AFAS AFFAIRS: Of delayed election, nullified constitution, unconstitutional bye election, un-inaugurated Sports director (Part 1)


Foyin Ejilola, Tijani AbdulKabeer, Olanshile Ogunrinu and Oluwatosin Adeoye

Many have been left wondering why, hitherto, there has been no electoral campaign in the faculty. Equally, there has been the need to understand where the association stands regarding the constitution guiding the the activities of the association – if the new constitution is binding or the old remains the only legal document. This is because in the last Congress held 24 May 2023, the congress ruled that the new constitution is invalid.

The issue that accompanies the elected Sports Director, is another point of concern. The elected sports’ director, Kolawole Akintomiwa, was elected via a bye election conducted by the CPS on 19 April, 2023. However, up till now, the Sports director has not been sworn-in. This means that he is not able to carry out his constitutional duties as an elected Sports’ Director.

Another point of concern in the faculty is the inauguration of the Association of Faculty of Arts Electoral Committee (AFASIEC). 

In the middle of all these is the need to understand the relationship between the Council of Presidents and Secretaries (CPS), Faculty Legislative Council (FLC) and the Executive Council. Are there any signs of unfairness, and powerplay?

This feature story puts into light matters that seemed darkened in the faces of curious AFASites.

AFAS’ Delayed Elections: The End of an Administration and the Beginning of none

Foyin Ejilola

The inauguration of the electoral committee of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students (AFAS) is a crucial part of the planning processes of the general elections that are held in the faculty every academic year. The committee, also known as the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Independent Electoral Committee (AFASIEC) upon their inauguration, is responsible for lifting the ban on political campaigns, screening the aspiring political candidates to ascertain their competence, undertaking other important tasks, and finally, conducting the faculty elections that see aspiring candidates losing or getting elected into executive positions in the faculty. 

The Press Night, organized by the press men, is also an integral part of elections in the Faculty of Arts that can only hold when political candidates have been evaluated by the screening committee-only candidates who meet the required screening percentage are qualified for this stage-which will be set up by the electoral committee. 

Considering the salient tasks required to be performed by the AFAS electoral committee when planning the faculty elections, it is essential that the committee is constituted and its members are inaugurated at the appropriate time to prevent the consequences of a poorly planned election which might be plagued with hiccups and irregularities. This absence of an electoral committee (especially at the tail end of the second semester) clearly signifies one thing-the faculty is not planning for an election. 

The AFAS electoral committee should have been inaugurated by the CPS since the 5th week of the second semester of the 2021/2022 academic session per the provision of the old constitution which was still in use then. However, there is still no clear-cut path through which the aspiring next executive members will follow to succeed their predecessors in their respective offices because there is no headway yet as to when the electoral committee will be constituted and inaugurated so the election processes can begin in earnest.  

Regarding the delay of this constitutional obligation, the CPS and the FLC are the most concerned parties-the former charged with the responsibility before the passing of the new constitution while the power became vested in the latter after the passing. 

The Speaker of the FLC, Hon. Olasoji Akindejoye, admitted to not knowing why the electoral committee was not constituted by the 5th week of the second semester. He explained that the inauguration was delayed initially because the time was clashing with the passing of the reviewed constitution. 

“The moment the CPS was ready to do that (constitute the electoral committee), the reviewed Constitution was about to be passed in less than a week. To avoid issues, the House ruled that the activities be put on hold until we have the new Constitution in place,” he said. 

Temitope Bankole, the Chairman of the CPS, which was tasked with the constitution and inauguration of the electoral committee before the process was halted, attributed the initial delay on the part of CPS to the ‘irregularities in the school calendar’. 

“The delay in the inauguration was primarily attributed to the irregularities in the school calendar. Furthermore, the situation was exacerbated by an official order from the FLC, issued on the eve of the inauguration, which temporarily suspended the proceedings to prioritize the completion of the constitution review process,”  he explained further.

Following the completion of the constitution review process and its consequent passing, the FLC resumed the process of constituting the electoral committee instead of the CPS. This time, the process was delayed by departmental associations who did not respond accordingly to the demand of the House. 

“Immediately we have that in place,” Hon. Akindejoye continued, “the FLC sent letters to the departmental Associations through the Staff Adviser to send representatives for the Electoral Committee for vetting so the inauguration can be done by the Staff Adviser in line with the new Constitution. Unfortunately, about a week after the deadline given, they are yet to forward the names. So, the delay is no longer on our side.”

One of the provisions of the amended constitution as regards election processes was that power to constitute the electoral committee be taken from the CPS. This explains why the FLC took over the responsibility since the new constitution was already in use by the time the process was resumed. 

On the question of why the CPS is no longer constitutionally responsible for this duty, Bankole answers that the FLC would be in the best position to provide answers. 

“To adequately answer the ‘why’ question, it is crucial to embark upon a thorough exploration of the legal underpinnings that lend support to the purported letter regarding the constitution of the electoral committee. By establishing a solid foundation rooted in the understanding of the applicable legal framework, the intricacies surrounding the matter can be navigated and the question would be answered,” he stated. 

Being in the best position, as suggested by the CPS Chairman, to speak on why this constitutional amendment was made, Hon. Akindejoye explained that it was to solve the problem of electoral committee members being vetted by the same people who nominated them, thereby introducing a clear separation of power as the solution.

“The electoral body is an independent body nominated by political officers (Presidents) of respected departmental associations.There is a problem there-political officers nominating members of an electoral committee. The way out was that since the nominated individuals will be vetted before the inauguration, it is not sane that the same people who nominated them should also vet them. Hence, the FLC is now given the power to vet them. After vetting, the list will be sent to the Staff Advisers for the inauguration.”

On the major kickbacks that this has caused, the speaker hinted that the insistence on continuing with the old system might be due to an ulterior motive.

“They are to nominate, they still have the power. If there is no ulterior motive, they should not insist on vetting and inaugurating as they used to after nomination. Separation of power for transparency and equity is all the new constitution carries. They nominate 3 members, the FLC vets and approves one, and the Staff Adviser inaugurates. No individual, body or arm has to take up two of the processes. So, what is their point? Well, change is usually met with mixed reactions which I understand.

On what this development translate to on the future of the association, Hon. Akindejoye declared “that some set of people with motives beyond what is obvious and evident, yes with ulterior motives are set again to endanger the future of the Association.” 

“It has never occurred reasonable to me that a body will nominate members of an independent electoral body, and the same body will vet the members nominated by them, and still inaugurate. If the concept of separation of power for equity and fairness is not understood by this body, they can probably be schooled on its importance and necessity. In fact, the House is watching this body as it is about to position itself and its members on the wrong side of history.”

Since the delay is said to be caused by the departmental presidents who have not responded to the request of the FLC to nominate members of the electoral committee, one would wonder if there are any actions being taken on this. To this, the speaker responded that nothing of sort has happened because that house has more than enough on its desk.

The academic session and consequently, the second semester is gradually nearing its end. This begs the question of when this power tussle between the CPS and FLC will end, if the FLC’s indifference towards the unyielding departmental associations will be maintained, and how the association will move on to the next administration through a free and fair

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