AN INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL JOSEPH AN SUG PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANT, SUG ELECTION UNICAL- 2016
BY DANIEL FAITHFUL
1. Please introduce yourself?
DJ: My name is Daniel Joseph, a 500 Level student of medicine and surgery of the faculty of medicine and dentistry, currently in my second programme, a two term SUG senator, a class representative from 100 Level to 500 Level.
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?
DJ: Firstly, I would say the gap between the management and the SUG, this lacunae has created a lack of opportunity for the management and SUG to dialogue. Also, the management sometimes is not so lenient in their decision making. I do not see a reason why there would be a round table discussion or deliberation and a resolution won’t be made. Thirdly, better understanding also would go a long way.
3. With a look at the Uniport protest what do you think could have been done differently to prevent what happened? On how police are involved in the protest?
DJ: The 1945 treaty gives labour unions opportunity to air their views in a peaceful ways, this could be through strikes and peaceful protest, unions should be free to agitate for their welfare, and same applies to the student unions for a protest that doesn’t give recourse to violence. Something like death that could be avoided would increase more tension. As a solution, proper information should be given to the management and security agencies, by so doing it would ensure that the protest is violence free.
We see protest happen, and when violence and destruction ensues, the SUG blames this on cult groups, and the protest being hijacked by non –students how can this be prevented?
DJ: I believe these groups are within the school campus and a formal notice that the protest to be taken up should be violent free, also if letters are copied to appropriate authorities, it would ensure that the protest is violent free.
University of Calabar achieved one of the most peaceful protests in tertiary institutions.
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?
With reference to the University of Calabar.
DJ: The politics of every government is played at the background, for the government to run smoothly, all arms would be carried along and there would be a mutual co-operation. When one arm is left out especially the legislature, which has direct checkmating responsibilities on the executive,
problem would arise. Normally, vice-presidents are impeached, especially after the student week, when the SUG senate feels it was not properly carried along.
5. Could you in your own terms define corruption?
DJ: Well, this is a situation where there is lack of trust between student (followers) and their union leaders, or a gain of favour of management for leaders to the detriment of student’s welfare, it goes beyond financial mismanagement.
Are you therefore saying that financial mismanagement is not corruption?
DJ: No, no, no I only said corruption goes beyond financial mismanagement. favoritism, tribalism, and nepotism are all part of it.
Once it does not influence students welfare positively it is corruption.
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?
DJ: This happens when there is a breach between the SUG Executives and the legislators, and the executives cannot give account of its activities. And this is something I think the incoming government on it also comes up when key interest of players are not carried along.
Please we would want to know what you mean by key players?
(Clears throat) the SUG government is a representative government, a confederal system, where the central is stronger than the periphery. The executive, judiciary, legislature, of the SUG and also the faculty presidents and leaders of other ethnic associations on campus, are the key players. All must be carried along to satisfy every interest or group.
7. In what ways do you think there would be financial transparency of student government?
DJ: I think there should be periodic reports of financial activities of the union, there should be independence of the financial secretary, independence of the executives to bring their budgets forward. Sometimes some preferred executives have their budgets stepped up by the senate while others are stepped down. The bank of the union can also play a major role in situation where the bank keeps the money and not the students. Since it is a publication there are limits as to things I can say.
8. We know there are academic requirements and security clearance, are there any concerns that may affect your eligibility?
DJ: Well, it will interest you to know that academic performance is a major criteria for contest. 3.5 CGPA is required for the president and for medical students their most recent MB result. Concerning my security screening I have no case to answer.
Its been a while since we have seen students from the faculty of medicine and dentistry running for the SUG presidency. Can you respond to your faculty coming back for the race?
DJ: Of a truth it has been a while since medical student ran for the position of the SUG president, the last was Comrade Amawu who was the SUG president 2010/2011 academic session. While in second year I wanted to run for presidency but we had a senior colleague Comrade Ebehung who was then in fourth year, I had to calm down since my senior comrade Ebehung James was an aspirant but he had some issues with his MB result and so he could not contest that is how I lost the chance and CUMSA (Calabar University Medical Student Association) had no aspirant at the end. Now I am a senior colleague with very good grade of 4.82 in my first year and passes in my recently concluded fourth year MB and with tested and uncommon leadership qualities being class rep from first year to fifth year and other leadership roles, I think I am best suited for the office of the SUG president.
Are you aware that some structures within the school premises and around hostels have been marked down by COBOC?
DJ: YES I’m aware.
9. What do you think would the impact on welfare of students about the removal of certain structures within the campus, marked down by COBOC?
DJ: Well this is a question that should be left to the current SUG executives, questions that bother on the current welfare, should be addressed by the current SUG President.
10. As an SUG Presidential aspirant by what ideologies would you run your government if elected?
DJ: First of all, for soldiers who have fought battles there is always a library of experience, especially SUG Presidents come and go. Some who did very well and some who did just well. Malabites and malabresses should be at the manifesto night to hear first hand, what plans I have. ‘Welfarism’ and a common goal, so they are welcome to hear it, buy it and run with it. There are lots of welfare packages, there are some things we are lacking having been opportune to visit 20 or more universities across the country. UNICAL has done well but we can do better. We have gone past the era, where promise alone are made, you hear things like clean malabor toilet, we then shift our attention from more pressing issues that would keep us at par with other institutions. Napoleon Hill said obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal. We should go beyond knowing what we cannot do, but think about what we can do.
Attention would been drawn to how you were able to visit about 20 universities?
Were you on a tour, or a National leader?
DJ: Well as a medical student, I have several opportunities to visit other schools and travel. I am also a lover of aesthetics and one who admires
creativity. I have used such experiences to prepare myself in the past to be a student leader one day. Like Albert Einstein once said. “Innovation only comes to the already prepared minds”. I have been a class rep from year one to year five, at the SUG Senate, and the church. I led my class to become the best performing class in Unical in 2011/2012 with an average class CGPA of 4.35-4.55. The records are verifiable. My good records are there to speak, any body who wants to do findings should go and ask, the best are those who explore the universe.
Thank you very much for your time, success in your endeavours.
Daniel Faithful is a 300l student of Medicine and surgery university of calabar and a campus journalist with Nigerian Union of Campus Journalist