Rider: Commotion ensues as compulsory Chambers’ dues raptures from LSS account.
We could decide to turn the blind eyes and pretend nothing is happening, we could as well wait for everything to degenerate into chaos before coming out to lay things straight, but then, we would not have performed our duty as the fourth estate with the responsibility of ensuring transparency and accountability in office.
While the Law Press Organisation is not in the business of baseless finger pointing and mudslinging, it is important, considering the state of affairs of the Law Students Society, to exhume and bring to the public domain what was massacred and buried behind closed doors- for a fact, someone somewhere is doing something wrong.
The New Dawn team led by Mr. Victor Olanipekun may have rained accolades on itself as having gotten the issues of Law Students’ Society done with, but the aftermath of the administration may continue to haunt the current government and, by implication, the entire Law students.
In this piece, the Law Press Organization shall reveal the behind the scene incidents and analyze its implication for the current Administration.
In one of the meetings of the Law Students Representative Council held before the resumption of the 2018/2019 Academic session, the House resolved that out of the #3,000 paid by Law Students as dues,
-#500 should be left aside as compulsory Chambers’ dues,
-#1,500 should go the New Dawn team
-While the remaining #1,000 should go to the incoming administration which Law students would come to know as the Ideal Team.
However, after the resolution of the Law Students’ Representative Council (LSRC) has been reached and publicly announced, a close-door meeting of those who have bequeated upon themselves the title of Faculty of Law Stakeholders was held to renegotiate the sharing formula resolved by the LSRC.
This meeting was attended by the former president, Mr. Victor Olanipekun, and the principal members of his cabinet, the current president, Miss Oyindamola Abdulfatai, and the principal members of her cabinet, the former acting speaker, Mr Abayomi Daniel, the former Attorney General, Mr. Ayodele Isaac and the Chief Justice, Mr. Adenekan Victor who was told that the meeting was for the betterment of the society.
However, Mr. Victor Adenekan having noticed the purport of the meeting in its early minutes, left and never returned to witnessed its continuation or conclusion.
After so much back and forth on the fairness of the LSRC sharing formula, the resolution of the LSRC was overturned by the remaining stakeholders and it was resolved that
-The compulsory #500 Chambers dues should be left untouched.
-The sum of #1,800 should go to the New Dawn Team.
-The sum of #700 should go to the Ideal team as against the #1,500 and #1,000 decision of the House.
Both parties agreed to the edited resolution, the handover came, tears was shed, the awarders became themselves the awardees, and the Ideal Team took over the seat of power.
After this edited resolution by the stakeholders, the New Dawn Team, assured, perhaps, of some money lurking somewhere, went on a roller of prodigious spending.
The first on the line is the extravagant spending on the Freshers’ welcome party and the All Talented Law Students’ party.
The Law Press has gathered that the money contributed for both events by the Freshmen only totalled about #50,000, but the money that was spent by the New Dawn Team on both events runs to about #200,000- an extra of #150,000 that could have been diverted into other meaningful and relevant projects than a one night party. Law students would recollect the promise of a lounge by Mr. Victor Olanipekun in the Faculty and even the LSS indigent Grant that were only started and completed in the blank pages of his manifesto.
Due to this extravagant spending and many others of the elitist New Dawn Team, the money for the maker of LSS packages was not paid in full, leaving a total of #150,000 debt.
Meanwhile, after the Ideal Team has taken over and separated what it was entitled to from the Society’s account- an amount of #700 on every law student- what was left was so meagre that it wasn’t even enough to pay half of the money owed to the maker of LSS packages.
The maker of the LSS packages who wouldn’t listen to any plea, insisted on being paid his money having fully delivered on his own part of the contract.
To the New Dawn team who has handed over, government should be a continuum and the Ideal Team should offset the debt.
To the Ideal team, government cannot be a continuum to offset the debt when the last administration had embarked on prodigious spending leaving close to nothing in the Society’s account.
After enough back and forth and interceding, the Ideal Team paid the debt- the sum of #150,000- from the #700 on every law student it was entitled to. This leaves the Ideal Team to run its administration with a total of #500 on every law student. How far this can go in ensuring a smooth administration is yet to be known.
You would recall that the total money paid to the New Dawn Team is #3,000 out of which #2,500 is for basic dues and #500 is for Chamber’s dues which reasoning dictates should not be tampered with.
The cummulative amount of this compulsory Chambers’ dues leaves each of the four chambers with nothing less than #80,000.
However, as at the time of this piece, each chamber has only confirmed the receipt of #20,000 despite that the payment of dues has long ended for all students.
Although, last week, the Law Press confirmed that #40,000 was offered to the Chambers probably to serve as the total offset of the whole money, but that was rejected on the ground that the Chambers were not collecting anything less than the balance which is #60,000.
Where the difference of #20,000 for each chamber ( a total of #80,000) has gone is yet to be accounted.
In the midst of all these extravagant spending and mysterious disappearance of funds, the light beams on the former Financial Secretary, Miss Adesua Eharbor and the former Treasurer, Miss Akinola Adesewa.
One is compelled to wonder if the duo, being greatly responsible for issues of the society’s funds, were only armchair occupiers of office with little or no understanding of their duties in checkmating extravagant spending of the society’s funds.
The former General Secretary, Mr. Babalola Nifemi, being also a signatory to the account is not excluded. Could he have served only as a rubber stamp, approving all that is brought before him?
None of these trio raised an eyebrow, let alone an alarm of this oversize spending. They took it in and checkmated all expenses.
While it may be argued that the money was not siphoned but just extravagantly spent- an apt example of misappropriation of funds-, it should be remembered that there exists only a thin line between siphoning of public funds and misappropriating public funds.
The truth is, in the case of the latter, one cannot always trace where the money went to in the end, after all, it would be said that it was used for a valid purpose or project.
Regardless, this doesn’t defeat the assumption that the money may have been siphoned in the name of using it for a valid purpose or project in the Faculty.
While Law students yet await the explanation for the mysterious spending and disappearance of funds, it is expedient that the Law Students Representative Council set up an Audit Committee of competent and unbias minds to carry out a thorough check of the books of the last administration.
Below the carpet is full and bulging, it can’t take more sweeping of issues under it. The Society yells for an answer!