An exclusive interview with the former Speaker of the Faculty of Arts Legislative Council(FLC), Peter Olagunju.

AFAS PRESS: Why did you resign as the speaker of the house?

Peter: I resigned because in a sane democratic term, leadership is not a do or die affair. If you find out that at some point you are unable to lead the people you say you are leading, what is most honourable for you to do is to resign. You asked me a question the other time that I was pointing an accusing finger to a particular arm in the association. Like you know–like every other person knows, the executive disregarded the Constitution and I did not feel comfortable.

Maybe some things just have to be said and not written, which is why I will pardon the press and every other person that have heard the true version of the story and let it go. The truth is if the press and every other person in the association do what they should do appropriately, there won’t be need to misbehave, so to speak– the next thing to do won’t be to copy the staff adviser, copy the sub Dean etc. I am not saying that they should not be involved in what is going on in the association. No, I also recognise their offices. I am only saying that arms in association should be self-govern. It is only when there are issues that they cannot handle like financial misappropriation, that the management can be called upon. In this situation, the FLC validate and check to know who has misappropriated the fund then you can go ahead to inform the management. That is the most reasonable thing to do.

AFAS PRESS: Why didn’t you copy the CPS in your resignation letter?

Peter: Now, this is part I’m going to say that the executive is not more powerful than the CPS or the CPS is more powerful than FLC. But in every sane setting there is an order. It could only be out of my personal decision to copy the executive or the CPS. That is the most reasonable thing to do, since the constitution makes no provision or say anything about me or any other person resigning to copy the executive or CPS. What is most reasonable to do is to write the line and copy these people. I only had the intention to speak to the press, my department press and copy the FLC itself.I am just an individual.

AFAS PRESS: You submitted this letter to the Sub-Dean on the 21st of October, why did you wait until now to send a copy to others?

Peter: If you remember, exams were over already and student had left when I submitted to the sub-dean. I remember that a large number of the student had left. I had the intention of submitting to the FLC, the press and all that. But I knew that it was going to be difficult bringing everybody together during that period, since it was the end of the semester.

AFAS press: Let’s talk about the N25, 000 advance budget. You stated that you had a plan and the house was fully aware of it. Let’s run through that narrative again.

Peter: The N25000 was an advance budget to take care of some things. It is tradition that, if you want to do anything and you did not see any sitting in view, you can request for money and document it appropriately. Let me point out that it is not in the constitution, but it is a tradition of the association. Just like we have other events in the association that are not recognise in the Constitution, but are traditions of the association. Like I raised in the previous executive sitting, where I asked for the reason the association would always consider the Mr and Mrs. fresher. It was argued that it is a tradition. It was taking a lot of money, a lot of thousands. And the amount that would be recovered from the event is not even up to #5000 and so I said why we should be spending hundreds of thousands on the event. Then I got a response from the speaker who said it was a tradition. You can’t say because you are not making money, it is not a money-making venture. We have other traditions in the association and if you speak to the current Speaker, I don’t know if there is a current Speaker, to take you through the documents. You will find countless instances where money has been taken ahead of time, but properly documented.

AFAS PRESS: The problem being discussed here is not the tradition, but the fact that you did not inform the house about the budget. Can we just focus on that?

Peter: Good, I will tell you now, when I instructed the clerk to take the money, I told her to take the money because I didn’t see any sitting in sight. I have seen something about the president taking orders from above, I chuckled and was wondering what the notion was about. If the executive are unlearned because they do not know how to run the association, that’s different thing. It they don’t know the practices, that is also a different thing and I don’t know who will teach them. But you see, if you are unsure about something, why don’t you ask me. The #25000 taken by the clerk, I instructed them myself to properly document the money because I don’t want issues after. On that document the clerk signed, the deputy clerk signed, the General Secretary signed for clarity sake. After that I told them to submit a copy of the document to the executive. She did, so they have a copy. She also entered the money into the ledger book of the fin.sec. The house had a program and there was no sitting in sight. Now, it was after all that time that these events that happened in first semester happened the impeachment, the back and forth, the intervention of the Dean and all that. And honestly, one thing I owned up to was that I allowed the turnout of the event to cloud me so much that I never remembered to inform the house about the money which I take responsibility for . However, I have a reason an excuse. The excuse, in all sincerity I forgot about the money because it was with the clerk. I never remembered but I must however be sincere to say that the clerk of the house reminded me about the money and I will say oh, don’t worry, remind me to tell the honourables when we have another sitting and I will present the document to them but I forgot. Which I owe up to like any responsible leader will do.

Much afterwards, when letters had to be made, the clerk told me that they were making those letters and doing all what they had to do with their own money and I said they could not run the association with their own money. She therefore asked me where we were going to get the money from, it then drawn on her that we had the N25,000 that we collected and I said in that case why doesn’t she take from it but then again I told her to properly document everything she spends the money on and she said ok. And I remembered vividly that a sum of N15, 220 was refunded back into the associations account by the deputy clerk. How then it became a case that Peter took the money and then there were narratives from nasty corners from outsiders who are interested in tarnishing my reputation. They went on saying that what if he was the one that took the money and he did not want to sign and now made the Deputy clerk and the clerk to say, I mean that was rubbish. You mean if I want to steal money, you will find four signatures from different people in the association on it? The people who steal money and mess up money in this association, who have not been known yet, nobody is talking about them and then it suddenly became about me it was Peter who took the money and no one wanted to know if it was the house money or the fact that Peter never touched the money. It was just Peter, well maybe because I was the Speaker. I wasn’t moved because first, I never saw the money and it wasn’t even with me. I was not around to append my signature also.

That event we were planning on the other hand was already in top gear. I had gone out of school to discuss with the facilitators. We were trying to reach some conclusions. Part of the resolution was that AFASITES were to pay a sum of N500 to attend the event. I dont want to get my hands involved in a programme AFASITES will have to pay for. So I went for some sort of further negotiation on that and I was able to achieve the feat of making AFASITES come to the event for free except non-afasites. That was my primary goal for the N25,000.

AFAS PRESS: What event are we talking about?

PETER: I will send it later to you; I want to capture it as it is.

AFAS PRESS: Why didn’t you just leave it for the executives to carry out an event for the association?

PETER: No, it was an event of the house

AFAS PRESS: Your relationship with Olumide, has it gone sour?

PETER: The association is not a personal business so I do not have any problem with Olumide.

AFAS PRESS: Do you regret your resignation decision?

PETER: No, I am super excited—elated to have resigned. It was the bravest decision I have made this year to pull out from an environment that constrained me from doing what was right. I will never soil my hands. Some people who I will not mention their names told me that individuals from different arm of the association met up in one room in the university and this is what they said:

‘Olórí burúkú lọmọ Peter yẹn, kò ní jẹ́ ká jí owó yẹn. Òhun nìkan ló wà láàárín ǹǹkan ta fẹ́ ṣe’

Well, you know it is politics and I had my inside sources among them. What made me shiver was that young people would gather to discuss how they can steal the association’s money. For God sake, how much is AFAS money that you want to steal? what is it going to do to you? It is never going to change anything. It was even their roommate that told me. I hope when they read this they will know that their roommates had betrayed them. Their roommates actually told me that some set of people were planning to impeach me. They were going to present another budget of ID card they don’t need and are going to force me to approve it. Quite sad. Unfortunately, we don’t have fathers to look up to.


Interview Credit: Afolasade Ola

Transcription Credit:Foyin Ejilola and Dami Azeez

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