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Friday, 8 December 2017

EFIWE EXCLUSIVE: I Never Had Plans To Contest For UCJ Presidency, I Just Wanted To Remain Influential - Alao Abiodun Reveals More In New Interview!

Alao Abidoun aka Jega

 Alao Abiodun Joshua with his cognomen as "Jega" is a 400 Level student of the department of Educational Management, University of Ibadan. He's the first born of the family of four children, He was born on the 2nd of April, he hails from Ibadan North LGA, Oyo State. He had his secondary school and college academic sojourn in Akoka, Lagos. He gained admission through direct entry into University of Ibadan in 2015 after convoking as the "Overall Best Graduating student" at St. Augustine College of Education (affiliated to University of Ibadan), Akoka, Lagos bagging distinction in his certificate (NCE): 2010-2013. He's a logophile and a gentleman, a good writer and also an avid reader of insightful works especially columns in newspapers.

Campus journalism for him has opened a lot of doors, it has led him to different crossroads, it has catapulted him to a journey into the lives of a myriad of people whose influences, both positive and not so positive, have nourished his being in ways unimaginable. What he is today as a student journalist who has explored all areas of journalism such as photojournalism, newswriting/reporting, writing columns, content writer, essay writing, poet, social media strategist/influencer, publicist, all boils down to his passionate aspirations and yearnings as regards changing the face of journalism especially in the university which therefore intensified and spurred his writing abilities and prowess, increased his lexical avidity even as a logophile.

His beaming and strong reputation earned him a widespread popularity hence the nick "Jega", most importantly he's a seasoned writer with many articles which has x-rayed on university matters and even the national sphere. A very popular news reporter/writer whose name is always appearing on various press board on campus with the credit of constantly dishing out credible, updated and authentic information happening within the university community to the students.

Some of his achievements includes the following:
1. Ivory Kwanzaa - Students' Union Award of Excellence, University of Ibadan (2016)
2. "Intern of the year" - NUESA Press Organization (2015)
3. 2-time consecutive winner "Pressman of the year", Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan (2015, 2016)
4. Winner, Grand prize of Hammid Ibrahim Photo Contest x-raying environmental issues in the society organized by UCJ-UI (2017)
5. Deputy Editor-in-Chief, NUESA Press Organization (2016)
6. Editor-in-Chief, NUESA Press Organization (2017)
His Articles has been published on new media print (blogs, news outlets) such as - ThePage, TheCable, UCJUI, and other media outlets
7. Influential and active member of the Union of Campus Journalist who has served exceptionally in following offices –
a. Chairman, Publicity Committee, 30th anniversary of Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan (2017)
b. Chairman - Publicity Team, 30th set, Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan (2017)
c. Chairman - Electoral Commission, Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan (2017)
d. Member - Presidential debate committee, 30th set, Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan (2017).
8. Best Use of Social Media, Students' Union Awards, University of Ibadan (2016)
9. Nominee, UCJUI News reporter of the year award (2016)
10. Best Use of social media platforms, Annual University Crest Award (ANUCA 2017, 5th Edition)
11. Participant, 9mobile Photography Competition (2017)

WOUWO Host, Zenas 

Welcome on stage - our guest for tonight

I'm pleased to be on the spotlight tonight.

AAJ or Alao Abiodun Joshua, which do you favour?

I prefer my full name. AAJ as abbreviated was birthed by BOP. 

Okay, briefly tell us about your journey into Journalism? 

The journey into journalism has been a mixture of both sweet and unpleasant memories, gathering experiences. To avoid the long narratives, I'll be succinct and laconic, I joined my local press, NUESA Press organization under the astute leadership of Olugbenga Oyeniran (My mentor) and interestingly he brought me into limelight through series of rigorous training, besides me joining the press, I've always been lover of reading newspapers especially punch and city people magazine.

Why the press? Politics is more adventurous with sweet and unpleasant memories and experiences abound there too?

Well, I've always been an active member of the press club right from my secondary school days, we were referred to as "watchdogs", we had the regular routine of reading news on the assembly. 

My love for reading newspapers, listening to news also furthermore prompted me to remain committed to the press journey. Yeah, sure politics is more adventurous but I had to choose a more preferable one which without any modicum of doubt, I'm enjoying it.

The press seems a more safer route to limelight compared to politics where competition may lead to loss of life... What do you think?

Yeah, sure but you know there are also dangers attached to journalism as a profession especially in the mainstream arena. If I had ventured into politics too, I guess I would have also trailed the path of limelight too because UI politics for example when it comes to voting is just a measure of test of popularity.

You love reading newspaper and listening to news, should I conclude then that this made you to be more interested in news reporting on campus? 

Yes. It prompted me to report events that is basically happening within the university community because most people don't get to hear about events in the university.

And you write only on issues within the contest of Unibadan too. Does that depicts the phrase "local pressman" could be attached to you?

Lol. Maybe if you want to address me as that but I know most Uites are always fascinated about events within their immediate environment especially the controversial ones. I've also xrayed issues on national matters too but not consistently. 

The essence of me localizing most of my news reporting was borne out of creativity, rather than bore Uites with the Buhari story and other news they must have read in the dailies, I decided to update them with the activities going on in the university community.

Yes, that brought my attention to this...You always seem to have firsthand information. How do you get them?

Well, I've decided to go extra mile in sourcing for information especially events within the University, the Directorate of public communications, University of Ibadan updates me with timeline of activities in the university. 

I've decided to make it a distinct trait for myself to always get firsthand information and report them to the populace. Furthermore, I always keep myself updated with activities happening on campus by checking through notice boards, social media broadcast and other means.

Does this means you're very close to the power-that-be-it in Unibadan - I mean the Management?

Yes to some extent.

Fine, Let's talk about our Union. What do you feel, from the management's perspective was responsible for the sacking of the Students' Union?

Ordinarily, the management perceived that the student leaders have wielded excessive powers to fight against them hence the need to clip their wings. Ojo Aderemi indeed took radical measures upon assumption into office, I expected that as an orator of torrential eloquence like some notable student leaders who have the ability to sweep every one along in what looks like a rushing noise and foam of a great enthusiasm, he should have employed diplomatic tactics, especially during the day he delivered his inauguration speech at the swearing in ceremony and the congress which acquiesced him to the decision of the highest body. 

The management felt threatened by his personality hence it resulted in multiple reactions.

Then, we should blame Aderemi for the loss of our Union???

Not necessarily blame him, it was a worthy cause, he led the soldiers (students) to the war front against the management. I'm not blaming him, the management acted out of place to have suspended the union. We all didn't see it coming.

Then the Management should be blamed for acting out of place?

In the pot of blame both the management and the student leaders apparently will obviously get their own share because there was so much intricacies to the whole saga which was not opened to the students but was a problem from the management's end, another angle which was a context of the suspension of the union was due to the "personality clash" which I perceive after the swearing in ceremony. 

B. Which is more justifiable?

I. Ojo's excuse for the protest

II. Management's excuse for the closing down.

The protest apparently led to the closing down by the university management, the management excuse for closing down the university was a means to settle its internal dispute as regards the reason for the delay in the production of the ID cards because the VC was always claiming he was not "aware".

Should we conclude then that the Union was suspended on May 8 and not the day it was declared suspended? The protest was just an excuse?

Lol. It was a tactical suspension. One would apparently say that it was indeed a face off between Ojo Aderemi and the Vice-Chancellor. I didn't expect the hall to be aggravated with such tension that day but the events turned out to be shocking. Ojo's speech was very much controversial, the VC's remarks came in like a rebuttal. The protest capped up the whole situation.

Following the suspension of the students Union, As someone who saw from both sides, what would you have done(in Ojo Aderemi's shoe) after?

At first, there was already a problem with the executive council led by Ojo Aderemi but indeed the issues were resolved lowkey which I know was just a facade. 

Following the suspension, there were already petty disagreements from their own end which made the whole situation complex. Well, the steps which he's taking now which involves lobbying the senate members as regards the reinstatement of the union still seems to be the only hope and viable option I would have taken too rather than compound the whole situation, but personally the university system from the management's end is indeed in a form "cabal setting" such that decisions are not easily reversed when stamped.

Hmmmm! Please we'd like to know the problems with the executive council that was resolved lowkey?

Lol. I'm not a member of their executive council nor a kitchen cabinet member but apparently as a campus journalist, I had run an Intel about the issues going on within their cabinet. Example was that they felt they were not always carried along especially in decision making process.

The "cabal setting". Good! Tell us more about this too. Who are those who constitute the cabal And does this mean the VC is just a figure while some certain "cabal" have hijacked the administration? 

Well, the VC still remains the recognized administrative head of the university irrespective of the cabals anywhere. I can't categorically state who constitute the cabals but there are prominent people who also influence decision making process in the university, this apparently is just a function of their stake within the university as a stakeholder.

There's a belief the Dean of students has never been for the students and that he leads the pack against the reinstatement of the Union. What do you think?

Well, this whole case or bants of "Dean of students has never been for the students" boils down to the level of rapport which student leaders are expected to maintain with the dean. I can't categorically stand with the stand that the dean is against the reinstatement of the union, this current dilemma is just a clear case of personality clash. I think you can remember the impression of the "200 level student with no beards", it has indeed created a bad image of Ojo Aderemi.

What's your say on that statement from the Vice Chancellor of the University?

Well, personally I was quite disappointed but the issues were becoming to herculean for the VC.

Besides, bearing in mind Nifemi once said "the Dean of students is not a father". Do you still think the Dean is someone that has been unfairly assessed for too long? 

Also, in your 4years in the University, what students' event have you attended that the Dean graced?

Put differently, I feel the Dean should always be the one to open Jaw war ceremony every year. It'll make it imperative we have good venues conducive for humans 

Also, this will bring the management closer to the students... What do you have to say on this too? 

The statement as asserted by the former SU President, Nifemi created lot of problems for him afterwards, that singular action was perceived as a threat to his personality as a Dean. 

I've had series of rapport with both the Dean and the Deputy Dean and interestingly on a personal basis I maintain a cordial relationship with them. Well, the unfair assessment is as result of the perceived notion about his personality. 

Well, the dean of students have always been present at probably major student events, He was at the manifesto night of the students union election which ushered Ojo Aderemi in. I can't vividly remember others now. 

Yes, sincerely I was quite surprised at the absence of the dean of students at the biggest public speaking event in UI which attracts the generality of UI students, I'm of the notion that the dean should be given singular honor of chairing the opening ceremony.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.. Is it to say the VC could not cope with criticism from a "200l boy"?

Maybe that's what you perceive from your own perspective. We all have individual differences hence saying the VC cannot cope with criticism from a 200 level boy is quite controversial.

No sire, this was deduced from your response. You said "becoming too herculean" ?

Oh, okay. Becoming too herculean, I meant that other administrators in the system did also engaged Ojo Aderemi personally but apparently it appeared like the whole situation was a script to the VC. He categorically felt that Ojo's deliberate attempt was to confront the actions of the management.

Okay, moving away from there, How does it feel to be nominated for FOPA Awards? 

Well, I feel honored and elated to be considered among the nomination for outstanding person in student journalism especially alongside the other nominees. 

Every society needs truth-tellers; they need individuals of courage and who are forthright in their thinking and in whatever advice, suggestions or recommendations they may proffer, hence I'm happy with the recognition.

What's your chance of winning?

My chances of winning all lies in my journalistic activities so far as a student journalist, I've always maintained the spotlight of ensuring prompt news report/writing dissemination, photojournalism as an alternative to depicting events in images as news too, serving as the Editor-in-Chief of my faculty press and as such bringing it into limelight too. 

As a popular news reporter/writer who's always on-the-go, it is by nature that one is wonderfully adept at stalking — I mean, finding sources and relevant information for various and sundry stories. Furthermore, the advent of social media has made the process of reporting all the more nuanced, and has served as a vital channel for everything from finding leads to contacting sources to sharing out of the information and many other areas. So therefore just like every other nominee we all have higher chances of winning.

What do you think about the art of campaigning for votes where award is concerned?

Personally, I strongly believe that awards should be based on merit hence the contributions of individual nominees should be weighed, reducing it to campaigning for votes will apparently be likened to a popularity contest. 

FOPA in its own case, used the voting strategy to determine the "public acceptance" of the nominees.

But your campaigns for votes are everywhere. What do you have to say?

Yes, just like I asserted above, in the stated letter I received, we were required to do so. I don't think to a large extent that will be the only criterion, we were also required to submit an essay. So therefore the campaign for votes everywhere shows the public acceptance of my nomination.

If you were to give the award to someone, who would it be?

Tactically, I share a very close relationship with the other 2 nominees - Haleem is my classmate while Kanyinsola is my close friend. We had a stroll together tonight, did little shopping and discussed randomly. So therefore we've all worked earnestly as regards contributing our own quota as a student journalist to campus journalism, so this is just a clear case of "may the best man win".

Why didn't you contest for UCJ presidency? 

Well, someone once told me after noticing my vibrancy, I never had plans to. I just wanted to remain influential as the case maybe, besides I didn't meet the requirements of being an inducted member of the Union. 

So as the case may be, I'm apparently comfortable with the status of being a UCJ senate member. Furthermore, I think aspiring for the UCJ presidency position will limit me in some aspects of continuing my activities as a news reporter thereby redirecting me to administrative aspects of the union.

Hmmm...What are the defects you have noticed in UCJ so far?

Well, it's not possible to have a perfect union, The union under the astute leadership of Arowosafe Samuel has been very proactive and functional so far.

 The only defect for now still boils down to the level of unity among various local press organizations on campus, it's currently under check, some local press organization perceive UCJ to be a body being controlled by selected few people or cabals which appears to be quite untrue, or probably under the dominance of some prominent names when it comes to campus journalism.

Good! Any regrets in UI?

Yes, just one but for the sake of confidentiality I'll keep it low for now, the day of unveiling my memoirs will come.

Was Public Speaking ever an option???

Yes, I once considered it too. But I prefer to do my freelance smooth talking. 

Mr Alao Abiodun,Where do you see yourself in the next 5years? 

A teacher/lecturer, diving into the world of mainstream journalism.

Quickly, Do you feel any stigma of any sort being an Educator?

Nope. I'm a proud teacher with a certified NCE certificate which I bagged after 3 years of academic paraphernalia. Now that I'm on the verge of bagging B.ed too, I don't feel any sort of stigma. I'm comfortable with being an educator because I've Interestingly correlated teaching and journalism together. In one of my post stated below, I said - 

Excerpt "Memoirs of Alao Abiodun as a student campus journalist, University of Ibadan" 

...As student journalist who doubles as a certified teacher, I've also realized that "Teaching" and "Journalism" quite enjoy or share striking features such that they build and boost one's confidence, helps one to understand patterns of human behaviors amongst others. The experience I've gathered so much here will help in grooming younger ones in case I end up in a school system which I might actually end up in, such that the functional activities of the "Press clubs" which are usually found in schools will be effective in its operation.

So you remain in UI??

Only God knows. I've a prospect of trailing the line of academics, then bit of journalism too.

What's the future you see for UCJ in the next few years? 

I'm very much optimistic that the status quo of UCJ will scale higher with the emergence of upcoming faces in campus journalism, the current set of faces/prominent big names are getting set to face another phase of life, hence we've made our conscious contributions, the future of UCJ therefore lies in the hands of the upcoming youngsters.

Thank you for reading this Interview. Feel free to share with Others and post on your prestigious platforms. 

If posted, kindly give credit to Unibadan Efiwe and WOUWO. Thanks and God Bless. 

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