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Monday, 16 October 2017

EFIWE EXCLUSIVE: We Were Betrayed At Some Point - Oluwagbenga Sadik, Talks More About UI Students' Union Brouhaha In New Interview

Here's another edition of WOUWO, brought to your screen by Unibadan Efiwe. WOUWO Host, Zenas engage in a lengthy chat with Public Speaker and Co-founder of  Facts Count, Oluwagbenga Sadik, a 300 Level Student of the Department of Human Nutrition,  Faculty Of Public Health, who shed more light on the University of Ibadan Students' Union Brouhaha, anticipated 'October 18th',  his expectations for Jaw War 2017 and many more.

WOUWO Host, Zenas 

Read Full Interview below;

Welcome Sir, Oluwagbenga Sadik. Sir, I just checked your profile and discovered you added your full birth date, a practice uncommon among Nigerians. What's your take on people hiding their year of birth?

Lol... Well, I believe that one's age is not a thing to be hidden. After all, if I die today, it will be on my obituary.

You are in your final year and have done your IT as well, can you brief us about the experience there?

 I had a one-month industrial experience as a part of the requirements for a particular course in my department. It wasn't exactly an IT, as we will still have our SIWES program at the end of this session. 

By the way Sir, I am not in my final year, I am in 300 Level.

My experience at UI hotel was quite good, as I did not get to do a lot of work as compared to my colleagues that went to other hotels. I Also spent about one week at the bakery, and honestly, there wasn't much to learn.

Oh, sorry for the surreptitious mistakes in identity declaration.By the way, What do you think with regards to the necessity of that industrial experience? Do you think it's a must ritual to be performed in relation to your course of study? 

 Lecturers in my department already know what my stance is. It is completely useless and out of place. Some of my mates had to do ridiculous things such as sweeping, doing laundries, etc. Things that are in no way connected to our course. But then, it is what it is... And I tried to change it but I could not.

What were the steps you took to change it? Was it alone or collective?
What do you think you could have done which you couldn't/didn't and moreover what do you think bring about the failure?

What I did first was to complain to the lecturer in charge, then I made my complaints formal. The response we got was that we should provide better alternatives, and when we did, all we got were excuses why our alternatives could not be taken. 

For example, we got excuses like... "the place is too far", "they refused us ten years ago, so they may still refuse us", and a host of others ridiculous excuses. 

But in all, what really hindered any change was the fact that there was not much support from other Students in the department. The apathy there is on a very high level.

This very much apathy will take us to the Students' Union, Suspension and Defeat... Do you think apathy has the largest role or was the major factor we lost to the Management? 

No, not really. First, I recall that in 2016 prior to the election that brought in Ojo Nifemi, Facts Count conducted a poll out of which we asked - "Do you think the SU is relevant at this time?" only about 60% of our respondents answered the question positively.

 But when we asked that exact same question in  a survey recently months ago, over 90% answered positively. This clearly proves that apathy has drastically reduced on campus. 

Now why I think apathy is not a problem, continued victimization of students is. And the fear of victimization contributed greatly to the crisis that rocked the Union. Many other mistakes were made, and there were lots of betrayals, but that is a discussion for another day.

Sir Sadik, You talked about increase in statistics, but that doesn't equate increase in contributors... Ojo Aderemi polled 2600+, the other three polled about 2700.. Meaning less than 6000 Uites voted on election day, out of 40,000 students... That's still insignificant...

With regards to the election, there was never a time voter's turn out in UI was up to 10, 000, so 6,000 is not so low. There are various reasons why people do not vote, and apathy is just one.

Besides, a glancing survey of the Congress will indicate less than 1500 uites present... What is your say on this? 

 Same goes for attendance at the Congress. There was an increase in students participation in SU activities. As I said, lots of mistakes were made. 

Besides, Many felt Ojo Aderemi got it all wrong with his speech to the VC, then his inability to control the rebellious voice at the Congress ground...

Placed in his shoes (as someone who was fully updated about his every movement), what would you have done better?

Personally, I do not see anything wrong with Ojo's inaugural speech. I have gone through the archives in SUB, and I found inaugural speeches with stronger tones.

 He won the popular votes based on a his radical ideology, and patriotism to the Union. And he wanted students to know he meant what he said. It is just unfortunate, the kind of world we live in, and the kind of leaders we have. 

However, I feel more could have been done to tone down the speech a little, and more lobbying could have been done before the eventual protest. But then, there was never the chance to do so. 

I remember the VC traveled almost immediately after the inauguration, and he actually made attempts to meet with all stakeholders in the Management. 

He met the VC four times before the protest, and the only time he was alone with the VC, the VC actually promised to come address students.

The discussion about the Students' Union is a long talk, thus, we take a brief break from it...While we do that, let's talk FACT COUNTS...

Sir Sadik, the history of FACT COUNTS dates back to...? And we're more interested in the founding and the motive behind it?

Thank you. When I was in 100 level, I joined a student organization called Lumen Society (founded by Oredola Ibrahim). There myself, Amolegbe Mojeed and Rofiat were tasked with a project to poll SU elections. 

After the elections, we decided to continue with the idea, and we iterated till we had something we could work with.

The motive behind FC is to convert people's opinion (raw data) into facts and information. We believe that opinion is general, but facts are sacred.

The model is quite similar (but does not entirely mirrors)  world class survey organizations such as Yougov, Geopolls, etc.

Where is Lumen now or did it transform into Fact counts?

Lumen Society is a student organization with the core responsibility of making students change agents in the society. Lumen society did not transform into FC, as they are entirely different. 

Lumen society is fully functional in university of Ibadan, with about 25 members. Some of our programs would come up this semester.

 Sir, You've only given the preceding idea of how FC came to be but not how FC itself was born

I believe the preceding idea of how FC came to be is exactly how FC was born Sir.

But for clarification purposes, out of our desire to build what will stand the test of centuries, but we decided to expand the scope of FC to take up private polls and academic surveys.

Hmmm, all organization face one difficulty or the other, can we know those faced by FC, how you've tried to tackle them and the yields obtained so far? 

Thank you. Currently, we decided to assist final year students who need to use questionnaires for their final year projects. Usually, this category of students would go through a whole deal of stress, distributing questionnaires and getting respondents. 

With our platform, the entire process is cheaper and easier. But unfortunately, the conservative nature of our lecturers is making this innovation very difficult. 

Most students are scared that their supervisors would not be comfortable with this arrangement, a fear that is somewhat valid.

So what we did was to try to meet with some lecturer, and explain the intricacies of our platform to them. We got some favorable feedbacks. 

Excellent, I would like to know too, what's the average readers/visiting range to Facts Count? 

FC is not a blog, so we do not have a readers range. What we have are registered respondents, and currently we have about 300 respondents, with a projection to get 1,000 by December. 

We also have the capacity to reach respondents from Lagos and Ogun state. 

Even after meeting some lecturers and getting favourable responses, how safe and secure is the FC platform? 

The most important thing in any survey platform is credibility of your respondents and data. 

Our platform is very credible, hence it is very secure. 

It is impossible for one person with one device to fill  a survey more than once, and because our respondents all have to register, they cannot even use another device.

Our data is well protected, and our responses are private. We do not share them with anyone other than our clients.

What makes FC better than the usual paper questionnaire and what's the fee charge? Sell FC to us? 

The usual paper questionnaire is stressful, and time wasting. Let me paint a scenario for better understanding. 

If you have to get 200 male students for a particular study, and you need them to fill a questionnaire, first you need to print out over 200 questionnaires, and then move around from hall to hall trying to find respondents.  You would be faced with lots of challenges, like insults and dishonest respondents. The biggest challenge you will face is analysing your data. You have to input over 200 questionnaires manually into your excel sheet or SPSS. 

With FC, you simply give us your approved questionnaire, and we get you your preferred respondents who are willing to fill surveys as they get paid for it. We also give you your data results automatically, in excel format or SPSS for analysis.

Audience - Would Sadik be representing his faculty or hall in this year's edition of Jaw War? 

 Both, by God's grace.

Mr Sadik, What do you expect in this year's JAW WAR? 

I look forward to great speeches, and most importantly interesting debates. I also look forward to winning two trophies. One for Lord Tedder Hall and another for Public Health.

What do you think Tedder Hall got it wrong last year? 

I believe we gave in our best last year, and we simply stepped aside for Kuti hall at the semi final. 2016 was a year for underdogs, as evident in Leicester City's win, Donald Trump's win, and Kuti's win. 

This year, we are better and ready to take our place as the true champions.

Back to the Students' Union brouhaha...

Audience - Where do you think the Press fits into the struggle for the Union?

I believe the press has done well, but can still do better. I once had an argument with a very close friend, where I posited that many pressmen on campus are not ideologically rich. 

One would expect that at a time like this, the Press would constantly put pressure on the School Management to reinstate the Union, but we do not have that.

But I think they are doing well enough, but they can do more.

 Do more in what sense sir... A more responsive and active reply is needed sire...

What are the steps you would take or push for as a core member of the UCJ? 

If I were a core member of UCJ (I'm not) I would constantly write to build consciousness in the minds of uites, and in a time like this, I would write to pressure the Management into reinstating the Union.

 Mr Sadik, The Union had the option of seeking legal means against the unjust suspension of the Union, why was it not utilised? 

Yes. Remember I mentioned that we were betrayed at some point. I am a staunch believer in justice, just like Izu, and I was so sure we were going to court. I strongly advised it, and the President took this advice.

We spent hours every day at the office of the Union's legal adviser, who kept promising us that he would file a case in court. 

At some point, he even mentioned that he would file the court proceedings that Friday, but he never did. We do not know what went wrong, as I will not make any assertion I cannot prove, but I know I felt really betrayed and others who were there at the time did too.

So are we to hold to the belief that the Union has just an option of A LAWYER in the whole of Ibadan? 

Or why was the lawyer himself not sued if he had breached an agreement with the suspended excos, 
Except if the Union was only using legal means as a threat to the Management... 

What tenable backing can you provide to the assertion that the Union indeed pushed for full legal proceedings? 

He was the legal adviser of the Union, He was our best bet. But yes, we could have tried other lawyers... Although finance was another thing.

"But yes we could have tried other lawyers..." Why didn't you?

If finance was an issue, why were students not updated??? We could have seen one willing to help.

What evidence do we feed on here to swallow that which you just told Us?

This is already feeling like an interrogation. *smiles*

I would tell you to ask others who used to resume with us at the Barristers place every day for about 2weeks, try will corroborate my account. The Speaker of the SRC, some alumni, and notable students.

Now, here we are... Come Oct 18, if the Union retains its current status quo, what should we look forward to??? In all honesty 

I think this question will be best answered by members of the executive council. But as a staunch supporter of this administration, I can say that we should expect the best from them.

Audience - Pls ask SDC:

1. If the Union should be restored, does he think Ojo have what it takes to lead it in terms of leadership forthrightness?

2. What was the ideological inclination of the Patriotic Intelligentsia and why could it have failed in making our Union great?

1. Ojo Aderemi is in high spirit and sound mind, and without sounding like Adesina or Garba Shehu, I see no reason why anyone should question his leadership forthrightness (whatever that means).

2. Patriotic Intelligentsia preached two basic things - a sane and a responsive Union. And in 24 days, I believe Ojo Aderemi was able to hold on to those values. 

What happened was unfortunate, but I do not consider it failure. It was only the unfortunate effect of having a pro active union. I think it is this simple. The management does not want a proactive Union, and when it seemed like the Aderemi led Union was  "too" proactive, they had no other choice but to suspend it

What do you make out of the friction between the Ojo led executives and Asiwaju led honourables on a side, and the Chief executive officer and members of the executives?

First, I do not think there was any friction between the executive council and the SRC. If there was, then I did not know about it.

But either regards to the President, it was simply miscommunication, and both parties have since moved on.

Last question sire... SDC, Arrange the following in the order of your priority

A. Public speaking

B. Your studentship
C. Student activism against injustice
D. Fact Counts...

PS: the last to the top indicate the one you will jettison if left with no option than to do away with one.

Wow... This is difficult. 

B.  Public Speaking 
C. Activism 
D. Facts Count 
A. Studentship 

Ps: the arrangement was intentional. My studentship comes first, but often suffers most. 

Thank you for reading this Interview. Kindly share with your friends. Sharing is Caring.  

Feel free to post this Interview on your prestigious platforms. If posted, Kindly give credit to Unibadan Efiwe and Zenas of WOUWO. Thanks and God Bless you.

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