By: Aduwo, Ayodele
One might think, what is the Students’ Representative Council and its mandate? This council is mandated to be the policy making body of the Union. But how? And by extension, what are the concerns peculiar to the SRC as of date?
PUNCTUALITY AND THE NEED FOR HARMONY
The assembly gathering on Saturday, the 12th of November, started notably late. The sitting, scheduled to commence at the 9am prompt, did not start until 10:14am. Arriving at the sitting late, says a lot about preparedness. Lateness is not the only negative observation from the last – which is the 5th sitting – of the house. The sitting also made it obvious that the house needed to be orderly. During the plenary session, side conversations were happening, and intermittently too. Quite alright, it is the responsibility of the whip of the whip ‘to maintain order at council meetings’, and he did try to a considerable extent. The onus however lies round on the neck of every attendee at the sitting to maintain estimable character.
‘An insider may see less’, the Yoruba adage says, ‘but an outsider may see beyond the lens’. Orderliness needs to be improved. Attendees, all, need to understand the habits of a Legislative sitting and embrace and abide by the right culture.
The essence of a report is to give a detailed analysis, revealing and outlining the significant tips and sharp ends in a narrative style. The Assistant General Secretary of the Students’ Union, the Vice President, and the President of the Students Union, Arinola David, Oluotanmi Zainab, and Adewole Yinka respectively, presented a slightly debated ‘spoken and written’ report at the sitting on Saturday. Compared to the sports secretary’s presentation, their presentations appeared strapped. A layman would not know what the Sports Director meant with his analysis. This was especially notable in areas where he wrote “change remains” and “money remains”, with varying figures attributed to the two terms. Also, being a member of the Executive Committee, Mr. Olawale should be well-informed and familiar with the in-house mannerism of the legislative council.
Aside from the House demanding that he reappear at a later sitting for presenting an unacceptable report, the Sports Director displayed uncut actions, largely laughed at by the thinking legislative council. Upon beacon, the sports director took the route behind the speaker to the stage. He also took the same route on his way out. He walked out, tripping behind the Speaker’s seat, a space of short margin to the wall. Ordinarily, better conduct is to be expected from a member of the executive.
THE RUNNING COST OF THE UNION
Another manner worthy of mention was how to finance the activities of the students’ Union. The Students’ Union currently runs quasi-independently – since finance is not strictly and solely managed by the union. Hinged on this fact, the Union’s purse has not been reimbursed by the University’s administrators yet, the President of the Union made a highlight in the same regard, while responding to a question on the “Union’s purse”. He noted that the University would hand out the generated revenue after the school portal has been closed – (for uniform disbursal). Sounds good? The Students’ community should be wondering. An uneasy calm should pervade why the University administrators are parenting the students’ Union fund and would act strongly, sticking to when to disburse, or when not to.
The contention here is not far-fetched but anchored on the argument that students can and should manage their own finances. One bone of contention that the UI student’s community, as a whole, must address is the need ‘to protect the rights of students and discharge responsibilities as informed members of the University.’ Of which financial autonomy (management) is not an exclusion.
Another thing is that the SRC needs to see its own expenditure perhaps through a different lens. The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) adopted the sum of (N173,600 naira) as its running cost expenditure, an amount which covers needs such as welfare for sittings, airtime, and data, among others. A Grand Total sum of N1,052,887.50 was recommended by the UISU Finance Committee as the budget of the SRC, 9th Assembly.
This total sum sweeps sound to the ears. While this is not an unconscionable blame on the present 9th Assembly, it does birth the need to ask for the scorecard or the budget figures and alphabets of the previous assemblies. “What office wares were purchased and how are they managed?”
It is pertinent that the SRC revisits the need for the Union to have its financial autonomy – the students’ union is an independent institution that should sail its own affairs. It is also important that the SRC should restate its conduct, firmly root its discipline and ensure perpetual orderliness is highly maintained. Finally, it is necessary that ‘punctuality’ becomes the sole of business for the University of Ibadan, Students’ Representative Council.