I believe that a political leader whose assumption of power did not come from a rigorous voting exercise would dance to the tunes of power intoxication. When a leader ascends to a seat of power by the votes of the majority, he does not let the power they vested on him steal his consciousness; he remembers how much he suffered to get into his position. Thus, he knows the worth of the office he occupies and the importance of representing the interest of his people.

This piece is directed at the sitting Students’ Union Caretaker committee of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, to correct its belief that it can run its insignificant office without being questioned by anyone. Newsflash! Campus press outfits exist to appraise, praise and dispraise your actions and correct the anomalies on campus through constructive criticism.

You might think this piece is a collection of parables because you do not know the extent of the ‘almighty’ caretaker committee’s abuse of power. I implore you to sit, relax and parse this piece with an open mind to understand my position that the insignificant power our representatives wield has blindfolded them beyond knowing the limits of their power.

From time immemorial, campus press outfits and other clubs on UDUS soil have been using the Students’ Union Secretariat for meetings without hindrance or trouble from the Students’ Union leaders. However, it astounds to learn that the SU CTC has turned the secretariat into a sacred place where clubs and associations can no longer access. Our reality is disheartening to the extent that securing a venue from the management is much easier than using the SU secretariat for a meeting.

Two weeks ago, the News Digest Press requested to hold her editorial meeting at the SU secretariat. However, the Dutch-courageous Students’ Union committee decided, without any prior notice, to deny them access to the venue because the National Association of Campus Journalists (NACJ) UDUS was not registered under them.

I was shocked to the marrow because I have never heard a Students’ Union leader do anything as preposterous as forcing campus press outfits to register under them before they can make use of the secretariat or be accorded recognition on campus. During a conversation with the Chairman of CTC, Shamsudeen Umar, we consulted the Students’ Handbook, which says, in simple terms, that all associations and clubs should renew their registration with the Dean of Students’ Affairs on the turn of every academic session, through a letter submitted to the SU Vice President who will serve as an intermediary between the Students’ Associations and the Dean.

Funnily, the NACJ addressed a letter of request to renew her registration to the Dean of Students’ Affairs. However, the Caretaker committee insisted that NACJ must direct the letter to the Office of its Vice President before they can use the SU Secretariat or be recognised as an association on the UDUS campus.

Upon requesting evidence of such claims in the handbook, the Caretaker committee argued that the rule is in the revised students’ handbook, which is yet to be distributed. However, they were unable to provide it upon request.

On Thursday, 18th of November 2021, the News Digest Press was again denied access to the SU Secretariat, and Pen Press UDUS met the same fate yesterday, 19th of November, barely 24 hours later. When we questioned the unelected CTC Chairman, he maintained that using the SU secretariat is a privilege and not a right, adding that he is at liberty to let anyone use the room, and he chose to do otherwise.

However, the rationale behind their inexplicable refusal to let Pen Press make use of the secretariat, even after registering under the totalitarian committee, soon dawned on me. The chairman and his post-wielding cohorts are probably still sulking after the constructively-criticising editorial published by the News Digest Press, where it highlighted the importance of a walkway over and above the Morocco chairs they erected, taking a cue from their predecessors.

It is imperative to recall that despite the heavy criticisms campus journalists hurled against the duly-elected Kalgo and Barade administrations, they never denied press boards the right to use the SU Secretariat for meetings. However, their unelected successors are using the secretariat to force the campus media to register under them, so they can assume control over what we write. As we have fulfilled our obligation of renewing our registration with the Dean of Students’ Affairs, there is no genuine reason to re-register under the SU because the Dean did not say anything regarding it when he was contacted; he only instructed campus associations to renew their registration with his office.

Unfortunately, because of a miniature hall that answers ‘the SU secretariat’, the Caretaker committee is arbitrarily forcing the National Association of Campus Journalists (NACJ), Zero Tolerance Club, Rotaract club, Junior Chamber International (JCI), and many other apolitical students’ association to register under them. The brazen proclamation of the CTC chairman that the secretariat is a privilege and not a right influenced my belief that when people occupy political positions without being elected by the people, misuse of power is eminent, as evidenced by the actions of the Students’ Union Executives.

Good leaders must appreciate criticisms, constructive or not. Respecting peoples’ complaints will help them identify the loopholes in their governance and consequently find solutions to the problems instead of using petty means to exercise their Students’ Union power without the ‘G’, which stands for ‘Government’.

Lastly, I feel the veto power exercised by the Students’ Union Caretaker committee should not come in as a shock because the power came to them unexpectedly. However, my candid advice is to reach out to their predecessors to learn how things should go. The committee must learn to stay within its limits and stop claiming absolute power over everything on campus; your jurisdiction covers only political organisations while all other associations and clubs are under the Students’ Affairs. A word, as we say, is enough for the wise. Although the ball is in your court, and you can dribble it as you like, it would be in the best interest of all stakeholders if you turn a new leaf.

Thank you.

Abdulrasheed Hammad





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