By: Aduwo Ayodele
The ‘doctrine of precedence’ is authoritative, especially for every subsequent case. With precedence, mistakes can be averted, and the common understanding of democracy can be sure of human progress. For one, and for a fact, setting precedence is very akin to the making of history. It is the only clue to what man can do, and what man has done.
The recent investigation of an illegal charging for use of the SRC and the directing of such garnered funds into the House Secretary’s personal account, by the Disciplinary Committee, is but another precedence. One that must be sequentially understood.
Quite similar to the previous session’s established case, which found the erstwhile Public Relations Officer of the Students’ Union, Olalekan Michael Ajibola, guilty of breaching a financial provision of the UISU Constitution, it has sufficed yet again, and can be categorically stated that the underpublicized case of Oluwole Ayomide, the incumbent House Secretary of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union may be another precedence. A precedence, not only as a case, but also its artless (opaque) process of detailing and presenting the investigation.
How it all began?
The recent institutional trial of an alleged illegal renting out of the UI’SU SRC Chamber was first made known through an internal memorandum titled ‘Investigation and Recommendation of Disciplinary Action Against the House Secretary – Mr. Oluwole Ayomide’, which was sent on Thursday, 30th November, 2023 to three concerned bodies from the Speaker, Students’ Representative Council, University of Ibadan.
The groups which received the letters were the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, Students’ Representative Council; the Executive Committee of the Students’ Union; and thirdly, the Honorable members in the current 10th Assembly of the Students’ Union.
The memorandum, duly signed by the Speaker of the UI’SRC, Rt. Hon. Omotunde Olamide, brought to the attention of all the bodies to which the letter was addressed ‘a serious concern that required immediate and appropriate disciplinary action’.
The Speaker requested that the Disciplinary Committee conduct a thorough investigation into the issue he ws directing to the Committee. The Speaker also stated that the Committee was expected to recommend appropriate disciplinary actions based on its findings.
“It has come to the attention of the House leadership that the House Secretary has been illegally charging for use of the SRC Chambers and directing these funds to his personal account. This action has taken place without permission not knowledge from concerned authorities and is in direct violation of the constitution” the statement reads.
“As per Article V (5) of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union Constitution, “Treasurer shall receive, and account for all the Union’s monies derived from all sources”, the unauthorized collection of rent and redirection of funds by the House Secretary is a direct breech of the constitution.”
“In light of the above, I am formally requesting the Committee to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter to determine the extent of deviation from the established financial procedures, the cumulative amount involved, and any potential impact on the financial integrity of the union. The committee is also expected to recommend appropriate disciplinary actions based on their findings.”
“A comprehensive report of the findings and recommendations is expected to be submitted via the House Leadership to the Council before the next sitting of the Council. Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter” the statement concluded.
The ‘Indescribable Findings’ of the Disciplinary Committee
Made evident in the six pages report presented by the 5-person members of the Disciplinary Committee, the document duly signed by Honorable Akinola Emmanuel, described its primary objective as a standing committee, which “functions to the end that there be order in the Union, and that erring actions be followed by adequate disciplinary actions.”
“The disciplinary committee has worked to accomplish its stated duties by holding meetings and interviews with delegated erring members and reported erring members, and then allocating disciplinary action as due for each erring member” the Chairman, Akinola Emmanuel added.
In sequence, according to the Disciplinary Committee, the first meeting of the Committee held on Friday, 15th of December, 2023, with four members out of the 5-member committee present, resolved that “the House Secretary (was) to be summoned immediately”.
At its next meeting held on Friday, 22nd December 2023, with all her 5 committee members present, the Treasurer of the Students’ Union, in the process of the investigation was summoned.
“The treasurer in the process of the summon was investigated. The Treasurer and the House Secretary of the union (were) to be summoned immediately”, the recount of the second meeting reads.
At the Committee’s third and last meeting, according to the report brought forward by the Disciplinary Committe, which was held on Friday, 12th of January, 2024, with four out of the five persons committee present, the House Secretary, Oluwole Ayomide (Sanjay) “was found guilty of (i) Breach of Constitution (ii) Negligence of due process”.
Following the finding of faults by the Disciplinary Committe, the Committee made four recommendations. Albeit wrongly called ‘resolutions’. Its recommendations however were “(i) That the House Secretary of the Union, Mr. Oluwole Ayomide Joy be fined a sum of #10,000, which is to be paid to the union’s account and receipt sent to the Chief whip before the 5th of February, 2024 (ii) That, he is to undergo a community service of which the type is to be communicated with him later (iii) That, he is to write a letter of apology and restitution to the union, the council and the students community (iv) That, he is to read this letter aloud at the next council sitting.”
The Final Resolve
In another internal memorandum dated Saturday, 20th of January, 2024, signed by the Speaker, which was directed to the House Secretary, Oluwole Ayomide (Sanjay); members of the Executive Committee of the Students’ Union; and to Honorable members of the Students’ Representative Council, three strands of resolve have been presented. They are that;
– the House Secretary is fined a sum of ₦10,000 to be paid before 5th February, 2024.
– he is to undergo a community service.
– the House Secretary should write a letter of apology to the Union, Council and the Student Community. The letter is to be read aloud at the next sitting of the Council.
Adding to the resolutions, the Speaker, however, urged the House Secretary “to ensure compliance to the resolutions of the committee”.
Postscript – The actual investigation, to include discoveries made by the Disciplinary Committee, remain unknown. As of the time of this report, the total amount said to have been directed to the House Secretary’s account cannot be ascertained. The undemocratic refusal to be transparent with the Council’s investigation may be a precedence, if not curtailed.