For a long time, AFAS Press has been conceived by many within and outside the association as an antagonist arm of the association. Many have called to question the integrity of the press holding claims to a solely negative report of situations or happenings. More to the perceptions is the belief that the message of AFAS Press is often laced with prejudice and mischief and does not stand to benefit the association in anyway. If some powers that be within the association have their way, they could have proscribed this journalistic arm of the association. At many times in the past, the message of the press was misunderstood and misconstrued. Unfortunately, the same trend of misunderstanding has begun again especially with some recent actions of the Faculty Legislative Council (FLC) about what the press stands for and represents.

Since this session began, issues surrounding the annual association dues have been in the front burner. Different interpretations have been accrued to compulsory payments such as the association’s ID card and Dinner dues. While it is true that the administration needs money to function effectively, it is not good that any payment be made compulsory asides the annual basic dues of the association which the constitution says is the main source of revenue for the day-to- day running of the association. On issues bordering on these dues, (whether they are made optional or mandatory) AFAS PRESS has taken a definite stance. The stance is that no other payment should be made compulsory asides the annual basic dues. It is the basic due that shows that one is a financial member of the association and indeed committed to same.

First, it is a known fact that the economic harshness in the country is felt across all sections. Students have paid so much in school fees and others already. Asking them to pay for something less important and social should not be forced on them. Besides, the number of years one has spent in the university should not mean some dues should be made compulsory for him or her why it is optional for some others—one is a finalist and the other is a fresh student does not necessitate that they have to compulsorily pay for dinner. Payment for things such as association dinner should be subjected to individual decision. It should not be forced on anyone within the association. The executive council could persuade people to pay but not force it on them. Since we have an amount of control over the association because it is run by fellow student whom we gave power to, we should be able to say what should be made compulsory for us in payment and what should not. People should not be pushed to the point where they would have to question their “freedom of expression” as a member of the association. By that time, it wouldn’t augur well for any of us. Instead of making some payments compulsory either for all or some sections of the members, good reasons should be provided asides the argument that the association needs money or because one is a new member of the association or an outgoing one.

Afasites should know that at no certain point did AFAS Press dissuade anyone from paying for the association’s dinner and the ID card if it is out of volition. Rather, the executive council has the potential to make people subscribe to the payment and states why its success is good for the association. In time past, controversies did not arise from payment of any kind because nothing asides the basic dues was made compulsory yet students did pay for things such as the association’s ID card and events such as the annual dinner of the association. It was because people were duly persuaded and were not forced to pay for them. Dialogue is more effective than the use of force. That is what we should embrace for a smooth sailing of the association.

On the other hand, any anti-compulsion of payment stance should not be considered as an antagonistic shot from any quarter. Our minds have been trained to question things as students of this great citadel of learning. Gone are the days when we watch things we could control work against us because we were afraid to ask questions. Now that questions are being asked, it is a good step to progression.

Members of AFAS Press are committed to see the association function optimally and not chose to be at war with another vital organ of the faculty— The Faculty Legislative Council. Unlike what Rt. Honourable Peter Olagunju, the FLC speaker, had said, AFAS Press is not a cog in the wheel of the association’s progress. The fact that we ask questions or seek clarification on grey areas on some issues within the association does not mean we are working against the association. It is therefore too early for either party to be locking heads in situations that warrant reasoning—an ideal leader should not portray autocratic tendencies and pitching his tent against members of the organs within the association. Graciously, in the association, no student is above another and any representation whatsoever is subjected to the people that are being represented. We are students first before being members of any organ whether it is the executive, the FLC, the Press, Council of Presidents and Secretaries (CPS) and the Literary and Debating Society and the ‘I will never join anything’ gang.

Just as the president said during an interview with Afas Press, Afasites are enjoined to pay for any due they can afford asides the annual basic due. Though it would be wrong for the executive council to make dinner and ID card compulsory, it doesn’t mean one should not pay for it if one has the financial strength. Events such as dinner could only be successful when Afasites attend in their numbers. The dinner would not be worth organising if only a hundred out of over a thousand Afasites paid for it. The dinner is an historic event within the association and its failure is our failure as a whole. As many that can afford to pay for it, should do so. They should be reminded that it is not compulsory as the school rules governing the students’ association only recognises the basic due which should not be more than N2, 500 at any given time. As for the association ID card, it could replace the school ID card in and around the faculty when one is not in position of the latter. It is not a total waste of time if one chooses to pay for it because he wants to.

Lastly, it is too early for various organs of the association to be working in disunity. The session is still far from ending. A bad start to it wouldn’t ensure a smooth running of the association. No organ is more important than the others. We are all partners in progress. We should strive to maintain that in words and in deeds. Afas Press is not against any organ in the association and members of the press organisation should not be perceived as such. Posterity would judge us all if we keep mute like a sheep that is being led to the slaughter house when we have the power to speak. AFAS will not soar high if some actions are not called to question. The earlier we all start to get the message that AFAS Press is not an antagonist organ, the better for us all.


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