AFAS New Constitution and its Endless Controversies


Lawal Maruf

In an ideal society, where the principles of democracy holds sway in  governing the activities of the ruler and the ruled, constitution as a legal document stands as a defensive mechanism whenever the need arises. By this, the constitution must be clear, concise, and concrete, stipulating the functions of the various organs of government, highlighting the rights and duties of the citizens without any form of discrepancies and irregularities. But in AFAS case, the gloomy atmosphere shroud the certainty of the constitution that is regulating the affairs of AFASites. Up till this moment, it is not clear whether we should adhere to the new constitution or hold on to the old constitution.

Since its amendment and final adoption of the  new AFAS constitution, several  controversies have trailed its adoption, which put a question mark on the logicality of the review of the old constitution. Not only that, the constitution lack the ‘legitimacy’ from the faculty management and the school authority as a whole. It is believed that the new AFAS constitution is still lying helplessly at the Legal Unit of the University, waiting for the school’s approval.

On the day of the swearing-in for the newly elected executive members under the leadership of Adeniyi Olamilekan, all but the Director of Welfare Services were sworn in by the staff adviser. According to the staff adviser, there is no provision for the position of the director of welfare services in the Old AFAS Constitution. However, the electoral committee had followed the new constitution to conduct the election.

Constitution review : The need to meet with the current realities

The need to align with the realities of the  situations of the country necessitated the constitution review.  In a bid to tailor AFAS constitution with the ever evolving realities of the country during the tenure of Rt Hon Olumide Osinuga as the FLC speaker in 2018/2019 session, former FLC speaker, Rt Hon Olasoji Akindejoye raised the motion for the review of the constitution. Coincidentally, when he eventually emerged as the FLC speaker, he chaired the constitution review committee.

To achieve this, a committee was constituted consisting the FlC speaker and his deputy, AFAS President and Vice President, representatives from each level and a press member.

Arguments on the validity of the reviewed constitution

In a twist turn of events, on the 4th of May, 2023, a congress was called where some congressmen cited flaws of the reviewed constitution on the floor of the congress and declared it invalid. Amongst the flaws cited were restriction of the positions of the treasurer, financial secretary, and social director to only 200level and scrapping of Council of Presidents and Secretaries. The latter was said to be a strategic action towards preventing the nomination and screening of electoral committee by the same body-CPS. 

Also, a member of the constitution review committee was said to have publicly denounced his membership on the ground that the process of the amendment was unconstitutional.

To add more layers to the fabric of the controversies that accompanied the reviewed constitution, the then AFAS president, Akinyoola Emmanuel (AKOEM) did not give assent to the bill of amendment when it was forwarded to him for approval. A glaring display that he was not satisfied with the outcome of the constitution review. However, after the FLC waited for five working days without an assent from the president, the house passed it into law, which was in line with Article 24 (A) (vii) (viii) of the AFAS constitution.

Amid the wisp of the controversies that cloud the reviewed constitution was that, it was a subject of power tussle between the  former president, Akoem and the former FLC speaker, Rt Hon Olasoji Akindejoye. It was alleged that Rt Hon Akindejoye intentionally called for the constitution review to deflect the untamed power of the executive council. 

However, it is crucial to find a common ground and adopt a clear and concise constitution. As failure to do so would deepen the disengagement of AFASites from participating in the political process of the faculty. If there is no consensus on a particular legal document guiding the affairs of the association, it may get to a level where anything goes unchallenged.

Also, the position of the director of the welfare services would leave a yawning gap as regards the essential function the office stand to benefit AFASites. It will also make it difficult in making decisions and implementation of policies, thereby causing impediment to the progress of the faculty. This is because, any action taken by the student leaders might be declared unconstitutional by the faculty management.

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