UCJUI is the mother body of all press organisations within the University of Ibadan. It was established in 1987. Dr.Bayo Ajala, the pioneer president gave an insight into the general history of the Union.
Can you give a brief backdrop into how UCJUI was formed?
Dr.Bayo Ajala: I was the President of Campus Vanguard. Lanre Oladele was Editor in Chief Indy Press. Tunji Akingbade was Editor-in- Chief of Flash Magazine, that is, Links, where Laolu and co. belonged. Those were the top press organizations then. There were some other people who I can’t remember now but they just came to my room and said “look, Ife has a Union of Campus Journalists, why don’t we have?” So, I said, “okay, there is no problem, let’s have one.” And that was how it started in the night and they said okay how do we start? I said we must have an officer, they said okay yes “you are the person” That was how I became the president and thereafter , Ayo Ojurongbe who was secretary of Campus Vanguard also came in to help . He is busy in Philippines now. Then, we now had to write, call other people together. Then, it was more of boards and about three of us were doing magazines: Campus Vanguard, Links, and some other ones were doing magazines.
So, once we formed that, we went to the Student Affairs and I was also privileged to have organised the debate for the Students’ Union and the interview for them. So, by the time I was leaving, Bode Ojomo came in. Bode Ojomo was also in Campus Vanguard and Shina Ogungbemi. Bode Ojomo was appointed to become the president, but he left to go and contest and won the Students’ Union President. So, Laolu came in as the President and when Laolu came in, he added flesh to UCJ; that was when they began to have a Senate, and a committee of Editors-in-Chief, because when we started, we were few so there was no need for any of those committees but by then,maybe partly because God helped us and we were able to organize the press night, that gave us some fame and increased our membership strength. Bode built people like Niran Ajao, Yinka Ademuyiwa, D.F Salawu, Ajimi Jay and co., and the structure is now worth it. The rest is left for history, but when we started, it was just “let’s start something, let’s get going” and then we also wanted to reduce the fight against the gathering. And to say look, it’s better if we come together than individual organizations that are struggling to gain recognition at the Student Affairs Office. I believe that was it.
Concerning the position of Editors in Chief, the structure was included after me; that’s why I said it was after me that they raised structure. Then, the UCJ did not have its own publications. It was like NUJ. To say look, “this is going to be an umbrella for all press organizations. So, if you have issues, say a faculty has issues with the Dean or Department, then, the UCJ can come in and negotiate who the student and the staff are discussing. So, we didn’t have all that structure when we started but I think when Laolu came in, they began to have those structures and that’s that.