By Lord Whistledown
Every Session in Indy, different individuals step up to the plate, eager to assume office and make their mark in the world of campus politics. However, it is important to take a biting evaluation of their performances; students should be able to judge if the politicians are all they’re cracked up to be or otherwise. This piece will evaluate the offices of Hall’s defense commissioner and the secretary of state. In the same vein, it will conclude the two-part editorial that evaluates the office holders in Independence Hall over the past few months. Most importantly, the piece will raise important questions that evaluate these offices and simultaneously guide inquisition into the next crop of office holders in the Hall.
Ogungbure Lonimi and the House of Papers: How much has the SOS executed?
At the last election in the hall, Ogungbure Lonimi was elected over the Faculty of Law’s Orekeyi Justice Chinonso. Considering the pattern of events in the hall, the SOS may also be considering contesting for the office of the Administrator General in the Hall. One could make the case that he won in the last elections because his promises sounded more convincing and feasible to Katangites. However, how far has he gone to execute his promises?
In summary, his manifesto includes refurbishing the secretariat, providing semester reports, sensitization, and “popularizing the constitution”. He also promised academic tutorials and an E-Library. However, up to this day, not many Katangites can boast of having a copy of the Hall constitution both in Soft and Hard copy formats. In the same vein, the hall does not have a Photo Book that documents hall representatives, their names, and their phone numbers contrary to the promises of the secretary of state.
Lonimi – as he is popularly called – also promised Katagites to popularize the hall anthem by circulating a document. This document was also supposed to contain the names of the hall administrators and their respective phone numbers. Furthermore, Katangites were also supposed to be able to access the name of places in Indy, the dos and don’ts in the hall, and a list of etiquettes to live by. Finally, the document was planned to contain the hall’s history, festivals, and social events that are peculiar to it.
Maybe the SOS has finally realized that there is no need for many papers. Maybe he has finally considered that some of the proposed content are irrelevant in the grand scheme of his administrative duties and the welfare of Katangites. However, let’s keep the question of relevance aside, why has the SOS not executed these things? Why are Kanagites kept in the dark regarding the reasons that underlie the failure to execute? What happened to the wave of accountability and openness that he rode to the office?
The Secretary of state – just like the house secretary – also promised Katangites that the Hall secretariat would be refurbished. Since his assumption of office, the secretariat had gotten painted courtesy of the goodwill of a Katangite. Except if there are plans in place, we await the SOS to make any major announcement on a “refurbishment of the hall secretariat”
Finally, Katangites have not gotten anything as far as semester reports are concerned. Not only are the notice boards – one of the mediums he promised to use – derelict, there are no prompts that suggest an attempt at executing this promise. There are certain limitations to the extent of probing the fourth estate can do on the promised projects; some parts of the manifesto document are vague and largely abstract. Was this a plan to evade accountability? Or was it just an innocent omission? We may never be able to ascertain.
It is plausible to argue for the technical conundrum peculiar to executing some of these promises. For instance, how optimal would it be to release a semester report of the caliber that Lonimi promised; that is, one that contains administrative expenses and activities? Also, how feasible is it to popularize the constitution without, say, a comprehensive database of Katangites? Finally, how willing are hall reps, executive members, and hall administrators to present their personal information to the public?
However rather than absolve the SOS with these arguments, these questions point to a rather gnawing question of research. Should potential candidates not do their research about the offices? Should they not understand what is feasible and what is not before they attempt contesting? What pointers can students hold on to, to access expertise for candidates with no prior executive experience?
On the flip side of the coin, the SOS delivered on its promise of accessibility. After interacting with a reasonable number of Katangites, the Press inferred a reasonable level of cordial relationship – based on access – with the SOS. There are also various pointers that suggest that he executed tutorials and Virtual Libraries, especially for 100 and 200-level students. However, in the grand scheme of his promises, are these not the bare minimum?
Samuel Oluwatobiloba and his Campaign as the Defense Commissioner
True to his portfolio, Samuel Oluwatobiloba was very conservative in his campaign during the last phase of the election cycle. His campaign portfolio did not consist of much; he seemed to play it safe by hiding in the cocoon of his constitutional duties and two other new plans. In his manifesto, he promised to recruit new members, train them and provide a means of identification for them. In the past few months, the defense commissioner has been able to execute all parts of his three-point defense agenda. Upon assuming office, the defense commissioner recruited new members in the hall across all the available blocks. Going further, he conducted training and assessment exercises with the members of the defense committee in tandem with the school’s security outfit. He also has a relatively decent communication pass with the school’s defense outfit – the Abefele.
However, it would be dishonest to give him a pass on the basis of a three-point agenda. Aside from training and identification, the defense minister basically just stuck to performing his constitutional duties. As much as execution and feasibility are necessary prerequisites for election, innovation is still pertinent for positive evolution in an academic society. For instance, the hall does not have an emergency response line. Their defense commission could also use feedback channels. Communication, feedback, and evaluation are important parts of a functional defensive unit. Most importantly, the defense commission could use partnerships targeted at consistently educating the residents of the hall about self-defense.
In essence, inasmuch as we consider feasibility, we should also consider what potential student leaders are bringing to the table. Students can navigate this dilemma by asking these questions in this order: What are the constitutional duties of this office? What new things does this candidate bring to the table? Can these things be executed? If offices are really about playing it safe, anyone could be an executive in the hall
Conclusively, most of the candidates pledged to “ensure the implementation of these plans” if they were elected to office. If, relative to the plans, just an insignificant percentage of the plans have been executed, what does this say of the quality of politicians in the Hall?