NUESA Press correspondent, Kunle Sotibi had an interview with Honourable Popoola Hassan, the chairman, Audit and Budget Committee, a house committee of the NUESA Faculty Legislative Council (FLC). He spoke on issues both within the NUESA legislative council and outside the legislative council, issues of misconception between the NUESA FLC and the NUESA Executive Council.
Nuesa Press: can we have an insight into who you are?
Honourable Hassan: I am a 400 level student of the Department of Educational Management and the current Chairman of Audit and Budget Committee of NUESA FLC. I am also the Speaker, Independence hall Legislative Council.
Nuesa Press: How do you manage academics with politics?
Honourable Hassan: To the Glory of the Lord, it has not been easy. However, as a leader, one is expected to multitask and have responsibilities especially the one that will benefit the generality of students. It has been hectic, stressful and tiring but we have to ensure one doesn’t affect another. I am doing wonderfully well both in my academics and also in positions i am currently holding.
Nuesa Press: how easy or difficult is it for you to manage two crucial responsibilities together; being the speaker of the independence hall legislative council and the chairman of the NUESA FLC Audit and Budget committee (ABC)?
Hmm. Leadership is all about service to humanity and whatsoever gives you joy and happiness will never for once be difficult. To me, I see it as an opportunity to learn from my fellows, socialise with veteran in different fields and build a lifetime connections with people. As a student of Management, we were taught how to ensure efficiency and effective in leadership and other activities, hence, this gives me a vibe to manage the two leadership arms without one being compromised for another. Apart from these two houses, I am a member of more than five different associations on campus and I am proud to be active in all.”
Nuesa Press: what are the problems faced by your committee (ABC) thus far?
Honourable Hassan: (quoting him) For the committee I chaired, we only have challenges and not problems. These include, noncompliance to provisions of the Constitution by some individuals, administrative tussle among the executives, low turnout of committee members for legislative assignments, insincerity of some Nuesa officers and others.
Nuesa Press: what do you mean by “administrative tussle”? Does it connote there’s a power tussle between you and the speaker of NUESA FLC or a supremacy of power between you and the members of the ABC?
Honourable Hassan: This is absolutely not true. Speaker is the Chairman of the council and must be respected all the times. He is a boss, mentor and colleague and as such has been doing wonderfully well to me. In my committee, we don’t have issues among ourselves, we are friendly, cordial and committed to the welfare of our people.The administrative tussle speaks more on executive and legislative arms. There’s no trust among the two side.
Nuesa Press: few days ago, there was an article published by NUESA Press Organization about the recent bill on the floor of NUESA FLC which is on the amendment of one of the articles of the NUESA constitution. The bill posited that the FLC house committees will no longer approve supplementary budget as it is in the NUESA constitution. What is your perspective about this bill?
Honourable Hassan: Article 6, Section 3(h) clearly explains what the bill is all about. To me, the bill is faulty and as such violated Article 22, Section 1 & 2 of the Nuesa constitution.
We have had many cases of emergency where things has to be done and sitting of the legislative council cannot be called at that moment, this is main reason why the aspect of the constitution was provided. To further explain this, all standing committee of the house has no power to approve any proposal without the knowledge of the principal officers. I can boldly say that, there’s misinterpretation of laws here and we need to orientate ourselves.
Secondly, I have read a lot of legislative books and documentary and I can say that the Speaker has no power to veto or use his power to approve any bill without the consent of the members. This is even stated in the Nigeria National Assembly page as ” Members wishing to participate in the debate are accorded five to seven minutes to speak, at which time they argue for the bill’s rejection or amendment; if, at the end of the debate, the bill receives the support of the majority of the house in which it is being considered, it passes to the next stage.” With this, the bill will be revisited by God’s grace and necessary corrections will be taken. For many years in NUESA, if there’s need for prompt approval of any project, we use to have a meeting which the power of the house is invested in and it comprises of Principal Officers, Chairmen and Secretaries of ABC and PIMC and also Majority Leaders in conjunction with Executive council. This can be resolved in many ways. First, All officers of Nuesa (Including Press) need to understand our roles and duties very well as stated in the consitiution of Nuesa.
Secondly, we need to zero our mindsets from selfishness and other personal affiliation into Nuesa business. Also, we must see ourselves as colleagues and friends than enemies. We are all students of the faculty and we should be more cautious of our utterance and sayings.
Nuesa Press: how can the misconception between the FLC and the NUESA executive council be resolved?
Honourable Hassan: Dear educators, it is important you know the duties of these house committees. Let me educate educators on the duties of the Audit and budget committee. As stated in Article 9, Section 6, Sub-sect(a-f). The functions of ABC are clearly and explicitly stated. We have 2-in-1 role sir. First as audit committee and secondly as Budget which involves finance of the association. Part of our roles are:
1. Shall receive and make findings on all proposed budget a week before the sitting of FLC
2. Shall ensure compliance to all approved financial obligations of the association.
3. Shall audit the account of the executive council from time to time among others.
Nuesa Press: any words for educators?
Honourable Hassan: being a member of the faculty of education should be the happiest thing one should cherish most because we receive all round knowledge and we are teachers and not lawyers. Educators need to show interest in leadership and other developmental skills. We have the population but it is somehow disappointing that this isn’t working for us. We should be the one having the SU President every year.
Educators need to be well informed and challenged their representative at any arms or organs of NUESA. It is high time they needed to come and observe sittings of the house, seek information from the executive council, question any officers of the association for wrongdoing and the likes. I wish them a merry Christmas and New Year in advance