By: Ochi Maduabuchi Nnamdi
We hold in our hands devices of great power. A small handheld device capable of accessing information from anywhere across the world, of connecting us with people on the other side of the world with little to no delays between us.
But none of this would be possible without communication. Within the limited space of our phones, components more than a hundred times more powerful than that which was used to land a man on the moon communicate between themselves at speeds much faster than our minds can comprehend.
Every tap on our phone requires the transfer of information from the screen to the processor, which checks in with the code that is currently running, finds out if there is something currently under where the finger has been placed, tells the code to update, and informs the screen to showcase the words we see now.
This constant communication enables us to surf the web, snap images of moments we hope to remember, talk to our family across distances we are unable to cover for one reason or another, and a simple lack of communication between a single part of this machine would prevent you from reading this opinion article.
I say all this to highlight the importance of communication; to show us that communication is crucial in achieving any goal we hope to achieve, especially so in leadership.
But what does this communication entail? It is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. In leadership, it is ensuring that your followers are kept abreast of your activities, of your plans and goals, of your stances on particular topics that are important to them, that directly — or indirectly — affect them in one way or another.
However, it is a quality that seems to be lacking in the leaders present in Independence Hall. Decisions are made in the hall and the students aren’t made aware of it.
Just recently the bathrooms in B block were renovated and the Excos did not attempt to inform the students of the block. All through the night students were left unable to use the bathrooms closest to them, or at least they were not supposed to. But caught off guard by the sudden presence of cement in all the bathrooms in the bathroom and facing the pressing need to stay clean (Katangites aren’t animals after all), some students had their baths on the still-wet cement, ruining the work of the hard-working labourers who had done it.
Ignoring the fact that it was pretty poor planning to do all the stalls and leaving students without a way of having their baths (although C block hadn’t been started yet and I assume students were supposed to walk there, the viability of that strategy is dubious at best), the fact that students weren’t even informed that such a thing was even happening in the first place is quite shocking.
Neither the work done nor the alternative was communicated to the students who were affected. A sad story.
In bleak contrast to the joyous affair of seeing our JCR transforming before our eyes. Indy’s JCR has become something that every Katangite can look at with pride. But even this emblem of pride does not escape this same issue of communication.
While we are glad of the new state the JCR is in, there is no doubt that the changes have made it ineligible to fulfil the function of a viewing centre it had once served. The presence of two sockets on the building’s exterior of the building leaves us to speculate that there might probably be TVs mounted there for the viewing of matches, but they could just as well be used for any other thing.
As an official statement concerning the JCR is yet to be made — perhaps being saved for the official opening or something — we are left with only speculations and no real information.
And so we shall speculate, even upon the matters of food. Despite much effort on the part of the Student Union to fight against extra charges made on transfers, such as a resolution to the effect that for purchases under #1000 no charge should be collected, the current Executives of the Great Independence Hall are yet to communicate their stance on the topic.
Regardless of what the Union leaders say, it is the actions of the local leaders that would decide if such resolutions are carried out. The average Katangite is not going to speculate on his chances of buying #500 worth of food without charges. He is not going to speculate on whether the hall executives would support his stance or not. He just wants to eat!
This lack of clear communication does not help the average Katangite. It leaves them in a state of confusion where they can only follow in the footsteps of those around them when faced with an issue. But since that is the case, what then is the purpose of the leader?
The hostel we find ourselves in is a community that depends on proper communication between the leaders and their followers who have elected them, just like the phones we hold need communication within its different parts to not just get things done effectively but to get anything done at all.