In this exclusive interview with UCJUI’s Tijani Abdulkabeer, Adeyeye OluwaBukola Shalom, one of the presidential aspirants in the forthcoming Students’ Union elections spoke about her candidacy and cleared the air about various allegations against her
Can you introduce yourself?
ABS: My name is Adeyeye OluwaBukola Shalom, 300 level student at the Department of European Studies and a resident of Queen Elizabeth II Hall. I am an aspirant for the office of the President of the Students’ Union, University Of Ibadan. Thank you.
UCJUI: Why did you think you’re the best person to become the next landlord of the Kunle Adepoju Building?
ABS: Well, my track record and my participation in different levels concerning University governance are signs of my resilience and my will to an enabling environment. I come from a school of thought that simplifies the fact that a good leader is not just someone with plans but someone with sustainable plans that can ensure a smooth transition into the next administration.
With that, I can boldly say I’m the best candidate or the most suitable candidate because my plans for the incoming year are to ensure that most of the problems that we face year in year out, there are plans put in place to at least solve them for the next 10 years to come.
UCJUI: If elected, what are you going to do differently?
ABS: Like I said earlier, putting in plans in place, putting in systems that actually work and can stand the test of time. Systems in place that would depute longevity of plans. These are ideas that would not be effective this year and ineffective next year. These are plans that would work and yes, I do have to thank my predecessor because it’s through them, and their experiences that I can come about looking for long-lasting solutions.
UCJUI: As the only female aspirant people are out there saying they want to know what you’re up to. Contesting against three others, what message are you passing with your candidacy in the coming election?
ABS: Well, judging from the Nigerian election that occurred this year, it was understood better that there was larger participation of youth and young adults in the elections and that came about people looking at plans, people looking at what intending aspirants plan to do. I could appeal to people’s emotions and use the whole I’m a female candidate but no, I want students of the University of Ibadan to see me as someone competent, someone that actually knows what she’s doing, and someone that plans to usher in development into the school.
UCJUI: There are allegations that you have been reaching out to students via emails and text messages seeking their support and votes. These are concerns and it is an infringement on such students’ data privacy.
ABS: There is no power behind it. Jaja healthcare center every year releases a list of students to get their medicals done. Those around me [My team] analyze and sort out the necessary information from the list. No data was handed over to me. It was just a thing of when there is a will, there’s a way.
During this election, people have taken different means and approaches but mine is the most innovative. This is part of my plan to bridge the communications gap among students. To get students accustomed to using the mail to bridge this gap.
UCJUI: How do you intend to work the thin line between Management and Students’ demand?
ABS: Mascot, our current Union President will always use a particular word, which I enjoy, which I love, he’ll tell you about lobbying.
You cannot fight, be it the students or the management. All you can use is the power of lobbying and diplomacy to come to a consensus. Basically, the word compromise, in a way that will be more effective and more students inclined.
UCJUI: What you’re saying essentially is you’re someone that will always lobby?
ABS: No, those are your words, not mine.
Though the perception of my explanation can seem along that line, but definitely the Students’ Union is concerned with the welfare of the students and our utmost priority is to ensure that students are duly represented and the management understands their plight, concern, and grievances through it. But what I’m saying is that I’m not going to wait until there’s no other alternative. I would look through different measures and approaches to get what we want.
In essence, I’m not going to do anything that will lead to the proscription of the Students’ Union.
UCJUI: On a scale of 1 to 10, rate the current administration.
ABS: Is this supposed to be a trap? Well, I would say they do amazingly well. It’s just that I would say it is rather unfortunate that most of their achievements are not in the public domain.
UCJUI: You just mentioned that they’ve done great, but you still have to rate them.
ABS: Sigh… I would still give them 7.
ABS: Because as a union, the president is the head but there are other parts of the union executive council. Now, if just certain arms and the rest are not doing what they’re supposed to do, that will lead to an imbalance.
UCJUI: Why do you think Uites should vote for you ahead of other candidates in the forthcoming elections?
ABS: We are moving onwards and the plan is to put in place systems that would work and make students’ life or studentship at the University of Ibadan a comfortable one to a degree.
UCJUI: Is that why?
ABS: When they [Students] see my plans for the school and everyone in the university community. Naturally, University of Ibadan students are intellectuals, they will sit and weigh the options on who is best for them, and if I’m to declare I think I’m the best.
UCJUI: There are also side talks that you’ve not explored the conventional method of campaigning. I mean, we’ve seen some of your rivals going from hall to hall and utilizing some other known methods. You are not and people are asking questions.
ABS: I have done my offline campaigning. I have reached out to people one-on-one. I’ve done room-to-room in halls. Yes, I’ve done that. We are exploring offline methods, we are also exploring the online space. The two work together. It is a synchronization.
UCJUI: Any final words?
ABS: I do beseech the students of the University of Ibadan to always do what is right and always remember to raise the bar higher, every time. Then move onwards, it is 2023.
This report is the first in a special series on several aspirants and the dynamics of the 2023 Students’ Union Election by the Union of Campus Journalists under its Election Watch Room Program