AN INTERVIEW WITH SUG PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANT OKOI EUGENE. SUG ELECTIONS UNICAL 2016
BY DANIEL FAITHFUL
1. Please introduce yourself?
Okoi: My name is Okoi Eugene, a 300 level student of Department of Nursing Science, faculty of Allied Medical Sciences, an indigene of Ugep in Yakurr Local Government area of Cross River State and presently aspiring for the position of president in the 2016 SUG elections.
2. There has been a rise in students protest in various universities across the country, some have been violent others peaceful what in your opinion can be attributed to this?
Okoi: Okay, well it all boils down to the relationship existing between the unions and the managements in the school, I think that the major point is the relationship or relationships there are may be other factors responsible for this which are specific for particular institutions, if we had a case study we would have brought out such factors, but since its general it boils down to the relationship between such unions and the management.
Your opinion in protest as a means of conflict resolution?
OKOI: I totally do not oblige to protest as a tool for conflict resolution or procurement of interest, it is void and unacceptable. We have more efficient ways for conflict resolution. Protests have more negative effects and less positive effects. There is difficulty to predict the extent, as a unionist you cannot tell the things that may come, as in the case of Uniport where a student lost his life, no one would have expected that. Therefore it is never an efficient tool in conflict resolution you can start a thing but you cannot determine the extent to which it may go, one may start a protest, but difficulty comes in determining the extent. We do not end war wit war
3. With a look at the Uniport protest what do you think could have been done differently to prevent what happened?
OKOI: one undeniable fact about union leaders is usually their strive to ensure that the interest of the union subordinates is protected, but one thing about leadership is that as a leader you must have the ability to resort into other alternatives that would have the same effect without bringing about chaos as in the case of Uniport, one must be able to seek alternative to prevent what happened and have the same effect as regards the policy. One of this is dialogue, you dialogue with the management, probably for an extension of time of the policy or a reduction in the effect of the policy. Then other tools like reaching out to offices and management position responsible for the welfare of students, that is why we have the student affairs division in almost all universities, it would now be the duty resident on the student affairs division to move the course between the students and management, thereby not resorting to protest. Others could also be partial implementation of the policy, the goal of the academia is to ensure the educational needs are catered for and examination is one of them without the exams, the goal of the semester is a waste. Perseverance and persistence with dialogue would be more effective in the conflict resolution.
4. So far, it is becoming common place for union leaders to be suspended or moves for their impeachments being made what could be responsible for this?
OKOI: Well, well, well, fortunately as the case may be I happen to be in the senate, being the apex student legislative body. I have come to the understanding of the basic duties of the senate; I would not want to go into that. The senate tries to regulate the executive arm of the union government and by so doing try as much as possible to ensure that things are carried out promptly and as they are supposed to, in cases of a breach in this sort of duties, the senate procedure calls for investigation, in instances when the investigations are found to be true without reasonable doubt; procedures for suspension follows, but in general I just say the senate tries to operate within the tenets of its constitutionally provided duties, any other executives who serves under the bounds of the approved constitutional provision would not stand suspension. Both parties carry out their functions, suspension would be on the basis of issues raised, it’s a union affair.
5. Could you in your own terms define corruption?
OKOI: Well, corruption is a broad term, to several aspect of my life I stand to give it several definitions, corruption is any act that is contrary to the legal provisions, that is any act that contradicts the legal provisions for existence of a person, an organization and so on examples: if it is expected that you sell and if it is expected that what you sell should be 50 naira and you sell anything more than that, acquiring any thing less than the value is also corruption, so it is any abridgement of standard. Specific examples, money laundering and embezzlement of funds, misrepresentation of the opinion of the union, financial misappropriation, reduction in quality of services for any reason whether personal, parochial or other wise is corrupt; from my definition, once outside the legal provision. The issue where union rises up against management when we are aware that the management has the right to regulate the activities of the union for the good of the union is corruption. So cases for a fight against the management is corruption.
Do you consider electoral malpractice as corruption?
OKOI: Our overall electoral process is supposed to be circumscribed around the opinion of students, this is supposed to be a period where students in our case select for themselves leaders, they believe have what it takes. That is what is legally provided, in cases where there has to be alterations in this in any way is a serious corrupt practice. I can not say that is the prime point, but we cannot deny that issues of that nature has risen , in my opinion I do not think it is the central point.
6. Also we have noticed that financial mismanagement has been a central point around which moves for suspension or impeachment of union leaders from office, what is responsible?
OKOI: I am not quite aware of this so it will be difficult for me to categorically make any statement.
7.In what ways do you think there can be transparency in financial management?
OKOI: Well, already there are protocols set up to ensure there is transparency in the management of this finance, but since its union there is bound to be parochialism because sometimes this protocols do not really work. The major thing to do is to revive these protocols, the senate has committees on finance and appropriation to monitor the disbursement of this funds, it also has project management and monitoring committee for surveillance of projects for which money has been disbursed. Hence the major things are reviving these bodies, then another issue is our leaders, we need responsible leaders like myself.
8. We know there are academic requirements and security clearance, are there any concerns that may affect your eligibility?
OKOI: My candidacy is strong and tested I have been within the circuit of union politics. I think as a law maker in the union I do not practice what I do not preach, I am a law abiding citizen, I know the constitutional provisions for running for such elections, you need a proven academic record, this I have scrutinized within myself, and its crystal clear. It is something that is going to be investigated, the truth is there, I have all the requirements for eligibility.
9. What do you think would be impact on student’s welfare concerning the planned relocation of certain business outfit within the school premises and hostel by COBOC?
OKOI :I do not think it is about a particular business outfit, but it’s their structures, what management does is for the welfare of the student. Walking around campus one sees such outfits are located not in the best of places, so it is proper for such structures to be moved out to proper locations within the school thereby leaving the students with no negative impact.
10. By what ideologies, tenets, principles and objectives would you run by if elected?
OKOI: Well, my sincere principle for life is elevating the standard of the union and its members, there seems to be a gap between the union and management, this parties are not to be at logger-ahead, both work together for a common goal, the goal of the union depends upon the management, and the management runs partially with the cooperation of the union. I would run my government on excellence and a transparent government that is highly accountable.
Daniel Faithful is a 300l student of Medicine and Surgery, University of Calabar. And is a campus Journalist with Nigerian Union of Campus Journalist(NUCJ)