Mr. AG, When Will Your Plans See the Light of Day?

It’s been a short session in the University of Ibadan. Most students are still adjusting to the eleven weeks of lectures as opposed to the usual 13 weeks that most are used to. This could be a tangible excuse for most public office holders in this institution including the current Administrator General of the Great Independence Hall Hon. Ogunremi Samuel.

For context, Hon. Ogunremi Samuel popularly known as P.SAM became Independence Hall’s AG under what one may call providential circumstances. The frontrunner and only candidate for the position last session, Hon. Lonimi Ogungbure was disqualified after failing to meet up with the requirements of the Katanga Republic Independent Electoral Commission (KRIEC). Despite the shenanigans of some of the political actors in the hall, the KRIEC stood its ground, and as the constitution had and still has many loopholes, the KRIEC re-opened the sales of forms to aspirants for the position.

After a thorough screening, Ikonwi Goddoing and PSAM emerged as candidates for the AG position. Eventually, PSAM defeated Goddoing by a wide margin to take over from Adejumo Uthman. Given the short time between Lonimi’s disqualification and PSAM’s emergence, PSAM put out a decent manifesto that promised a lot to Katangites. But what is the essence of composing a decent manifesto if most of the points stated would not be achieved? This editorial aims to analyze and assess Hon. Ogunremi Samuel’s performance as Independence Hall’s AG.

From the optics, it seems Hon. Ogunremi has delivered on his promises, seeing as the Junior Common Room (JCR) has been given a significant face-lift and new installations have been added to make it quite luxurious. It is by no means a small feat, and posterity will have a hard time forgetting him, even as the question of its accessibility lingers.

However, renovating the JCR was just one of the many promises that PSAM promised Katangites when he was soliciting their votes in the elections that took place last session. Going through his manifesto unmasks a big lacuna between his promises and what he has actually accomplished since he assumed office.

The first item on Hon. Ogunremi’s manifesto is political inclusivity, and while that plan is visible on paper, there is very little to be seen in terms of its implementation. PSAM told Katangites that he would collaborate with those in the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) to ensure that Katangites are carried along on issues discussed in the house. He related that he would ensure that information and resolutions from the SRC are posted on the Block C board. However, that board has not served that purpose. Rather, the board has served as a medium for free adverts. Not a single resolution from the UI SRC has been posted on the board and, as of the time of writing, there is nothing on the board.

Also, the AG stated that his administration would put out information on the duties, benefits, and responsibilities of Independence Hall representatives at the SRC. Unfortunately, nothing has been done concerning this.

Moving on to his second point, the AG stated that he would organize more gyration activities. This, according to him, would help Independence Hall retain its reputation as an events hub. But this would appear as wishful thinking. In terms of social activities, the Hall is at its lowest in the last four academic sessions, barring the Coronavirus period. Gyrations which used to be an almost weekly event has reduced drastically, and except for the erratic power supply which draws out Katangites from their rooms, very few activities have been organized by the hall leadership.

Kudos must go to the Administrator General though, because he has continued the tradition of the sessional Freshers’ blast and, of course, there are plans for the Hall Week which will take place at the tailend of the semester.

However, a further look at his manifesto still reveals a lot of discrepancies. PSAM promised to organize regular town hall meetings for Katangites to voice their opinions and suggestions on issues in the hall so that those issues would be adequately addressed. However, nothing of that nature has come up this session. Perhaps Mr. AG has forgotten his promises.

Furthermore, PSAM promised to start a welfare program that would see students who are well to do contribute towards helping other students who are struggling financially. While this plan sounds nice, just like his other proposed plans, this has also not seen the light of day.

One of the problems that Independence Hall has faced is the bad state of the Maracana. The pitch needs to get fixed because of how it easily gets flooded whenever it rains. In his manifesto, PSAM promised that this issue would be solved, but with just weeks before his tenure as AG ends, the Maracana is still in a bad shape. The gym which he also promised to renovate is another issue entirely as it has been neglected and permanently put under lock and key since the start of the session.

Worthy of note, is the cordial relationship that PSAM has been able to build with the Alumni body just like his predecessors. As earlier stated, one of the fruits is the JCR renovation. However, while that is a good thing, it also cancels one of PSAM’s campaign promises which was to rent out the JCR periodically to earn revenue for the hall — of course, the JCR cannot be rented out because of its remake.

Also, the onboarding of freshers into the hall was quite seamless in the first semester, as they were properly shown the ropes by the excos and settled in swiftly. The AG also promised that facilities in the hall are tended to. Applaudable are the efforts to renovated the reading room in A block, but there are still issues of bad sockets across the various . Also, what happened to fixing the AC’s that the alumni have provided, or are they just relics?


The other issues that matter

Aside from his manifesto, there are also other issues that PSAM’s tenure will be judged on. When he first assumed office, his relationship with the Independence Hall Legislative House was quite shaky as he and the other excos occasionally made a few derogatory statements to the members of the house during sittings.

Also, there were certain situations when he flouted House protocols, particularly during the presentation of his budget to the house.

In terms of information passage, the flow of information from the executive council to the occupants of the hall has been limited to WhatsApp broadcasts. The PA systems have been under-utilized, and except for the active WhatsApp users, some Katangites have been left in the dark concerning some of the important ongoings in the hall.

There have also been situations when members of the press have tried to get across to him, but he failed to respond.

It is important for public officers to understand the weight of their manifestos when they dish them out to gain votes during elections. In PSAM’s manifesto most of the points are quite solid and would be helpful to Katangites. Unfortunately, just like other politicians, his plans have become wishful thinking. That could still change as he still has a few weeks in office. Till then, we can only watch.

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