Ogun State’s ivory tower, Olabisi Onabanjo University was in the news recently over the untimely death of some students who were crushed to death by an overzealous truck driver.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Dayo Rufai spoke to the SUG President, Comrade Adenola Adegbesan on the new development to bring the erring driver and owner’s company to justice.
He also shed light on the multi-million naira students’ relaxation centre being constructed by the Student Union Government.
For those who don’t know you, can you give us an insight into your background?
I’m Adenola Adegbesan, the Students’ Union President of Olabisi Onabanjo University. I hail from the royal family of Itasin-Imobi, in Ijebu -East area of Ogun State. I attended Epic Nursery and Primary School and later Mabunmi Memorial Grammar School for my secondary education. I currently study law in the best state university in Nigeria, which is Olabisi Onabanjo University.
Being the number one student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, what have been your challenges so far?
First, the challenge of combining academics and the tasks associated with the office. I do a lot delivering to the entire students and as well achieving my major agenda in OOU, which is education. Also, the problem of pleasing students has been my major threat. Students are Oliver Twists; they would always come for more. There are times I would be in class and I receive calls that need my attention and I can never ignore them, because they elected me into office. These are things I face as the president of the Student Union.
What is the latest as regards OOU students involved in the June 26 auto crash along Sagamu expressway?
That’s a long story. It is no more news that we recently stormed the company that allegedly own the truck that killed our students. We protested the death of our students, and we initiated compensation for the families of the deceased. But after initiating the compensation, we got the news of parents insisting they needed no ‘blood money’ to console them of their dead wards.
We met with the stakeholders of the university and decided to step down our clamour for compensation, so as not to portray us as people fighting for ‘pocket interest’, we had to halt.
We recently heard of the health insurance scheme which has been implemented in your school, can you let us into details?
Yes! After the accident that killed our students, we had to decide on insurance that will cover expenses for accidents or unforeseen situations. We had to approach the university management on this and we agreed on activating a health insurance that will be in favour of our students. I can tell you categorically for now that we have a health insurance in place for our students.
How has it been combining studies with unionism?
It has not been easy at all, but we thank God that we’ve been striving hard to combine both. Service to humanity is a must and education is the best legacy; they say. It’s very tough, but God is taking perfect control.
How have you been coping with ladies around you?
My female fans are an integral part of my success story and I owe a lot to them. Of course, it’s my responsibility to balance all interests and the female folks are part of that category. I come in contact with them and mostly on social networks. They offer useful advice and I really appreciate them for that.
What are your achievements so far in office?
No man is an island of knowledge. We’ve encountered so much, but we’ve been able to surpass our burdens to achieve a lot. We have achieved a lot that can’t even be referenced. At the inception of our tenure, we faced the issue of scrapping of student union, which we vehemently resisted and we achieved victory.
We later had issues with students who were having problem with paying their 40 percent school fees, which we solved. Later, we faced the issue of hike in transportation fares in which we agitated for and we maintained status quo and resisted the unnecessary hike in transport fares. We were later faced with extension of school fees, which we embarked upon and achieved eight further extensions.
To add glamour and achieve the best for the students’ community, the Student Union has embarked on construction of relaxation centres for students of the university. We are still on this project and we are hoping better sponsors come our way. And I can tell you also that the Student Union website is now available and will soon be launched and also payment of bursary which students of this institution have been deprived of over five years.
What are your plans for the university during your days in office?
Olabisi Onabanjo University is a university growing on its own but we hope to add lot more from the Student constituency. We have plans to embark on lots of projects to project the university as a good one. We plan on having more relaxation centres as we go. We pray God help us in our plans to elevate OOU.
There is a rumour that the OOU Student Union is constructing a 1,000 capacity relaxation centre. How true is this?
The relaxation centre is part of our electioneering promises and we are delighted that we are living up to expectation and gradually fulfilling our objectives. The relaxation centre is to serve as a common room for students and will be equipped with modern facilities such as indoor games and a viewing centre.
The project commenced about two months ago and we thank God for the development so far. This is our major project and we hope to achieve this in time. We however still hope sponsors would come and assist us in realization of this great project.
What is your message to those out there, who have graduated from this great tertiary institution and for students out there?
To those that have graduated from this institution; they should continue to be good ambassadors of this institution. And for our students out there; they should maintain discipline and contribute positively in our quest to make this institution not just the best state university in Nigeria, but the best university in Africa.