On ANRP Performance at the Presidential Polls and Matters Arising
Going through Mr Abiodun Atobatele post on Facebook yesterday, he narrated his observations and opinion as to the possible causes of the “poor performance” of ANRP. After I read the Party’s Presidential candidate’s response on the said post, I found another reason to keep advocating for students involvement in campus unionism. This is because of the vast experience one acquire while shouting ‘greatest Nigerian students’ in the campus.
Immediately I saw the post and read the comments that followed, my mind went straight to a similar experience I had while on campus. In the post, Mr Abiodun expressed his dissatisfaction over the decision of the party’s pro tem National Chairman, who later became the party’s Presidential candidate. He accused him of high handedness in disciplining and shutting up anyone that disagrees with him.
In his defence, the Presidential candidate (Dr Tope Fasua) said the party was his idea, and he was not ready to allow anyone hijack the party structure.
Now, I am not writing this to pass judgement on two very important persons I look up to, but to help those jumping on their page to drop a comment to do so with caution.
“Experience they say is the best teacher”, but I also believe that past experiences are capable of misguiding us if not well managed.
In 2011, I was a final year student of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), and so wanted to sustain the graduating set tradition. As a former student union executive with colleagues in all the faculties, I reached out to other union leaders so we could deliberate on how to set up the various committees that would draft up plans for graduation celebration activities . “We will be graduating soon, and our set won’t be different, so what’s the plan to set up the committee?” My political associate, Hadyat Olayinka Adiat was the first person I contacted from the School of Sciences (what most schools refer to as Faculty of Sciences).
Before this time, when we were in Part Three, we had a number of heated political disagreements; this made many of us have strained relationships with one another. So, Adiat mentioned some persons and requested that I reach out to them as they still saw him as a foe. I did as he requested.
I called for the first meeting and we managed to draw out how the graduating set activities would go, starting from setting up the leadership team. Someone suggested that all past Union leaders should not be part of the leadership of the team, as it would be politicised. My friend Adiat was not in support of that idea. His defence was that past union leaders have already been known as leaders on campus, and they have the needed influence to pull other members of our graduating class to key into the vision. And also, someone that had never sacrificed his time for students leadership from part one till that moment, will not do so in part five, as they will be busy with projects.
As logical as the Adiat’s opinion was, I did not agree with him, despite the fact that the proponent of the “none inclusion of ex-union leaders as team heads”, was an old political rival. Perhaps, I was inclined to mend fences.
I agreed to the fact that those of us that have held positions before in the union should back off, and allow new people to run the graduating set vision. The meeting was adjourned to a later date, and we were asked to inform other people from our various schools (Faculties). The next meeting date clashed with my IT defence, so I could not attend. But I already told capable hands (Craig and Toluwanimi ) from my school (Faculty) to attend. I also briefed them on the agreement that we want fresh hands to pilot the affairs. Now, these two persons I told had not held leadership position in the Union, but had proven leadership qualities at the school level.
They went for the meeting, committees were set up and members were appointed to each committee. They chose their various chairmen and secretaries and work started. I got back to them and saw that the rule was not obeyed. Ex-union leaders were members of committees and some of them were either the chairman of a committee or the secretary. So I asked, “with the change of plans, what committee did you guys reserve for me?” I was told my school had already been well represented! I was not even a member of any committee, let alone a chairman or a secretary. I could not believe at first, so I went to Adiat, my friend. And he replied me thus, “did I not warn you that the idea to take ex-union officials out was to take us out?”.
This was a graduating set that every school wanted to hold their own activities due to the political differences of the past. I had the full support of key players in my school then to organise that of the School I belonged to (School of Engineering) separately, but I refused, and chose to work for “national unity”😜.
As a human, I was disappointed, however,t bad. I, however, gave them my total support, though I believe it was not the best they could have done. I soon stopped getting info of what was happening, and the whole event went on fine without me.
So when I saw people asking, “is it because he is the founder of the party that he made himself the Presidential candidate?” Or making comments like, “the fact that it is your idea does not mean you have to run the party like your private property”. I don’t know if these persons have asked themselves, “What if the party is hijacked from him and the ideology on which the vision was birthed is not followed?” Most times, we don’t know the pain an idealist goes through when his idea is being carried out wrongly or used for wrong purposes.
As much as no man can do it all by himself, team members should also learn to manage disagreements. If you say my opinion is not infallible, then yours should be open to scrutiny too.
May those coming behind us find us faithful!
I wish the leadership of ANRP the very best as they make plans to strengthen their political brand!
Nigeria shall be better.
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.