NUESA PRESS: Can we have an insight into who you are?
NUESA PRESIDENT: My name is Olusesi Aliu Olasunkanmi, a student in the Faculty of Education, the president of NUESA, UI. I’m a 400 level student of the department of Adult Education.
NUESA PRESS: At the 2019 edition of JCI recognition award which is known as FOPA, you received an award for being the most outstanding in faculty management. What an impressive achievement! What got you interested in campus politics, and what has made you reach the level you are today?
NUESA PRESIDENT: I normally tell people that I don’t like to be referred to as a politician, but as a student leader and an administrator. Looking at the mindset of most Nigerians, they believe politicians are sets of people who deceive. On the other hand, as administrators, we see it as our responsibility to make sure that the resources available are maximized.
I got interested in campus politics because I have the passion of serving people at any level, either as an executive or legislative member and I don’t believe that it’s only when I become the president that I can serve the faculty.
NUESA PRESS: Could you tell us how you felt when you received the award?
NUESA PRESIDENT: I was excited, although I was nominated alongside people who are also doing fine in their faculties. They are my colleagues and we are all members at the Council of Faculty Presidents, University of Ibadan. They also deserve to win the award but only one person must win.
Considering the criteria laid down by FOPA, they decided to give me the award. With the conscious effort of my faculty members (the NUESA FLC, the NUESA Press Organization, the NUESA L&D Society, the generality of students) and the H. O. P. E Team, I was able to win it because I cannot do anything if not for their cooperation.
NUESA PRESS: What major challenge were you setting out to address when you started as the President of NUESA UI?
NUESA PRESIDENT: When I was contesting, I presented my manifesto and I highlighted some things I intended to do. I did not promise heaven and earth. Many of the things I decided to tackle were depending on the felt needs of the students as at that particular time because problem varies according to time or season, what is considered a problem last year may not be so this year.
To address problems and by the grace of God, we have been attending to many problems and we have been solving them. Examples are; toilet issues, sanitation of the faculty, dissemination of information, good interpersonal relationship with the management and provision of things that can aid teaching and learning processes etc. Those things I planned to do are not much but germane and we thank God that we have been able to do them.
NUESA PRESS: Could you share a defining moment in your experience as a student leader?
NUESA PRESIDENT: Gaining admission to UI, it was the help of God. Being at the Faculty of Education, it was also through the help of God.
When I was in 100 and 200 level, if I tell people that I would be vying for the post of a President, they would not believe because they saw me as someone who does not have plan, and according to our slogan; making an absolute difference, we have set a standard for those that will be coming after us.
Our plan is to take NUESA, 10 years ahead and the fact is that what we promised educators, we have been able to achieve many goals for them. At times, I go through my manifesto and I have done like 89% of the manifesto, I still have like 2 months to go and I think by that time, I would have reached 98%, if not 100%.
NUESA PRESS: What do you think are the key factors affecting student leaders in recent time, and how can they be addressed?
NUESA PRESIDENT: Many things affect student leadership a lot. One of it is charisma, set of executives, management. A leader should be a fast thinker, as a leader, you should be able to think ahead of your followers, although they will also have their opinions but you should have a foresight.
The problem facing many of our leaders is that they don’t have charisma, the foresight is not there, no international relationship with loco parentis. Sometimes, we go formally to the management and other times, we go informally. Take for instance, I was representing the students at the SRC and they said students should not come to the examination hall with wristwatch due to the fact that it aids malpractice. When I heard that, I shared the information with many student leaders and we decided to make provision for wall clock in each examination hall and one is also placed at the faculty quadrangle.
NUESA PRESS: What advice do you have for young and aspiring student leaders?
NUESA PRESIDENT: My advice is that young and aspiring leaders should be sincere with themselves. You know yourself more than anyone else, if you are not capable, it’s better you stay off it. The second advice is that they should be transparent in their dealings and accountability is also important while the last one is humility. If you look at our team’s title H. O. P. E, it stands for Humility, Optimism, Patriotism and Efficiency. Represent the image of the faculty well, anywhere you find yourself.
NUESA PRESS: What gives you the biggest sense of accomplishment?
NUESA PRESIDENT: My biggest sense of accomplishment is not now until when I finish my education. We have the manifest function and latent function and my manifest function on this campus is academics and I pray that I finish with my set, with a good grade. And I have impacted in many by working as a student leader so, I didn’t just come and go.