This past Presidential Debate was a true eye-opener on so many levels. It made us to realise the content of the minds of so many of the candidates. Under intense pressure, their resolves were thoroughly tested by the panellists and those who stood the test emerged victorious, while those who broke during the Debate flopped right in front of the entirety of the school.
It is no news by now that the aspirant for the position of Vice President gave an abysmal performance. The social media blew up minutes after her numerous blunders in articulation and logical incoherence of plans. So many have claimed that they will ensure she does not get two-third of the votes. However, it is highly unlikely that Olamide Akanni is not going to be the next Vice President of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union. She has a lot of work to do in terms of public image rebranding. Her manifesto needs to be strongly revised and her composure is lacking in excellence. Even the increasingly-mean satirist, Tubosun Ajanaku, has compared her to Dame Patience Jonathan, a world-renowned “sharp-shooter”. If she can be industrious enough to change people’s perception about her, it is not too late for her to redeem herself.
The presidential aspirants each came with their own gravitas and lit up the entire Large Lecture Theatre. Their swaggers were evident, though none could stand the weight of the scrutiny perfectly. Ojo Aderemi’s demeanour was as charismatic as usual, though his sweet-mouthed and clever way of approaching the questions made him seem a bit manipulative, though that is not necessarily a bad thing for someone who will hope can advocate for us. Valentine Igbonekwu’s performance was much more low-spirited than one would have predicted, though that could be chalked up to the fact that, as UCJ reports, he came to the Debate right after the electoral screening and did not have time to accustom himself to the new environment. Even with that, he still held down the forte for those who believe in his agenda and such ability to hold on to strength under pressure is quite impressive. Ogeleyinbo Bodunrin was the breakout star of the day, not necessarily because he performed better than the rest, but because he exceeded the expectations of the audience with his calm and assured poise. Hamzat Ayodeji wowed the crowd with his practical plans for the Union, though his enthusiasm seemed to wane a wee bit during the actual Debate at the end.
As we near another period of flocking to the polling booth to hand the baton to the successor of Ojo Oluwanifemi, we cannot ignore some crucial facts. The swirl of propagandas has proven that the world of politics in the University of Ibadan is no saintly realm. Nocturnal exchange of candidates has become the order of the day…or the night. Kudos to Tomisin Morakinyo, the Queen Elizabeth II Hall Chairman, for choosing to stay away from the whole charade.
We have reached the last lap and everything is in high speed. Kicked off by the Presidential Debate, all the candidates will go on a speechifying tour throughout the week – from the nearly-xenophobic heat of ABH Decides to the uptight attack from side-to-side during the Press Night, the candidates have so much on their plates. But, let us ask ourselves, are we safe?
In an election where we have candidates accused of forgery of receipts, bribery of hall chairmen, ineffectiveness in past positions, grammatical genocides, docility towards management and the religious manipulation, how do we know we will not end up voting for the wrong people? In an election in which only one lady picked up the form to vie for a political position, are we sure we have not totally destroyed the confidence of ladies in their ability to be leaders?
It has been rumoured that many religious organisations are planning to drop their endorsements just a few days to the elections. Please, let us be careful. Let us be very careful. Our religious institutions have no business getting involved in such practices as these. We need to be able to vote irrespective of the religious affiliations of the candidates. After all, it is not like any of the past Students’ Union leaders have been able to use their positions to further the cause of their respective religions.
We at Indy Press want to urge you to cast your votes wisely. If you have missed the Presidential Debate, then go ahead and ensure you do not miss the Press Night slated for Thursday or the Speech Night to hold the following day. Please, ensure that you are voting not because your roommate said Candidate A is cool or because he is cute. Vote because you know in your heart that this is the person you believe will run the affairs of the Union best. Believe us, no one has every truly benefitted from voting for someone just because they belong to their halls, faculties, churches, mosques, departments and whathaveyou?