Zainab Oluotanmi: Has the Students’ Union VP Lived Up to Her Words?

By: Oluwapelumi King

The basic duties of a Vice President – in and outside the student body – entail two major things; assisting the president, and replacing them in the case of an impeachment, resignation, or demise. They are essentially the 2nd most powerful administrator in the executive hierarchy.  However, according to the UI SU constitution, and in that of many faculties, their responsibilities border on events – both academic and social. It is on this premise that the current Vice president, Zainab Oluotanmi, campaigned, and won in the last UI SU election. 

This article analyses her manifesto; it cross-examines the content against the reality on campus to see whether she has managed to fulfill her promises.

In the first section of the Manifesto, the Vice President promised to provide to the academic  “Academic and intellectual welfare”. According to the document, she promised to cater for  10% of the budgets presented by each faculty, through alumni sponsorship. She also promised to organize tutorials and mock examinations. Finally, the Vice President promised to organize a Spelling Bee competition and a Battle of the Brains contest. 

The President of the Faculty of Technology, Bayode Tegbe, confirmed the input of the Students’ Union Vice President in providing for the academic welfare of students in his Faculty. According to him, her input was considerably above 10%. He explained that she helped to organize mock tests and examinations. 

However, considering juxtaposing the reality in the other Faculties, the Vice President has not entirely fulfilled her promise. Some faculties still had to take care of 100% of the budgets of their respective academic committees.  Ikonwi Goddoing, the General Secretary of the Faculty of Education and the Secretary of the Academic Committees of the 16 Faculties at the University of Ibadan explained that the Students’ Union has not done anything that directly caters to 10% of the academic committee budget. He however stated that the UISU organized mock tests and examinations and that they made plans to sponsor some of the academic committee budgets for the tutorials. He concluded that the budget designated for this has not been approved by the UIU Students’  Representative Council. 

Essentially, all we can hold on to her attempts, most Faculties organized tests and tutorials on their own. Indy Press reached out to the Vice President to get accurate information about tutorials and her promise to cater to the academic budget. However, the Vice President did not reply or respond to calls up until the publication of this article. Finally, on the Spelling Bee and Battle of the Brains, a reliable source close to the Students’ Union Government stated that this competition “should” be organized during Students’ Union’s week. 

In the second part of her manifesto, the Vice President promised the student body  “Empowerment Programs”. This section covered her plans to organize a program that teaches data analysis. According to her manifesto, “It is a program that teaches the use of statistical packages for social sciences (SPSS) and Microsoft Excel for complex statistical data analysis, correlation analysis, and project analysis”. The section also covered her plans to organize a Jobberman-coordinated soft skills program. The program — according to her –  focuses on teaching students “non-technical skills such as personal effectiveness, communication, creativity, emotional intelligence, and teamwork”. She stated that the Students’ Union will collaborate with Jobbberman to “make the skill available to students for free”.  Lastly, in her empowerment plan, she promised students a quarterly trade fair. In this trade fair, where student entrepreneurs would display their products for sale to a large market of potential buyers.

As far as empowerment goes, the Students’ Union through the office of the Vice President indeed organized the data analysis program. Indy Press gathered from a source that the Facilitator of this soft skill training was from the Faculty of Technology. However, as far as the Jobberman coordinated training is concerned, there is no conclusive evidence that the Student Union – through the Vice President – organized such a skill acquisition program. In a conversation with a member of the Council of Faculty Presidents, Indy Press gathered that there was a series of Jobberman-coordinated training in some Faculties in the school. However, according to him, the idea was introduced by the President of the Council for interested Faculties on the council’s group page. He said he could not specifically link to the Student Union or not. 

Another member of the council – a stakeholder, contributed to this. According to him,  the Jobberman Skill training has different tiers. He explained that some people may have reached out to the Students’ Union President and his vice, and they may have participated. However, he stated clearly that he has no information about whether the Students’ Union organized general training for students at the University. He further explained how he got connected to the Jobberman brand through his colleague at Junior Chambers International. He concluded by explaining how people in the Faculty that participated may have reached out to different people for Jobberman training specific to their Faculties.

Finally, on the quarterly trade fair, the Students’ Union programs have featured mini trade fairs in the form of a “call for vendors’ ‘ as explained by a source. The source further explained that the Union should organize a bigger one during the Students’ Union week.

As for the Finalists Hangout and Union Week which is part of the Vice President’s promises, the session may be too early to put a verdict on those. 

Generally, the Vice President has fulfilled a sizable percentage of the promises in her manifesto. As far as student leadership and promises are concerned, she may have just proven herself to be exemplary. However, the session is far from over, and there is ample time to consolidate her efforts and fulfill the rest of her promises. She still could innovate towards leaving a lasting legacy as she executes the rest of her promises.

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