Student Unionism not Tantamount to Crises, Riots – AAUA VC

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Caption: Vice Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun (7thR standing), flanked by the Deputy VC (Admin), Prof Olugbenga Ige (M); Registrar, M. S. Ayeerun; with the Bursar, Mrs. V. O. Ologun (8thL); University Librarian, Dr. Rotimi Egunjobi (5thR), in a group photograph with other officers of the Institution, and Executives of Student Union of AAUA at a three-day Leadership Training for student executives held in Igbara-Oke, Ifedore LGA…on Monday.

The Vice Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko (AAUA), Ondo State, Nigeria, Professor Igbekele Ajibefun, has advised Student Union leaders not to see unionism as a call to arms against University Management, but as a call to serve and join hands with the authorities to promote the welfare of students as well as provide an atmosphere that is conducive for learning and research.

Prof. Ajibefun gave the advice on Monday (August 14, 2017) while speaking at a 3-Day Leadership Training Seminar organised for the leadership of the Student Union of the Institution in Igbara-Oke, Ifedore Local Government Area of the State. The event was put together by the Student Affairs Unit of the University and it had the theme, “Promoting a Peaceful University Environment.”

The Vice Chancellor lamented what he called the penchant of some students and union executives to equate effective unionism to being rigid, impossible, violent, quarrelsome and incorrigible.

In his words, “It is a regrettable error that some unionists believe that the effectiveness of their stewardship would be measured by the number of battles and wars they fight with the leadership. They tend to believe that their members would hail them as ‘action man’ if they are constantly at war with the Management or if they embark on ‘Aluta.’

“But I want to assure you that you (Union Executives) stand to gain more and achieve your target of bettering the lot of your members through mutual cooperation, and constant dialoguing with management on whatever demands you might want to make.

“I equally want to counsel you never to allow anyone push you against your best wishes. In leadership, people tend to put pressure on the leaders so much that such leaders end up on the wrong side of the rules and regulation. And when the inevitable punishment comes, the people applying the pressure are usually the first ones to backtrack and push the leaders forward as sacrificial lambs.

“Therefore you must be firm and resolute. You must also be transparent and carry your executive members along in all things. There have been peace and tranquility on our campus for some years now, it must not be said that it was during your tenure that we had crises and troubles.”

The AAUA Vice Chancellor promised that the management would always listen to them and strive to meet their needs despite the challenge of paucity of funds. He assured them that the University exists for the students and thus their interests would always be prioritized.

The leadership training featured seminars, lectures and interactive sessions and had Executive Members of the Student Union, Student Legislative Council, and Student Representative Council in attendance.

Delivering the Lead Paper on the opening day, a former Deputy Vice Chancellor (Admin) of AAUA, Prof. Francis Oyebade tutored the student executives on the topic, “The Roles of Communication Ethics in Peaceful and Progressive Unionism.” He advised them to learn to communicate effectively without ambiguity, and to always present their points sequentially and logically.

Other speakers include the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olugbenga Ige, who spoke on ‘Redefining the Roles of 21st Century Student Unionism: A Pragmatic Approach to Leadership,’ and the Bursar, Mrs Olubunmi Ologun, FCA, who lectured the executives on, ‘Roles of Financial Record Keeping and Transparency in Student Union Leadership as Panacea for Peace in the University.’

In his keynote address, the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Francis Gbore, thanked the speakers and other guests and expressed the belief that the lessons learnt would make the student executives better and more pragmatic leaders, even after leaving the University.

He said the University embarked on the training in the face of competing financial demand, not only to engender a peaceful campus, but to also train the student executives on the nuances of leadership.

In his own remark, the President of the Student Union, Olawale Ijanusi, appreciated the University Management for the training which he said has impacted positively on them and their perception of some issues of life.

He added that the experience has been wonderful, even as he urged same to be extended to staff of the University.