“Yes, the sum of 50,000 naira was donated by the Oyo state governor and he said that those who were around at that particular time should share the money.” – EGUNJOBI IFEOLUWA, SPEAKER, SRC, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN
Good afternoon, we are from the Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ). My name is Okemakinde Samson (Features Editor) and with me is Alawode Ibrahim (News Editor).
Can you introduce yourself please?
My name is Egunjobi Ifeoluwa, a 400 level law student of this university and the Speaker, Students’ Representative Council. I joined union politics in 200 level when I was my hall’s majority leader. In 300 level, I contested for the post of deputy speaker of the house and won, so, this is my third term in the house and I am the first female Speaker of the Student Representative council.
So, how has it been, being the first female speaker in a male-dominated political atmosphere?
It has not been easy and I have faced a lot of challenges. The first challenge was winning, because people had the opinion that a female could not handle the house effectively. After winning, my challenge was keeping the house together and in order because I had to manage different people with various points of view and different opinions about issues. Despite the challenges, I would say that I have been successful in running the house.
Has there been any recent issue that has necessitated any sort of clash between the SRC and the union executives?
No. It is wrong to believe that the SRC and the executive are bound to clash every time. The SRC members are here for the good of the students and so are the executives. If they are doing things we see as wrong, we will definitely not fold our hands and watch, but if they are doing well, they should be commended too. I would say this SRC has had a very symbiotic and cordial relationship with the executives.
There have been rumours that the house has not been able to approve a budget for the executives. How true is that?
That rumour is not true. The truth is that the budget was not sent at the appropriate time. They sent the budget on the 26th of September; the house sat on it on the 27th and then sent it back to them to make some amendments. It has now been approved.
We also heard that a sum of money donated to the union by the Oyo state governor was being shared among the Representatives. What do you have to say about that?
Yes, the sum of 500,000 naira was donated by the Oyo state governor and he said that those who were around at that particular time should share the money. Some of us got some part of the money but in order to prevent injustice, we were asked to refund our shares and apologise to the house for our actions. The money has since been used for the union and the breakdown of how it was spent will be made available to the press.
There were reports that a mainstream politician recently barged into a house sitting uninvited in the company of the Students Union president and used that means to campaign in support of his own political ambition. Please shed more light on that.
Actually, it is not a bad thing to have a former unionist come to visit us. On that fateful day, Honourable Olaleye, a.k.a Radical Brother came into the house uninvited, but that was not why he was asked to leave. He was asked to leave because in-house elections were going on to choose some house executives and no observer could be allowed in such a sensitive situation. Therefore, he and also the Union President had to excuse the house. If it were any other sitting, they could have been allowed to stay because we do allow observers.
It came to our notice that some SRC members recently travelled to Abuja on a courtesy visit to thank Chief Jumoke Akinjide for the new bus she donated to the Students union. How did that come about?
Really, I’m surprised there are rumours like that flying around. The representatives didn’t go to Abuja to Thank Chief Akinjide. They went to observe a sitting of the Federal House of Representatives as has been the custom of the SRC for a while now. We observe the sittings of the house of senate and the House of Representatives. We also speak to and interview Federal Senators and Representatives all in a bid to improve and augment our own legislative skills. That is what happened.
The publicity of the SRC to the student body is quite low and many students hardly know what the SRC is all about or what goes on there. What do you want to do about this?
We are trying to work on that. The issue is that some halls generally don’t have much awareness of, or don’t place much priority on the legislative arm of government. As you know, we have boards in all the halls of residence. But because the legislative arm is very important for good governance, we are thinking of placing boards in the faculties too. This is just to facilitate better dispersal of information.
Miss Speaker, the students union currently uses a constitution drafted in 1998/1999. Are there any plans to produce another one or make amendments to the existing one?
We have also thought about that and a new constitution has been drafted and deliberated upon by the house. Currently, the constitution is with the legal unit of the university and from there it will go to the senate. Hopefully, by next session, the students union should have a new constitution. In addition, in the new constitution, we plan to introduce a Judicial arm of the union government to make the government more complete and effective.
What is being done about the epileptic power supply in the halls of residence?
The welfare committee is working on that and we can already see improvements. We hope the trend continues.
Any general words for students in general?
What I have to say is that student unionism is for everybody. Not just the executives or the SRC members. So, we should always come together to make everything better. Also, I will like to encourage people to aspire for posts whether they are male or female. I believe that what a man can do, a woman can do much better. Therefore, if we see a female aspiring for any post, we should support such person if we think she is capable, without discriminating on account of gender.