The forthcoming Student Union election at the University of Ibadan is one of the most anticipated events on the academic calendar. This election, which holds every session, is an opportunity for students to elect the leaders who will represent them.
The just concluded Nigeria general elections were heavily polarized along religious and ethnic lines, with many voting on the basis of ethnic or religious sentiments rather than competences. The University is believed to be a hub of intellectuals and as such should be a model for the larger society, however, the political climate on campus has not been quite different from that of mainstream society. Primitive sentiments such as hall, department, faculty or even religious affiliation have found their way among intellectuals in Nigeria’s premier university.
Over the years, hall sentimentality has always been a part of the UI SU elections. The Student Union election has always been seen as an avenue for halls of residence to claim superiority over others. Many students tend to throw their weight behind candidates based on hall affiliation rather than competence and this has sometimes led to a situation where the election becomes a contest between halls of residence rather than individual candidates’ capabilities. This trend should be discouraged as it creates unhealthy competition among students and limits the potential for quality leadership.
Apart from hall sentimentality, other sentiments like “he/she is my friend,” “I know him before,” and “he told me first” and sentiments based on department, faculty or religious affiliation have also been common in the university political system. This phenomenon has in many cases led to the election of incompetent leaders who cannot deliver on their promises. Such leaders often prioritize their interests over the interests of the students they represent.
The University of Ibadan, as an institution of higher learning, should be a model to the outside world. However, the current political climate suggests otherwise. Students need to understand that the sentiments that drive Nigerian politics should have no place in the student union election. Instead, merit should be the primary criterion for selecting leaders who can deliver on their promises.
It is essential to remind voters of the need to place merit over sentiments and display the intellectualism the university is known for by voting for credible candidates. Students should avoid voting based on the hall, department, or religious affiliation. The consequences of doing so can be disastrous for the school community. It is essential to carefully scrutinize all candidates and not be easily swayed by their promises. The SU election is an opportunity to elect leaders who will serve the entire student body and not just a particular hall, department, or religious group
Students should vote for candidates who have demonstrated leadership qualities, intellectualism, and a commitment to the welfare of their fellow students. They should vote for individuals who have a clear plan for improving the standard and welfare of students on campus. Students should also consider the track record of the candidates and their ability to execute their plans.
Furthermore, students should be wary of candidates who promise unrealistic and unattainable goals. They should scrutinize the promises made by each candidate and ask questions about the feasibility of their proposals. The ability of the candidate to articulate their plans and answer questions satisfactorily is a good indicator of their suitability for the position.
In conclusion, the forthcoming Student Union election at the University of Ibadan is an opportunity for students to elect competent leaders who can represent them effectively. It is essential to avoid voting based on the hall, department, or religious affiliation and carefully scrutinize all candidates. By doing so, students can ensure that the elected leaders will be able to advance their interests and work towards improving the standard of education and welfare on campus.