They dress nice. They smell good. They speak gently with an impeccable air of strange humility. They greet you now and then. They volunteer to do tasks for you. They show care. They converse with you endlessly. They are not angels in human clothing, nor the messiah you had always prayed for. They are students who in different circumstances will not speak with you. But they have political ambitions, so they must strategize to find the possible means to win your hearts and cajole you to support them in totality. They are the Lords of Salutation.
If there is anything student politicians in the University of Ibadan have in common, it is employing endless greetings as a calculated means to gain popularity. It is thus not uncommon for students to know who is contesting for political offices through those who salute them the most. The problem is not the greetings, which sometimes can be embarrassing and inconvenient, it is the deception that comes with them. When these people greet you, when they address you with respect, when they bow their heads as they call your name, when they shake you then winkle and say “bros, abeg no forget your boy”, students are mostly forced to think they are all nice, and supporting them would be the best decision ever. But what happens afterward?
On winning the elections, these students become difficult to access. They are now busy when you want to speak with them. They no longer greet you. They don’t send you messages. They don’t respect you as before. And sadly, they don’t even do what they swore to do. Those who voted for them, carried their banners, and chant their names in solidarity become lost in the scheme of things. Supporters now begin to wonder where they had lost it. “Or isn’t this same guy?” “Or isn’t no this same lady?”
The University of Ibadan is an intellectual hub, and the politics played herein is different. Intellectuals should not support a particular candidate because they are jovial or they know how to greet or they are beautiful. Students/voters should take their time to select the right person. When you throw weight behind an aspirant based on a myopic assessment, it is only hypocritical for you to clamour on their inefficiencies when they later underperform. Myopic assessment of aspirants does not lead to the emergence of the very best of leaders. Some students know these things, yet they act unconcerned as they support mediocrity leaders. They would still cry foul later.
We believe that political participation in the University of Ibadan should be done differently. While we charge students to look beyond the outward appearance of aspirants, we believe the aspirants themselves should act, unlike the fathers in agbada. To become a true leader is not necessarily innate, student-politicians can teach themselves to be one. The basis of any political ambitions should be done after logical reasonings from logical questions. Why did I want to contest? What am I offering? What are my strengths and weaknesses? What do I stand to gain from serving? What do I want others to say of me when I am done?
Quite unfortunately, some of these aspirants do not embrace logic when they show political ambitions. They just want to be there for being there, as we say here.. These are the students that have no convincing policies, plans, and programmes. Sadly, these are the students with the highest chances of winning. Why? They have cheap popularity and are close friends with ten or twenty student-influenzas. And because UI students are more interested in the looks rather than what they genuinely have to offer, they mostly win.
We know nobody can force decisions down the throats of anybody. But we believe we can share with you, tokens of advice. The Student’s’ Union election ban would soon the lifted and you would see these lords of salutations once again. When they come again, engage them, converse with them to get to the roots of their intentions. Ask valid questions. You see, having a vibrant political atmosphere on campus is only possible when we allow the best of student leaders to emerge. And this frankly can be done when we vote for the right persons.
As intending student leaders, before you greet, have genuine plans. Empty greetings are not the characteristics of true leaders. The ban would soon be lifted. Make your plans and start to tick the boxes. If you think unnecessary salutations can win souls you would be disappointed. The students are enlightened and have moved away from the toxic thought that salutation is synonymous with true leaders who bring good governance. Change as we clamour has dawned on us. The public is enlightened and the emotional games of winning support are superannuated.
We do hope the theme of our editorial is well-understood and digested. We hope aspirants have picked a lesson or two from it, as well as the students. Then, one more thing:
Thanks for reading.
Have a fantabulous week ahead.
If you know of any issues that you want UCJ UI to look into, or any anonymous write-ups, kindly send a mail to email@example.com or message wa.me/+2349061949587.