Student Union leaders in the nation’s tertiary institutions have been described as potential future national and societal leaders. They, therefore, must learn to eschew violence by embracing dialogue to resolve issues, and be good role models to their fellow students.
This was the submission of the Vice Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Professor Igbekele Ajibefun, while speaking at a Leadership Training Programme organised by the University for newly-elected leaders of the various Student Unions in the Institution. The programme was held in Igbara-Oke, Ondo State, between Thursday (9th August) and Sunday (12th August, 2018).
The leadership training is organized annually to instill the University’s leadership culture and etiquette in every set of student leaders. It is also aimed at training them for future leadership roles.
The Vice Chancellor said, “Occupying leadership position at any level is a rare privilege that must be guarded with utmost care and caution. As leaders of the larger body of the students, your colleagues look up to you for good examples. Therefore, you must realise that violence or destructive Aluta does not solve any problem, it rather worsens things. Thus, you must embrace dialogue at all times to resolve issues.”
Prof. Ajibefun, who was represented by the Registrar, Mr. Sunday Ayeerun, advised that while providing leadership to their fellow students, they should not lose focus of their academic programmes.
Similarly, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Olugbenga Ige, who presented a paper, titled, “Understanding Necessary Bureaucracy in Student’s Union Administration,” said the Student Union Executives have a mandate to act as a bridge between the body of Students and the Management of the University in order to carry out identified roles and functions. These, he said, should be achieved through the various communication media, including Memos, Interactions, and Dialogues.
Represented by the Principal Assistant Registrar in his office, Mr. Victor Akinpelumi, the DVC added that Union leaders and students alike should remember that their primary duty in the institution is to acquire skills and knowledge.
“They should avoid actions that may lead to suspension, expulsion, prosecution and even imprisonment. They should always be guided by the oath of allegiance they took during their matriculation which ends only when they have successfully graduated,” he cautioned.
Presenting his own paper, titled, “Students Unionism in Nigeria: Trends and Expectations”, the University Registrar, Mr. Sunday Ayeerun, enjoined the students’ leaders to resist any act capable of truncating the University’s programme and stable academic calendar
Also, the University Librarian, Dr. Rotimi Egunjobi, who spoke on “Reading Culture – A Veritable Tool for Excellence In Student Unionism,” advised the student leaders to take advantage of the facilities and opportunities provided by the Institution to develop a concrete reading culture and habit.
In his own paper, the Director of the University’s Teaching and Leadership Centre, Dr. Lanre Olu-Adeyemi, in his paper, “Challenges of Restive Students’ Unionism to the Academia,” noted that Students’ unionism is an ideal breeding ground for leadership, and that the type of leadership disposition that is demonstrated at the level of students’ unionism has serious implications for leadership output in later years.
Mrs. Olubunmi Ologun, the University Bursar, talked on “Financial Propriety as Hallmark of Students’ Union Leadership”.
Earlier in his Welcome Address, the Dean, Student Affairs, Professor Francis Gbore, had explained the rationale behind the leadership training for the University’s Students’ Union Executives, saying it is part of the vision of the University to create an effective avenue for training the leadership of the Students’ Union for effective performance.
In his words, “The University Management recognizes the importance of investing in leadership training. Through leadership competencies, results orientation and effective decision-making are built. Good leadership requires deep human qualities beyond conventional notions of authority.”
Other resource persons at the workshop include: Dr. Olusegun Owolewa, who delivered a paper on “Communication and Right Attitudes as Helices to successful Unionism; Dr. Simon Erhiabhi, examined, “The Nigerian Students Unionism and the University System,” while Ayoola Akinkuotu, a former Senate President of the Students Union, spoke on, “Diplomacy as a Nexus Between Students Union and the University Management.”