This week, Indy Press correspondent Ayodele Aduwo interviewed Rt. Hon Olaoye Samuel, the speaker of the Great Independence Hall and a 300-level student of Philosophy.
In this interview, he gave some insight into his person, life as the Speaker, and his plans.
Have a good read!
Please can you give us a little background about yourself?
Good morning. My name is Rt. Hon Olaoye Samuel, a 300-level student of the Department of Philosophy, I’m the current speaker of the Great Independence Hall and this assembly.
Before UI, could you give us a little background of where you schooled and lived?
Basically, I’m from Osun state, but I was born and bred in Ogun. Both my parents are from Osun State. My primary and secondary schools were from Ogun State. Right before coming to UI, I was a student at The Polytechnic of Ibadan, where I studied public administration. It was when I was in ND 2 that I did UTME again, and fortunately, I was admitted. So, when I was done with my ND program, I came down to UI.
So currently, you represent A1 constituency right? I want to know, being the speaker and being a member of the house then, what is the notable difference between the two positions and maybe challenges?
I think they both require sacrifice and hardwork. Because being an honourable member, you’re representing your constituency, you’re representing Indy, and you’re representing Katangites as a whole.
So it has not always been easy having a sitting for over 8 hours at a stretch. But I think when you become a principal officer, it becomes more challenging because, as the former deputy speaker, I was also the chairman of finance and budgeting. There were times, for example, during the second semester, which fell during exams, we had to scrutinize the budget, and we had to have a sitting. So it was not easy.
Imagine having an exam the next day by 8 a.m., and we are having a sitting today, which is inevitable. And it wasn’t as if I was going there as just an honourable member but as a chairman of the finance and budgeting committee to present the scrutinized budget for the hall week.
So it isn’t going to be easy. The time that I am supposed to be reading, I’ll have to shed some for scrutinizing. So, being an honourable member is challenging, but being a principal officer is much more challenging.
So, why did you not decide to go for an executive position? Why did you choose the Legislative arm?
A lot of people have asked me similar questions. From the onset, I have always loved a legislative setting. I am into it already. I thought in 100Level, and I felt like this was alright and a place for me to grow.
So I feel it’s not just about going for any post but about working in a place, you know, being there, you’ll be effective. Because some might just feel because it’s an executive position and open to everyone, whether they’re capable of the position or not, they are less concerned because it’s free for staylites to run. So they believe it’s free for everyone. So I think I personally will be more effective being an honourable member than being an executive.
So you’re confirming that there’s no chance that you’ll be going for an executive position this session?
No, no chance.
Regarding the in-house election that brought you in. I recall dramas between the outcome speaker and some elders who came to “protect” some interests. So, what can you say about the election that brought you in?
I was there that day. But that day, my head was full. I was prepared for my manifesto, and I was prepared for the election. I was there when it happened. I mean the little issues between the former speaker and the stakeholders… but I really can’t say what’s between the stakeholders and the outgoing speaker.
The event of that day, was it not a result of the elders wanting you in that position. Was it for your sake that the agitation happened or for something else?
You see, sometimes, some things happen that you yourself might not know the reason. I don’t know if they were agitating for me to win or not, honestly.
I heard that during your campaign to become the House Speaker, you mentioned that you had plans to revise the Constitution. Are the plans still on? Kindly work us through when you plan to start it and the processes.
Concerning the constitution review, yes, I have it in mind, and it’s still very on. But the point is some things need to be put in place. Before we start the constitutional review, which will commence very soon, I think we would have to do a by-election and co-option to have a full house. And the main reason why we haven’t yet done the by-election is that the staylites are not settled yet. They’ve not possessed their accommodation. And the by-election and co-option is basically for the staylites who are interested in coming to the house.
So we have to wait for them to settle down for one or two weeks of settlement. Afterwards, we will release a notification for those interested in the bye-election for C1 and co-option.
Then, the constitution review process will commence. Part of the plan is for the co-option, we are trying to co-opt at least one law student, to be part of the constitution review committee. So we all work together to make it a success. So, I can boldly tell you that the plan is still on.
So why did you feel a Law student will be important?
It’s like an appeal to an appropriate authority. When it comes to issues that have to do with the Constitution, it’s not as if others are not vast, but I believe he’s more in that field. And being an honourable member, we can always work together to get something productive.
What is your current relationship with the current hall AG?
We have a nice relationship. There’s no issue. He’s doing his job, and I’m doing mine perfectly too. So there’s no issue.
You were a member of the last house. Were you aware of money not going through the appropriate pathway?
As far as I am concerned, I wasn’t aware. I don’t think there was a day that we discussed about the AG not remitting. I’m not aware.
What are your hobbies?
Music and Reading. And also watching football, I’m an Arsenal fan.
You are a politician, so what is your stand on the relationship between the Indy Press and politicians in general?
I believe the Indy Press is very effective, and there are times.., last session for example, during the beginning of the Legislative session where there were indecorum in the house and it continued for like two to three consecutive sitting, there was an article concerning that, and immediately the speaker read it too and everyone, we had to make amendments on that. And I think the press for example, we’re all working for Katangites and there are times maybe there is abuse of power by the AG for example, and the press made a release on that.
I think they’re raising it for the general public. Because the AG is expected to be accountable to the general public, and once the general public sees it, the AG is expected to explain. So we’re serving a particular set of people, and the press is for the general public, so I think the relationship is not bad.
What is your take on ‘Aroism’
When we say Aro, well, Aro is a lively thing, as we are all Katangites. But I think there should be a limit because there are times you might see your friend reading, and you might say he should limit his reading that he might read and get a 45, which you know won’t offend him.
But what I mean by there should be a limit is when it gets to the point of you doing Aro, probably to a female gender, that could result in sexual harassment, which is an offence that could lead one to SDC. So I think Aro should have a limit. We all know extremes when relating with people, but generally, Aro is part of us, and it’s fine.
What is your rating of the last house? Do you think the last administration was able to achieve much because they were not able to revise the Constitution?
On the issue of the last house, I was a member and also the deputy speaker. So, don’t think I could actually rate it.
It’s people who witnessed the whole administration that could actually rate it. Because there is no way I can rate it and be impartial. But I think things can always get better. Last session, we were unable to go on a legislative visit, and we are doing that this session.
Okay, when is the planned Legislative visit?
We’ll be writing a letter to the Oyo State Assembly. And as I have said before, we would be doing by-election and co-option before we go. After the by-election and co-option, we have a lot of plans that we will be unfolding, it’s not immediately.
Please give a timeline for the Constitution Review.
I think it rests on the accommodation of the staylites. Because most of the staylites do not have an accommodation now. They’re just coming from their respective homes. Some are sleeping here today and in another location tomorrow.
So it’s going to affect their productivity if they’re to be called now. So we’re waiting for them to get settled. When they are settled, we will release a notification calling for those interested in running for the position of floor rep of C1 constituency. Then we try to co-opt too.
Will the process of constitution review commence and end this semester?
Yes, it will commence this semester, but on the part of getting it done this semester, I can’t answer for sure now.
On effective legislation by representatives representing their floors, what ideas are you bringing on board so that whatever each honourable member is doing in the house, their floor members can be adequately informed about them?
On resolutions, after sitting, the clerk will always release the resolution, the minutes of the last sitting. So, all honourable members, after each sitting have been told to forward the minutes to the WhatsApp group to each constituency. And that every time a sitting is to be held, they should inform their constituency prior to the meeting, inviting them to come to the sitting to see how it’s been done.
One notable thing about last session was that not many people were made aware of the Constitution. There’s that situation with a whole of freshers. Are you aware of that, and are there planned efforts to address the issue with members of the hall having a soft copy?
There’s a soft copy that we will circulate. We will send it to every group that Indy members have affiliations with.
How soon will that be?
That is not something much or a big deal. It’s something that can be done today. So it will be done this semester.
I want you to speak on the academic welfare and on your assembly’s commitment to the resident welfare.
On the academic welfare, yesterday was the day for budget presentation, and the SOS is trying to create an academic committee, and this is basically for tutorials. Although you can’t do tutorials for all the courses in UI. But there are some courses that are taken by a large number of students.
I was a member of the academic committee last session, and I was taking PHILOSOPHY 101 & 102. So this session too, we are going forward on that because it’s not just about social activities alone.
We have to be aware of the fact that students are mainly here for academic purposes, and their academic lives are very important too. On the issues of the toilet, I’m aware the AG has had a meeting with the hall warden, and I was told they are working on it.
What do you want to be remembered for as a Speaker when you’re done serving?
The point is, being a leader, it’s always good to be remembered for a good course. I believe after my tenure, I’ll be remembered for good.
For example, looking at this constitution now, even those not on campus now can see those who worked on it. So I believe, after my tenure, I’ll always be remembered for a good course.
Thank you for your time, Mr. Speaker.
Yes, my pleasure.