Students Express Concerns Over UISU’24 Election

By: Ochi Maduabuchi

Mixed reactions have trailed the conduct of the just concluded University of Ibadan Students’ Union, year 2024, election.

“Regarding the election, it has been smooth so far,” a resident of Ransome Kuti Hall, Babatunde Dauda observed.

“So the election started almost immediately when they said it would and I think the only difficulty that people encountered was some persons who had network issues” Babatunde noted.

“Anytime they refresh, they get invalid response. That means it counts as if they have voted, so we are not sure whether any voting process that was refreshed actually counts as a valid vote. So that’s just the only difficulty we had. But asides that I think everything has been smooth. Everyone has been able to vote” Babatunde Dauda added.

This sentiment, retold by another student, Damilare Samson, from Lord Tedder Hall of Residence, noted that the same technical glitch was encountered by some residents of the hall.

“Well, actually, there have been technical issues that are being reported about voting. But then, I mean, some people were able to vote. And the issue is that we don’t know whether the thing has been counted or not. I think there is issue with this electoral stuff and I mean the thing is going, but yet it’s not seen. So people try to log in back, and they log out and login and it says, ‘already voted’ or something. So people were scared, or let me just say, they did not know whether their vote count or not.”

The Hall Chairman of Lord Tedder Hall, Ayodeji Toyinbo noted that there was an improvement in the election conduct compared to previous election, while stating that election maneuvering did not occur in the hall.

“Generally, the process is an improvement from last year, just limited and few people having issues and we’ve been able to resolve most of them” Hall Chairman of Lord Tedder Hall, Ayodeji Toyinbo said.

At Kenneth Mellanby Hall of Residence, the Hall Chairman, Olabanji Olaniyan, expressed concern about subtle campaign, which was unacceptable to the democracy of the Union.

“I will not lie to you, I have been to some other areas in University of Ibadan, subtle campaign is going on. But one thing that we are doing now, we have a committee on ground to just make sure that no form of campaign is going on and one thing we are trying to do is to just sensitize people to come and vote in Mellanby Hall” the Hall Chair said.

Concerning technical glitches during attempts to vote, the Hall Chair confirmed that some members of the hall equally experienced some difficulties, which included inability to vote.

“That’s why we have the committee too. So they are just moving around to check for any difficulty and also passing information. So that’s what we have on ground, we’re just informing people that but no sort of campaign” Mellanby Hall Chair noted.

“One thing we are also using to combat things is that we are allowing people/agent from other Halls to be on ground to be looking at the way things are going, so if they notice any thing like anybody trying to campaign, they can just flag it for us and we’d just try to stop it” he added.

Elaborating further on the types of agents being allowed in he continued, “Not specific, we are not restricting movement, anybody that comes. It’s not as if we said everybody should come, but, anyone that comes to see what is going on in Mellanby will be allowed.

Things seem to have been handled similarly in Queen Elizabeth Hall of Residence.

Speaking about the common issue of difficulties experienced in the election, Dooshima Ande, the Hall Chairlady of Queens Hall, noted that she made efforts to forward all cases of concerns brought to her notice to the electoral commission.

“I think some people reached out that they’ve not been able to vote. That the site is not loading or something. So we then tried to put the password and it said invalid. Since we have a rep (electoral) from Queens Hall, I instantly, in fact she already sent her number out, so I redirected all of them. So I told them to chat her up and if it persists, or if they feel like there is a breach in communication, as the case may be, they can walk down to the conference room at the Students’ Affairs building.”

Concerning reports that some people did not see the mail, she responded, “yeah, someone complained about not seeing the message at all. I told her that maybe they will still send it and that she should complain to Gbenuola, who is the (electoral) rep of Queens, and I think she did. Right then and there, I gave the rep’s number to her.”

As of the time of speaking with the Hall Chair,  she could not say if it had been solve, as she hadn’t done follow up.

“I’ve been hearing that people have been campaigning in other Halls,” she said concerning subtle campaigns happening around the school, “but you know Queens Hall is very strict, so people can’t just come in and campaign.”

When asked about whether people were campaigning within Queen Elizabeth Hall, Dooshima Ande denounced practices of electoral malpractices.

“No, one thing we did to encourage the franchise, because at first we noticed that people were not voting and we were like 900 accredited for voting, was to encourage people to exercise their franchise; on hotspot, on wifi, things like that so they can actually vote and it has actually been very productive”.

“We’ve seen a lot of good numbers and I feel that’s just it. Asides that, there is nothing going on and in fact we are making sure no one is campaigning.”

Following the same trend, concern about internet glitches was also experienced in Obafemi Awolowo Hall of Residence.

“Just a few of them that complained of not getting emails from the school,” said the Awo Hall President, Kehinde Adeboye.

“They did their accreditation, they’ve not been able to vote. Some people have gone to Abdulsalam, where the polling unit is at to vote. But they could not help them resolve the issue, so we still have some of them in the hostel, so we’ll try to gather them and take them to SUB. We were told to go to the senate chamber at school area to help them resolve that. So at Abdulsalam here they can not get that done” the Hall President told Indypress.

“In Awo, as it stands, we don’t have guys around. In the morning they were here, but when I also got complains and calls, I had to tell them to leave, because they cannot even enter Awo. Our Warden had already given the order that no male should enter Awo. Only traders, but students cannot. So there’s no access for the guys to enter to do campaign. And here, we only have Awoites at the Porter’s Lodge, trying to compel Awoites to vote, because we have a candidate” the Hall President told Indypress.

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