By: Moboluwarin Ogunleye
On the 30th of December, the University of Ibadan Student’s Union (Team Rebirth) made a release detailing their first semester activities. The release starts with a segment on the State of the Union, discussing the problems and issues that the current executives inherited. While these issues are valid, I think it is essential to note that these executive positions are voluntary. Everyone in the office was well aware of these problems before assuming office, as most of them were talking points brought up by press members and the school at large in the weeks preceding the elections’ last session.
The union lists its achievements in this segment, starting with their impacts on the welfare of UI students. While discussing this, they mentioned the school management’s plan to increase school fees. Then, they took credit for suspending the process, claiming it was suspended due to their multiple interventions. However, I did not see any clear evidence to show that their interventions suspended the first planned increase. Furthermore, a hike in school fees was still introduced at the end of the day, an increase dubbed a “temporary concession,” which the union was powerless to stop.
Another talking point in the release was the faculty levies, in which the union stated that their stance on the issue is that the fees should only be charged at the central level, i.e., from the school and not from the faculty. However, as far as anyone is concerned, the union’s powers stopped at their “stance” as students in various faculties were still made to pay the faculty fees regardless.
Still, for the welfare of the students, they claimed to approve funds for renovating the toilets and kitchenettes in the various halls of residences. While this is a very good thing, all I have noticed from their renovations in my block in the Independence Hall are new pipes and tap heads that currently don’t work. Aside from this, nothing really changed concerning the deplorable state of the bathrooms. But they did say that the renovations are ongoing, so hopefully, there will be more noticeable changes. Aside from that, they helped with the finances of a few students with a bursary, among other things.
I agree with their report that they have made many good interventions regarding students’ academic lives with tutorials, mock exams, and more. However, I would say that the limits of their impacts on academics do not surpass the 100-level students, as seen by the fact that most of their activities regarding academics usually only concern them.
Aside from the controversies regarding the poor officiating, the Seals Cup was largely successful. Hopefully, future competitions will have more disciplined committees so that the controversies regarding walkovers that should or should not have been given will not repeat themselves.
Apart from all of these, the report listed the great works of the union in their innovations regarding the development of students, social impacts, and a rebranding of their social media pages. However, I think more could be done on that, considering that while the report claims that the Instagram page enjoyed a massive boost, the reality is that they barely get any engagements on their posts, with them getting about 20 to 30 likes per post.
I think they should also look into creating original content for the social media pages, as most of the content posted on the pages are reposts of skits and videos made by original creators in the university, with the creators being credited for their work.
To wrap this up, I think the current SU has done a fairly good job in the first semester of the session. However, what was missing from the report was any sign of intervention by the SU on the rising cost of living in the school. Food prices are currently irregular on campus, with some cafeterias charging as much as 150 naira per spoon and others still charging the regular 100 naira per spoon, but with smaller portions. Another issue to be addressed is the rising cost of transportation in the university. But it’s only the first semester, and I hope that theses issues as well as others are resolved in the second semester.