The Preacher Man

Since the announcement of UI Students Union election result that saw Olofinlade Ebenezer p.k.a Hessy lose the presidential election to Olusegun Akeju, different reactions have trailed the results. Many things have been said and are being said from different places, by different people and across different platforms. For some, the 615 difference between their votes was too much in a keenly contested election such as that. For others, the Management has a soft for Akeju, thereby favouring him above Hessy as in the way God preferred Jacob to Esau.
Whichever way we see it, we should learn how to live with defeat. That’s one thing many of Hessy’s supporters within and outside Independence Hall are yet to live with. Most of them did not believe Hessy could lose for reasons besides the supposed Management interference with the election results. Even though I have some reservations about the e-voting process, here are five reasons I believe made Hessy lost the election, all of which are far from his comrades-in-arms claim of manipulation.
One, whilst he was busy campaigning and doing little to convince people, Akeju was campaigning and at the same time convincing people about his Integration Agenda. Akeju from what I observed, always take his time to explain his plans to people without telling them that he has a unique name or that he knows people in high places. Of course, convincing people about the feasibility of your plans goes a long way in winning them over than merely asking for people’s votes without giving them an action plan. While Hessy could be said to rely on his popularity among the ladies of Obafemi Awolowo, Queen Idia and Queen Elizabeth II Halls of Residence, Akeju was working tirelessly to make them believe in him. Whereas Akeju refused to wash plate for any lady as available pre-election reports showed, that could not be said of Hessy as he reportedly washed plates for some ladies. And where Akeju said he would constitute a team that would see to washing of water tanks in every female hall, there was nothing like that in Hessy’s plan. It is easy to go for someone who identifies with water issues in those halls and proffers solutions to them.

Hessy lacked the capacity to convince the audience with his goals both at the Press Night and the Manifesto Night. This led to decimation of his fan base in the days leading to the election. When the Press Night result was released on Friday (less than twenty hours before the election), it coincided with the Manifesto Night where he was outperformed by his opponent. With the Press Night results at hand, where he fell behind Akeju with ten points, he performed not so well at the manifesto night which had in attendance a great deal of would-be-voters. He lost a good number of votes that day especially as some Uites confused the Press Night results with the Manifesto Night results. Inasmuch as one could say Akeju’s history in public speaking aided his victory on both occasions, Hessy dealt himself a heavy blow below the belt by not performing up to expectations of some of his supporters.

Hessy’s team, from the standpoint of someone who has witnessed two Students Union elections in the university, was largely inexperienced. Many of them have never witnessed any Students Union election before and always goofed when they were asked salient questions about Hessy and his plans. For example, one of his supporters once told someone in Independence Hall quadrangle when he was asked about Hessy and his plans and he said: “Kenny is a five-letter word and Hessy is also a five-letter word. But Hessy is a more unique name because it’s not a popular one”. Another one also said, much to the chagrin of everyone present, that Hessy knew some University Management staffs and could easily form a bond with them on behalf of the students. Anyone with experience in Management-Student relationship would know that any student leader that is close to the top hierarchy of the University would most likely turn to a puppet in the hand of the latter.

Some student leaders in Hessy’s hall of residence were busy spreading propaganda instead of promoting the good image of their candidate. At different times, they called out Akeju for being rude to Nnamdi Azikiwe’s stakeholders because he was not endorsed at first. They also called Akeju second class because he was only endorsed after Kenny had been forced to step down from the presidential race because of the new CGPA requirement for election into all Student Union executive positions. For many who see this as childish, Akeju was being made popular for the more they call him names, the more some UItes wanted to confirm the real situation of things, thereby giving him sympathy and unsolicited popularity. Unfortunately for some student leaders in Independence hall, their unruly behaviour at the Press Night cast them and their candidates in a bad light. Many who believed Zikites to be at the heart of every trouble in UI realised they were wrong as they maintain their peace throughout the evening whereas Independence Hall Legislative Speaker, Hassan Popoola, was walked out of the hall and the Administrator General was caught in a fight with a member of the press. Many who were undecided before the Press Night jumped the fence of uncertainty and pitch their tents with Akeju. Some of the stakeholders were also reported to attack some members of Akeju’s Integration Team in Independence Hall. Who would want to associate with them that are unruly?

Hessy’s campaign focused more on Independence Hall than other halls. Oftentimes, his name was forced into the ears of residents, many of whom will readily vote for him because he is a Katangite and does not need a high degree of conviction before voting for one of their own. Whilst Hessy’s name was shouted every night, Akeju and his Integration Team were going about on foot, winning people to their side by stating his clearly defined agenda and defending its feasibility. Except in rare cases, each hall always support their own in the Students Union election. Victory is often dependent on the number of alliance each hall could secure on behalf of their candidate and how trustworthy those alliances are.
As it is now, Zik Hall and its residents have confirmed again that they are the best hall in the whole of the university. The plan of Independence Hall to nurse their old wounds of always losing to Zik Hall in any election that involves candidates from the two halls failed as they made the 7th December election an Indy vs Zik thing. The desperation to prove to their neighbours that they could defeat them and show UItes that Independence Hall doesn’t live under the shadows of Zik Hall has failed them again. Nnamdi Azikiwe would continue to exhibit tact political strategy which other halls are enjoined to learn. And for those within the walls of Great Independence Halls that have failed to come to terms with their candidate’s loss in the election, they should swallow their pride and accept that election results don’t always go as predicted. The cry about manipulation of the election results is unsubstantiated and remains a rumour until they can provide proofs to back up their claims. For now, the prayer of one of them that “everybody involved in this…May God remove their names from the book of life in heaven,” is one that does not carry any weight because there is no evidence of manipulation.
I could only wish the newly elected members of the Students Union Executive Council a good stay in office and a distraction-free tenure.


  1. This is quite one-sided and too selective to be put on a press notice. The writer seems to lack experience as per press ethics. Zik hall, Indy hall…………… This is the students’ union election we’re talking about here.

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