POLITICAL PROFILE: Interview with AFAS FLC Speaker


In this political profile interview, AFAS Press Correspondent, Aduwo Ayodele sits with the Speaker, Association of Faculty of Art Students, University of Ibadan, Olasoji Akindejoye to introspect into his personal views.

To start with, tell us about yourself.

I am Rt. Honourable Olasoji Akindejoye. Currently a 400L student of the Department of Linguistics and African languages, and the Speaker of the Association of Faculty of Art Students Legislative Council.

In what capacities have you served?

During the 2018/2019 session, I was the Deputy Clerk of the AFAS Legislative Council. That same session, I was the spokesperson of the House. Then, I also served in the same session as a member of the Investigative Committee of the House. Then the following session, I was appointed the spokesperson of the House for the second time. Currently, I’m the Speaker of the House.

How did your journey as a student politician begin?

It all started during my childhood days. I had much interest in politics. When I mentioned to people or state categorically, events that happened in the House of Representatives when Rt. Hon Dimeji Bankole was the Speaker of the House, people exclaim and say that was way too far.

It has been a long time since I have had an interest in politics. I have never seen myself in the future working in an office maybe as a civil servant, but in the public domain as a politician. Since then, I have been training myself. I have kept eye on many political activities in the country and in the diaspora and how we have periodic changes in Government.
Even before I came to UI, I belonged to some students’ union bodies at home. You know communities, towns, and local governments have their students’ union bodies. I served as President of a Students’ Union body then. Then, a Clerk to a Local Government Students’ Union body. So, the Association of Faculty of Arts Students body has only given me another opportunity to practice what I have been learning.

Tell us about these other Associations you mentioned earlier, in what other ways did you serve?

I am currently the President of the FIJU Students’ Union. Then the Clerk to the Representative Council of the National Association of Akure North Students. Then, a two-term serving Senator of the National Association of Ondo State Students.

Politicians have political ideologies. What is yours about?

When I discuss politics, I discuss it in context. I have always believed in justice, even as a student politician on campus.

In your journey thus far, what are the challenges?

This has affected my normal day-to-day activities. Many times, when I come around the Faculty, I would not know I have a class. But my colleagues would say ‘oh you are coming from that class not knowing that I was coming from and heading to a meeting.
When I was the Spokesperson of the House, AFASites would want to get every piece of information from me, and as you know as a student politician, you cannot say everything. But they would want to know. So many times, the times I belong to would want to lay low on many issues, but the house has always been a misunderstood arm of the Association by AFASites over time. They throw abusive words just to mention that and so may challenge why this was done. But I understand and I have prepared for all of these.

Positively, how has the journey been?

Amidst challenges, one would always enjoy what he loves to do always. Right from the very first day, I could remember when honourables were making contributions and I raised my hand. Then with the way I addressed the issue I raised, about two or three Honorable members had to meet with me after that to commend me.
I have always been enjoying my stay in the House as a lawmaker and trying every possible means to bring innovations to the House. At a particular point in time, I sponsored a bill. Everything about me is just to bring innovation to the business of the House and I have always engaged in doing that, being part of decision making, representing my people.

Why did you choose to be the Speaker of the FLC?

I had that ambition to be the Speaker of the House, to add some touches of professionalism to the AFAS Legislative Council.
As a deputy Speaker of the house, there is an extent to which I can influence or bring in innovations. For example, when I was the Spokesperson of the House, the first of its kind, I wrote a letter to the house for approval of the House for a special assistant in Photography to the office of the Spokesperson. The House approved it, I brought in a professional photographer for the House, which we have been using since then. Till now, the Association has not paid him a dime but knows and understands that that is part of what we should do.

What are your current plans as the Speaker of the House?

When I was presenting my manifesto to the House, I told them that if elected as the Speaker, it is the right of every honorable member to be on a committee. It is not a privilege. The only thing is you cannot chair two committees. So, there had been many members of the House who were not on any Committee. In the last session when I was also the spokesperson, there were members of the House, including myself who were not a member of any Committee. That was part of what I planned to change. At this moment, every honorable member of the House is on a committee.
Then, I promised to introduce other committees, for instance, we used to have an audit and finance committee, an investigative committee, ethics, and privileges, and there is a welfare committee.

I planned and introduce the house committee on welfare services, it is a house committee on all services that have to do with the house. The house committee on Legislative matters. Since my stay on this faculty and being a member of AFAS, the Legislative Council has never held a Legislative summit. We never made plans not to visit the State’s House of Assembly. These are the duties of the House Committee on Legislative matters, we dedicated that to them. They don’t have to get into other committees. They should go and work on external events that can assist members of the House who are potential politicians who can say by tomorrow that they have learned. It would not be fair for a member of the house to spend three good sessions in the House without attending a Legislative summit and even going to a State House of Assembly. So, I introduced that and many other committees.

An average AFASites does not know that there is a Legislative Council. What ideas are in place to make students familiar with the FLC?

I’m glad we introduced the House Committee on Legislative matters, the committee informed me recently, unofficially though, that the house would be holding a 60 minutes interactive session like a town hall meeting with all AFASites where they can know what the FLC stands for, where questions bothering their minds would be answered. We want to tell them we are representing you; we are representing the best interest of all AFASites. In fact, I changed the mode of agenda of the FLC sitting to that of the National Assembly to accommodate petitions. AFASites can send petitions to the House, and they can come to the House themselves, after they have submitted their petition before the sitting.

Then there is another plan that should have been done, but I want to get my facts right; “The Council of AFAS Speakers” – when a Speaker from Linguistics, Theatre Art, and CLA come together, it would not only make the business of FLC known to all AFASites, it will also encourage students’ associations without Legislative arm to call for and inaugurate one, and start the normal democratic system.

Would you say the crop of student leaders at the University of Ibadan is doing well, or have become puppets, who cannot represent students well?

To University of Ibadan politicians, I can say anywhere and anytime that they are representing students, and are not caged by any external factor or person. They are representing the interest of students. You see, many times, student leaders are the only ones that know what they are going through. Students expect everything from student politicians, the same way the country expects everything from our political leaders today, which is impossible. You know when people say Senators are doing nothing, that they just go there and sleep, so they get money for doing nothing. Will they invite anyone to their committee meetings? So how would one say they collect money for sleeping?
Students’ politicians know what they are facing but students expect everything, which can only be done in stages. It is only a few understand the process. In a town or city where there are laws, then we follow the rules or laws, and there are protocols. It is for our own training and we are representing students and not caged.

Has the Student’ Union leadership fared? Well or not?

Yes, if I do not know, I would not say. I’m very close with the system there and with some officers of the students’ union, and I can attest to one or two things that they have been doing. It is not until they start giving money that we can say that they are doing well. Day and night, they are doing their best. You cannot do more than your ability, but you can only do more than your predecessors. You can only try every means to do something better, but you cannot do everything. They are really doing well.

What do you think about Nigeria’s mainstream politics?

For Nigerian politicians and mainstream politics, I can tell you categorically who would win the 2023 election, but that is not the issue. The issue is not who will win or who will not win. The issue is that the beautiful ones are not yet born, but will they be born anytime soon? Mainstream politics is like a gene in every politician. Even if an anointed person or a religious person gets into mainstream politics today, the person will not see what we see as corruption anymore. We see corruption from our perspective, but they will see it as a feature of the game. I will not say Nigerian politicians are bad or good, I will not say that, but I know that we cannot but have bad eggs among them. And I would not talk if they’re a majority or minority. But for our politicians in mainstream politics, we are not getting there anytime soon. People will continue to win an election, do whatever they want to do, and get away with it.

What advice would you give aspiring Student politicians?

First, students who would like to join politics on campus, are always welcome. It is very interesting and they would learn a whole lot of things. But they need to come with humility. At the same time, they have to be smart, they need to be prepared for the challenges. They have to be smart in the sense that people or your supporters would want to push you to the wrong path, but then if you probably fall, they all would find their way. So, you have to be very humble in dealing with the management and students’ issues. Because you would be in the middle.

There was a time the FLC impeached the President of the Association, there was a riot and a whole lot of problems there. It was the Dean that came in the evening to settle it. Then we were called for a meeting the following week. We were in the middle, but then how do we address this? People like that should take away fear. They should not go into the game with fear. SDC should not be a threat if you are humble and smart and if you’re playing the game according to the protocols of the University.
Thank you.

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