By: Habeeb Abdul
Daniel Olamide Peniel had been neck and neck with her closest rival in almost every way at the Press Night prior to the ballots at the last election. They (she and her rival) recorded the same score for punctuality, proximate scores for plans, and a difference of 0.3 in their levels of intelligence. Overall, Peniel had the night. And the ballots, sometime after.
Since the election, however, the Treasurer has hardly matched the intensity that brought her in. Save for the PRO’s political scandal to which she was linked and another with remote semblance during her time as the AFAS Financial Secretary, things have been very quiet on the financial front.
A Chequered History
Prior to her ascension to university-level politics, the treasurer had been involved in issues surrounding the withdrawal of funds for the Faculty of Arts dinner. Then, the debates centered on the amount approved for withdrawal by the faculty’s legislative council, and whether the president had been aware of Peniel’s decision to proceed to the bank. It is difficult to exclude that from the muck that was the then Faculty of Arts Administration. Neither the president nor his vice seemed particularly capable of agreement and Miss Peniel was potentially a victim.
However, while her stint at her faculty might be passable when considered in isolation, it is difficult to delink it from the noise around OMA, her public relations counterpart in the current UI’SU administration. Despite being aware of the latter’s complicity in a breach of the constitution, she observed with folded arms as it ran its course. This raises a question of whether the Treasurer, similar to her tenure in the Faculty of Arts, has continued with a politics hinged on the buddy system.
In the case of the Faculty of Arts, there were insinuations that she was in the faction created by the subsisting Vice-President of the Faculty. If that was the case, it may be assumed that the same buddy system influenced her aloofness to OMA’s conduct.
A Document Full of Dreams
In an effort to assess Peniel’s resumé, since she started politics, Indy Press attempted to secure her manifesto from when she ran for the office of AFAS Financial Secretary. Unfortunately, that exercise was abortive. What we discovered, however, was that the Treasurer assigned commonplace priority to her constitutional duties and, pre-election, found ease in the minimal focus on her selected role. None of the faculty sources we reached out to could remember a defining moment and were unanimous in the quiet that surrounded her.
An examination of Peniel’s manifesto for the position of Treasurer reveals no intention to be very different. The first item on her list involves a plan to invite banks to help freshmen and stale students get functional accounts. As part of this, they would be asked to provide discounts on payments for ATM cards. The second, following a quote on the aesthetics of money in bank accounts outlines an agenda to partner with organizations that would help students save and invest right from their sojourn on campus. Like the first, freshmen appear to be the primary targets, with a provision for existing students.
The third item is a promise of accountability, one with questionable presence in a category of plans distinct from the statutory and the implied. She concludes this part with the same spirit: “I will ensure the appropriate body is well updated about the day-to-day financial status of the union.” The last in the array is a seminar on savings and investment where she laid out plans to orient students on businesses they can dabble into whilst studying.
On the first item, how exactly Peniel intends to negotiate the discount is unanswerable, considering the need to pitch the benefits of such a concession to financial institutions. Even worse, the plural nature of “student-friendly banks” suggests more than a single partnership. It would be interesting to observe how this occurs, but there is wisdom in expecting little.
The objective in the second item is not as far-fetched, yet, there is doubt about its implementation. The manifesto’s timeline indicates that it would be recommended to freshmen as they commence their time at the university but there are no indications that it ever took place. Peniel might have been unprepared for the coordination of human and material resources that this would have required. Still, any sympathy that would have been spared evaporates when the eight-month-long hiatus from academic activities is considered.
Like the second item, the fourth plan is within the imagination. But in a similar form, it suffers from non-execution.
Peniel has refused to comment on the status of her manifesto, stating that she was “busy and occupied” for the time being. A further attempt to arrange a convenient time was rejected.