Warring Student Leaders: The Press Still Remains a Beacon of Genuine Information


A rationale is only rational when there is a careful thought process put into it. It is indeed correct to categorically state that not all rationales are rationale. Similarly, in the Faculty of Arts, as the thinkers we are expected to be – since this is the faculty of letters – one would expect all rationales to be rationale. When rationales are then not rational, it becomes disappointing.

The Yoruba people aptly say that where we expect profound wisdom but meet otherwise, it is extremely painful. However, the press, as the fourth estate of the realm, would not stand by and watch the faculty waltz astray. We then take it up to point out errors or things that can be adjusted for the awareness of the appropriate quarters and they can duly correct them. But, this seems to not settle nicely with student leaders who, because of reasons best known to them alone (as it is mentally daunting to believe anyone can even conceive why), believe that the press is personally attacking their persons or for some other reasons, the press has a beef with them. This is obviously not the case.

On the FLC call out

There can only be two problems here. Either AFAS’ dearest honorables just refuse to read, or they simply refuse to undergo the thought process that makes rationales rational. While one of the functions of the press is to educate Afasites, it wil be a stretch to call all honorables one after the other to educate them. But let us do a bit of recollection and find rationales.

The house referred to an opinion article published by the press as regards the press questioning the essence of the call off party in a session blighted by the ASUU strike, and students trying to call back the studentship in them. To not quote from the press publication but from the house’s release itself, it reads: “…it stated that the executives would be throwing a party in the name of the association from money from a sponsor.”

We would not even attempt to address the troubling heart of the spokesperson since he can look after that himself, but the release further contained that “…I was made aware that the party was not for the association, only that it happened in the association.” Then to further mend the troubles of the heart, the words of Hon. Lawal Daniel, the co-opted member of the house reads, as stated in the release, “Call off party in the University of Ibadan, only that the logo of the association was put on it. It never explicitly stated that it was AFAS party”.

Reading the above statement, one can see how justified the press was in her writings. The synonymity is clear for even a primary school pupil. The Press wrote that the event was held in the name of the association, and the spokesperson was made aware that the event only happened in the association, and the association’s logo was put on it.

One must question what hosting an event in the name of the association means? In some of the graphics used for the broadcast, AFAS was clearly stated as the host of the event, while the person of Akinyoola Emmanuel, the President of the faculty was stated as Principal host. It is also curious to ask our dearest honorable what they think the logo of the association represents, if not the association? Also, the letter of request for the usage of the Faculty Large Lecture Theater submitted to the Sub Dean was written and submitted with the letter head of the association. The beginning of the letter reads “the above named association writes to you…”

Do we really, at this point, have to break it down for our honorables to understand that 2+2 will always equal 4 no matter how they twist it? But just as has been aforementioned, either our honorables refused to read and understand, or they simply refuse to go through the thought process that makes rationales rational. It seems like the problem the house has with the article is that it called the house out for not properly doing her job. But with the release, one can certainly understand why since the house thinks that using the association’s logo and the association’s name as host of the event and submitting a letter on the association’s letterhead do not equate using the association’s name. So, are we really surprised?

Victimized spokesperson

The Press really becomes curious how the spokesperson of the faculty, Hon. Janet Maziem believes that via the press’ publications in the past, he was a victim of ‘misinformation’ from the press. Perhaps there was an error when that was typed. But hitherto, the honourable has not appeared in any of the press’ publications as a main character. Perhaps he had moved a motion and the press had reported that and he confuses that with being a victim of misinformation. It becomes pertinent to ask how someone who had only been mentioned in passing in press publications in the past be a victim of ‘misinformation’.

Unsafe honourables

In the last plenary session which was held at Room 32, Faculty of Arts, Honourable Aanuoluwapo from Religious studies constituency decided that he and his constituency members are not safe because a press person was recording the sitting. He, being an obvious elder in the field of journalism, equally questioned the journalism of the press and bemoaned the sort of journalism the press carries out. To him, if the press person who was recording the plenary was not walked out, he and his constituency Honourables are not safe. But are we really surprised? No, we are only pained.

First, we must ask the dear honorable, if there are skeletons in his cupboard which he does not wish to be exposed to the general public via the recording. Or is there something somewhere making him come upon the realization that someone would listen back to all that had been said in the plenary and might question of the rationality of his rationale? Recording the plenary ensures for quality reportage of what is said in the sitting such that no information will be mixed and words can be quoted verbatim. That is why one can see mainstream media houses go to the house with recording devices. Thankfully, Hon. Obameso from Philosophy was able to quickly respond that there was nothing wrong with recording the sitting, with which the speaker agreed.

Did the Speaker say or did he not?

Members of the press, when they attend the FLC sitting, usually go with their pen and books or with their phones fully charged. This is so that we can pick out what is said and duly write them. It is possible that there be a mishearing and the correspondent pens down what they had thought they had heard. However, the press will never publish what was not heard nor attempt to misguide Afasites. The FLC called the press out for writing in one of her published news reports that the speaker said, “the President wrote to the house that the executive council is not prepared to present the executive budget”. However, the house claims that the speaker never said so since no letter was written. Although the point is that the executive council is not ready to present the budget, the press would not contest what was said and not said, but would simply admit its errors in publishing the ‘misheard’ verb. However, this calls for the need for the press to come along with recording devices at sittings, in order to be sure of what exactly was said and not said. It is important for unsafe Honourables to note this.

A Prime who refused to read and understand

Following the publication of the press regarding the “(un)suspension of the Sports director”, Alawiye Israel, for reasons best known to him and God (since God knows it all), decided to live with the assumption that the press is trying to bring him down. To him, the publication was to defame him.

Consequently, he announced on his WhatsApp status that he would not be granting any interview to any member of the press thenceforth. Perhaps our student leaders forget that just like every other student in the university, the primary purpose of members of the press in the university is to complete their degree. Thus, no one has the time to regard them so relevantly that they place them on such pedestals as one that must be brought down.

Perhaps Mr. Israel doesn’t know that not speaking with the press on issues that affect AfASites as regards his office is shying away from transparency and accountability. But that is not even what we seek to address. The said publication clearly stated that Prime’s apparent suspension, which has now been made official, was the words of the President of the association. He seems to be oblivious of the fact that the report had words of the clerk, speaker, deputy speaker and the President of the association concerning the whole issue but goes ahead to pick out the press, who simply was doing her core duty of informing Afasites.

We must thus ask: did Prime genuinely read the said publication and understand it? Or did he just conclude that since it is AFAS Press, we must be trying to bring him down? Seeing that the members of the press are so jobless that that is what we dedicate our lives to do. Now that a letter of his suspension has been sent to the FLC and he has been asked to vacate his office pending investigation, we must ask our dear Sports Director if he still thinks the press is trying to defame him? Or perhaps now, it is the executive council or the FLC. As the Yoruba people would say, “The laws that are binding on masquerades must equally be binding on Hijabis”.

Backyard journalism and AFAS Press

Our student leaders seemed to be so versed in what journalism is all about that it becomes a case of wonder why they did not become members of the press to help the Press toe the right path. That would be better than calling the most decorated faculty press on campus ‘backyard journalism’ or a well published student journalist ‘a self-acclaimed journalist’. Also, a day or two lectures on the practice of journalism would be very much appreciated.

However, if a faculty press that has won the best faculty press in the university five consecutive times, that has had past members of the organisation flourish in mainstream journalism, that has some well published journalists as current members, and has had her members trained by world class journalists in the country practice backyard journalism, then long may it last. Going to the front yard would be redundant.

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