ABH DECIDES 2019: “I REALLY WANT TO BRING BACK THAT VIBE AND THAT ENERGY TO OUR HALL” – DEPUTY HALL CHAIRMAN ASPIRANT (Onaopemipo)
Pressman: Good evening, I am a representative of the ABH press and for the sake of this interview, could you please introduce yourself to brownites?
Candidate: Good evening, my name is Akinola Onaopemipo, I am a 500 level Medicine and Surgery student. I like dancing, singing and generally just having fun.
Pressman: Alright, that is interesting. So, why are you running for the post of the deputy hall chairman or what inspired you to run for this post?
Onaopemipo: Thank you very much for that question, well I realized that there is a change in our perception on how we participate in hall activities as compared to the way it is in UI, everybody is proud of their hall as well as they are proud of their department. I don’t feel that same energy and vibe here in ABH and because of that, I really want to bring that vibe and that energy to our hall and hence the theme I picked for my campaign. That is why I decided to run for this post.
Pressman: Okay, do you think that the lack of vibe is because of how stressful this section of the medical school is or what do you attribute to this lack of vibe?
Onaopemipo: Thank you for the question. I can attribute it to the fact that, yes, we are very busy and we are just like every other hall that has different people from different facets, different departments but the peculiarity is that we are clinical students having to attend clinic and other clinical activities but I think despite our busy schedules, we want to be able to interact and know ourselves and actually know people from other departments. Sometimes the only time we really get to know people is maybe we are on the queue on prestige, but mainly it’s during hall activities that we can come together to know ourselves on a personal level.
Pressman: Alright, very interesting. So, your poster was the first to come out and many people knew that you were running for the post of deputy hall chairman but as time went on, more people started showing interest. What do you think about that?
Onaopemipo: Thank you. For me, I think it’s what we need, the essence of a democracy is that people get to choose, and people are also willing to serve. More interestingly, in a year like this, more people have taken up that interest in picking up the mantle to serve and I believe is good for the hall because it says that; if any one of us actually gets in, we are going to give in our best, we all decided that we want to achieve this and regardless of the outcome, we will support that person because the hall is the primary reason why we want to do this.
Pressman: I think you are right, we’ll just to wait and see. Now you have two opponents, what edge do you think you have over them?
Onaopemipo: Thank you for the question, emm……. Personally I don’t really like questions like this but however, I have been vibrant in hall weeks and hall activities and just being present in the hall activities and I know that a lot of brownites have been concerned with the fact that I am an “off-campus” brownite but that has even never limited the energy I bring to the hall and the amount of self-service I give to the hall in different committees and activities. I believe that the plans and the things I want to bring to the table are the things that give me an edge over the other contestants, but you can never really say, maybe in the manifesto night, brownites can see what I am bringing to the table.
Pressman: You have mentioned that you have served in different committees can you mention some of the capacities for which you have served the hall?
Onaopemipo: Thank you, presently for this current tenure, I served as the head for the fund raising committee and I understood the unique challenges that the hall faces as regards raising funds and that being a major aspect of how hall activities will run and play out and the different challenges that arise in interacting with people and getting people to share your vision and be willing to follow through with the things that you have in mind for that kind of peculiar task because unlike associations that cater for their own people this hall is tasked with the responsibility of catering for majority of four associations and activities have to be balanced considering each associations calendar, so I learned about the challenges the hall face regarding that fact.
I have also been the head choreographer for the ABH pageantry for two years and I can actually say that I have never collected a dime because I have always seen is as; if my hall calls me to do something like that at any point in time, I should be willing to give that service whether at a discount bit I have never felt the need to collect anything to be able to serve in that capacity and it has really been fun because something as trivial as that, some people might feel is not extravagant but you do have to exercise some form of leadership, you do have to exercise some form of skills in bringing people together, understanding their differences and what is unique about each contestant and be able to bring up something that will flatter everybody and have everyone’s best interest and what can bring out everyone’s shine so that it won’t be that you are being partial towards anyone. Also, you must be able to make decisions that will bring out the best in everybody and there is nothing more important than a leader having that.
Sometimes when I choreograph, I ask the contestants to give a step or two for the choreography, so that at the end of the day, it’s not my input only, it’s from all of us, we did it together, so we can be proud of it afterwards.
I have also been a member of the rally and variety night for last tenure and this tenure and I know that a lot of my activities are social but that is what I know I thrive at and I am always open to a challenge to be better at other things.
Pressman: Wow, you have mentioned some capacities for which you have served the hall, can you tell us the most difficult situation or circumstance you faced while serving in those capacities and how you overcame them?
Onaopemipo: Thank you, in generally all my participation in serving the hall I can’t really pick one situation that was very difficult but the unique challenges of bringing different people together, people that have different ideas and having them come together and seeing something from another person’s perspective can be very challenging at times and that surmounting that conflict and being able to move on and make progress. That is a unique challenge that will always tend to present itself and I have been able to surmount it.
Pressman: Okay, so, if you are elected as the deputy hall chairman, you would be the chairperson of the hall week, and in the event that there is paucity of fund and having the experience of serving as the chairperson of fund raising committee, are there innovative ways that you intend to bring to overcome that challenge and what are they?
Onaopemipo: The beauty of service is that, we all learn from different experiences, being a member of my own association’s senate and serving in various committees also, I have understood the unique dynamics that have enabled my association to raise fund and I am able to tap into that knowledge as well as understanding the unique challenges that ABH faces as regards funds and understanding that a little goes a long way, N500 is never too small, yes, looking at the big picture and the budget, it looks small but being able to set a consistent goal and having people accountable for sharing the vision of that goal and having to monitor our progress and ask: “how are we going to raise this funds? What are the steps we want to put in place?
For instance, a major factor that will help in raising funds is early establishments of committees for the hall week and creation of a budget, that will mean that the committees are created and there is a goal, and everyone can see that goal and there is a commitment on everybody’s part. I am a firm believer that before I ask anybody to give me money for something, I should have put something down already, so that when we go to meet people we can say that of our own capacity we have been able to raise funds for some aspects of the budget. It makes us look more responsible, more like we are not just looking for a hand out and that we are committed to the program and we can sell that vision and commitment to someone else to make them more minded towards us to make them want to fund us.
So early constitution of committees, being self-committed and also one more thing on external support because here in UCH we have a small community and ABH has to serve all the mini community within it for its hall week so having to meet the same people for the different associations we have that hurdle of donor fatigue and that poses a problem to ABH especially a lot of times its hall week falls after those association. That and if committees are constituted late before we meet them, UIMSA has already asked, UADS has already asked and then you end up having the issue of “I have already given what I have” and we understand the unique economy.
Being able to diversify our funding library or gallery so to say and understanding that there are bodies or companies that are interested in funding a dinner or the ABH strongest man or the culinary competition, I mean there is nothing stopping us from getting an endorsement from Mamador or from Maggi, I know that in Idia hall, they were able to get an endorsement from Maggi that actually funded their culinary competition. So, understanding that those opportunities are there and being able to identify them and understand that there are people who would help us get necessary connections to those places and understanding is not one person’s sole responsibility, the deputy hall chairman is supposed to be held responsible for the hall week but as brownites, it is our hall and yes, we are committed to it by our dues but we all want the best for it, there is nothing stopping us from giving part of ourselves to see that everything turns out well.
So those are the ways I think can help with raising funds, going external and thinking outside the box.
Pressman: So, were there shortcomings in the previous tenure that you observed and how do you intend to fix them?
Onaopemipo: I know that a lot of people were not happy in the aspect of the communication. Nothing has plagued ABH more than the ABH generator and I being someone that likes getting information on what is happening understand that there are unique challenges that face the problems concerning the generator but I also understand that answers are supposed to be provided to allay people’s fears and being able to speak about something before people are even able to say something gives you and upper hand to address their fears and make it known that you are conscious of their fears and are working towards it.
Another thing is that in the hall week, due to the fatigue and because people were financially or even just mentally exhausted of other activities, being conscious of the timing of the hall week. There is no problem if the hall week starts the charade health weeks that go on within ABH and publicity is key, if people know, they are more equipped to show up and want to put out their best. Even the build-up of events such as the inter-block football competition, those things need to happen within the hall week to give people the feeling of ‘something big is coming’ and early publicity will give that push towards that.
Pressman: Thank you, so this year, there was paucity of accommodation space, only about 30 spaces for the ladies. The hall executives get a one-man room each, if you are elected, will you push for the extra space for the hall executives to be given out?
Onaopemipo: Personally, I believe that the executive deserve the incentive, that is the only incentive that they get from the hall but I also believe that they executives have a lot of advocating to do, because giving out spaces to only 30 or 45 people in a class of 200 does not even cater for 50% of the class and then we don’t want a situation where rooms are being attained illegally because at the end of the day that is not proper and it’s not what we want. So, the executives have to plead on the hall management on the college on the necessity of more blocks and more rooms because even if all the rooms in ABH have 2 people in it, it will still be insufficient. If it’s possible for the 300 level for the medicine and surgery could be catered for, for their transportation because the fact remains that they paid hall fees in UI and if they are permitted to stay, it helps to allay that gap of no accommodation, I went through that and I know that it wasn’t pleasant at all. So, there is a need for constant advocacy for more hostel blocks to cater for people the hall is currently supposed to accommodate.
Pressman: Alright then. Part of the activities that the ABH deputy hall chairman is supposed to oversee is the ABH fit and seeing that the ABH fit is not functioning right now, how do you intend to rejuvenate that program?
Onaopemipo: I was actually a member of that committee and the challenges the committee faces is bringing an external instructor, having brownites actually turn out for that event, but realising the turn out for the ABH strongest man, it shows that yes, there is indeed an interest for fitness so, we would have to work with the defence ministry and how we can in cooperate that activity together so that people can know how to properly lift weight instead of the basic aerobics that we constantly see all the time.
The current defence minister has really done a great job and now more females use the gym. There is no law stating that the ABH fit is always meant to hold in the volleyball court. We could have different activities and unique things we want to address at different ABH fit and having it regularly nut I acknowledge is a big task.
So, just being consistent, proper information dissemination, proper publicity because with proper publicity we hope for a better turn out.
Pressman: So, if you are to win and you are asked to make 3 wishes for the hall I your tenure, what will they be?
Onaopemipo: Wow, my first wish is that we can get donors that will share in the believes that we have for the hall and they would fund us appropriately.
Second wish is that brownites will be more involved as I see that with the election, everybody wants to know what is happening. I wish that doesn’t die down and people are constantly asking questions and seeking the right answers.
Third wish is for the hall week is successful, I mean that is basically my second constitutional duty and I’m able to pick the right people for the right job and have same visions as me.
Pressman: what is the most interesting aspect of you that is not in your CV?
Onaopemipo: I think I put everything that I am. Every part of my self is out there, I don’t think that I have any hidden aspects of myself, I believe that because we only live once, and you have to give your all at this one chance of living.
Pressman: Okay, final question. Are you a more of a hunter or a gatherer?
Onaopemipo: Emmmm……. I will say I am more of a gatherer, if I understand the meaning of the word gatherer, it means that I pull people together, so I do that well, I am not a lone wolf so to say, which I will describe a hunter as. I am somebody that pulls people together.
Pressman: Do you have anything to say to brownites as a closing remark?
Onaopemipo: Brownites, this is our hall and it’s a hall that we all want to be proud of and we all play a role in making ABH a place that we want to be proud of, our involvement is key and our enthusiasm and willingness to put ourselves into the service of the hall is what will make the hall what we want it to be. Thank you.
Pressman: Thank you very much too.