way to get back the Union, which should be priority for a patriotic and intelligent leader is known; but its pragmatic pursuit seems to be illusory because of what you’ve stated herein already: “Ego”. It is time we realized that the coming days are still very pregnant and would unravel some things; hence, I won’t submit that the struggle has ended with the resumption. I am only saddened because patriotism has divorced intelligence; thereby culminating in a loathsome state of stupor.

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  4. Adebowale Riliwan Adeyemi

    July 11, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Let me start without much rhetorics by commending the “objectivity’ that this article portrays in the reversed sense. In fact, it is crystal clear that this article speaks for ‘a hidden agenda’ of the writer or who knows, may be paid for by ‘people of the other side’, Kudos to whoever.The article could have been well presented and ‘the students veiled'(as the article aims) if you have adopted the principle of logic ‘Audi altera partem’- ‘hear the other party’. It can’t be gain said that the article is one-sided.
    It is more painful that the writer hides under a loophole in the executive by presuming unpon some of them. The fallacies has earlier been stated, so no need to stress on this much.

    To Mr Abdurahman,your honorable solutions to the reinstatement of the union would have been much welcomed if presented through the right Chanel rather than grandstanding under the pretence of ‘concern’. As a statesman and a respected fellow,I believe you have the contact of the president. Why not walk up to him with this your ‘ways out’.
    NB: UITES are intellectuals but not ‘group of gullible fellows’, if all you’ve written is in anyway the truth, please ever conscious UITES need ‘convincing references’.
    Thanks

    • Onifade Bello Abdurrahman

      July 11, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Mr Adeyemi, can I draw inference that your reference to my point is myopic and based on conceit. Has he or any member of the suspended union told you they’ve not been given advice?

      We are a people who hate truth. Has the character referred to herein disclaimed the content of this piece or persons like you are the lackeys being used to foster the views that are far from reality and becoming evanescent. Comment with objectivity. The fact that an article doesn’t appeal to you doesn’t mean the writer was paid to pen it.

      Uites are really not gullible as you opine above; but a selected few are like yourself. Please stop being paranoid. Thanks.

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