ABH DECIDES 2022: “I have the capability to effect changes” – Mr. Okoro Chinedu, Hall Chair Aspirant
As the Election Day draws nearer, the ABH Press caught up with one of the aspirants for the position of the Hall Chairperson, Mr Chinedu Okoro. Here is what he had to say:
PressPerson: I would like you to introduce yourself and let the audience meet you.
Mr Okoro: My name is Okoro Chinedu. I’m an aspirant for the Alexander Brown Hall Chairperson and a student from the Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Ibadan. Thank you very much.
PressPerson: Thank you for keeping it precise. So we are aware that you are interested in vying for the post of Alexander Brown Hall Chairperson, what would you consider to be the motivation behind this decision?
Mr Okoro: Okay, my first motivation is mostly the current state of things in the hall and as someone that has been in leadership and has also been an active follower, I believe that I have the capability to effect changes in these things that I’ve seen over time. So the most important motivation is the current state of the hall and the fact that I believe I have the plans and ability to effect these changes needed for the hall.
PressPerson: All right. So you’ve talked about the situation in the hall and effecting a change, can you give maybe one or two instances of these things and these changes that you intend to make
Mr Okoro: Okay, thank you very much, sir. Well, over time one of the major things that I’ve seen that was not done to full capacity is the communication gap between the executives and Brownites, the executive and legislative arms, and also the executive and hall management. These are part of the things that I intended to work upon. The second will have to be the maintenance of the things in the hall starting with the clothing lines to the light in the hall. Then we move ahead to the refuse disposal. It has caused a lot of issues considering the fact that we are health personnel. There are also some issues with the cafeteria and food vendors, and also the shops, especially the discrepancies in prices and more so, the water issue we’ve been having.
PressPerson: I believe you will have all the time during the Manifesto Night to expand on all these changes you said you want to make but if we can just focus on one of them. Take for instance that of the communication gaps you mentioned, how do you intend to solve this problem?
Mr Okoro: Thank you very much. From a more personal perspective, I believe that communication solves a whole lot of problems in leadership if not the majority of the issues we have. Communication between the executives and Brownites is the very first thing and one of the most important. Working with the PRO, of course, I plan to establish a high level of communication with Brownites, so much so that at every point in time, if anything happens either positive or negative, Brownites will be able to be in the know about what is happening and what is being done about what is happening and the projected time period during which we presume this would be solved. This will keep them in the know and will make them feel the impact of governance because I believe people are interested in governance. Some of the ways I wish to go about this is by the regular release of broadcast messages and also having access and a cordial relationship with floor reps and elected representatives to pass this information. I also wish to make information and details of elected representatives and executives known to Brownites. This is very important for the personal relationship that Brownites will have with the executives. If there is an issue, they can quickly relay it to the floor representative or the elected executives at every point in time. Second, is the executive and the legislative arm. Taking a cue from the last tenure, this was not very strong. This was not really a positive thing.
Now I have served in the legislative arm of my department for five years – three years as a senator and two years as a congressman. I believe I have the experience and the technical know-how of how the legislative arm works, and I personally believe that the legislative arm and the executive which form the two main arms of government have to work together to push the voice of Brownites, both to the management and to the outside society. This is very important and, in fact, it is worthy to note that when the executives and the legislative come together on a decision, the decision is usually more definite, instead of the executives making plans and not involving the legislative. I plan to do this by having an effective relationship and communication channel between the Hall Assembly leaders who form the legislative arm and the executives. Carrying them along on every decision that is made will actually go a long way in helping us reach good concise decisions in the interest of Brownites.
The third one is the communication between the executives and the hall management. Looking at the last tenure, it seems the relationship between the hall management and the executive was not as optimal. This could have probably had to do with the change in management from Dr Bello to Dr Uche and the Hall Supervisor from Mr Audu to Mr Alimoso. I plan to work on this basically by forming an interpersonal relationship with the Hall Warden, because if we are to look at it the hall warden is the one with the power, and also not just to form an interpersonal relationship, I will try as much as I can with plans put in place already, to have the Hall Warden have a relationship with Brownites. I think it is not appropriate at this point in time for most members of the hall not to be able to recognize the Hall Warden when he steps into the hall. Having inmate students or Brownites in this regard set a baseline level of relationship, I believe will tilt his opinion and allegiance to our side. Or rather, I feel it will actually establish a strong level of relationship. These and more are part of the plans I have
PressPerson: Thank you for that elaborate response. The next question is about your leadership style, how would you describe it?
Mr Okoro: I think my leadership style is based on two things: effectiveness in carrying out duties and inclusiveness. What I mean by this is being able to carry everyone along and how to go about it.
PressPerson: Most people that are running for this Hall Chairperson position would also have many things to say about the situation of the hall and the different ways they can solve these problems. What would you consider to be that unique offer that you are proposing to Brownites that essentially sets you apart from other candidates?
Mr Okoro: I think one of the offers that set me apart from other candidates is my proven competence and my track record in various positions I have occupied over the years both in my class and in my association.
PressPerson: So you think the other candidates do not have these track records?
Mr Okoro: Yes, I do
PressPerson: Okay, go on.
Mr Okoro: This also extends to Alexander Brown Hall. These experiences over time are some things that will help me in my responsibilities.
PressPerson: Moving on, if elected, part of your responsibilities will be to ensure there is a healthy rapport between ABH and the Student Union but in recent years there has been this dichotomy and a we-versus-them mindset that has largely characterized this relationship. How would you go about fostering a healthy relationship between Brownites and the students in the halls at UI?
Mr Okoro: I have seen over time the apathy towards issues in UI from this end and some of the suggestions that I have made and will still state is that if you want to be part of a group, active involvement in activities is one of the major things that will develop acceptance. Being an active member of a union involves active participation in the activities of the union and not just participation but also holding positions that will help you push out the voice of Brownites. One of the things I plan to do is to actually try and push up Brownites to go for elective positions in the student union. This is a union that we are part of and we are actually eligible to participate and take up positions. It is worthy to note that the Speaker of the last Student Union Assembly is a Brownite, which is Mr Omitoye. With added experience from different people who have held different positions, it is something that I plan to leverage to push for Brownites to engage actively in these positions in the school. Part of the plan is to also push members of associations that are affiliated with the Union such as UCJUI and the UI L&D which I am a member of, to enter into these positions. Once we have people in these positions, they would actively engage or rather stimulate the participation of Brownites in these activities. Of course, as stated before, effective communication of the student union activities from our end to Brownites will also serve a whole lot in encouraging the active participation of Brownites in these activities. Once we ensure active participation of Brownites, it will actually improve our standing in the Student Union
PressPerson: You mentioned earlier that one of the key things that you are considering is effective communication among the various arms of administration in ABH. I will like to ask you: what role do you think The Press plays in all of these and what kind of relationship will you be hoping to have with The Press if elected
Mr Okoro: The role I see The Press playing also is the communication of the activities of the hall to Brownites. Being a former Pressman myself both in Mellanby Press and UIMSA, I believe The Press is there to check the excesses of the executives. At every point in time, The Press serves as the fourth arm of government. So I personally expect The Press to be as active as possible. On my relationship with them, I can effectively say my relationship with them is cordial and I’m willing to accept criticisms because I believe criticism is one of the major things that help people. I will act effectively to see that such issues raised by The Press are addressed almost immediately, so I believe I will have a good relationship with The Press in the long run, and I will expect The Press to push out the good deeds of executives and legislative to Brownites. More so, I expect the Press to give feedback on the opinion of Brownites as regards the issues in the hall. Although from my personal effort I will also release reviews or polls as regards the opinions of Brownites about the administration even without waiting for the Press to do this. So overall, I believe I will work together with the press.
PressPerson: So let us take a little diversion to politics outside ABH, between the APC and PDP political parties, which of these do you think should win the next presidential election?
Mr Okoro: Okay, on a broader perspective I personally do not vote based on party lines, I believe party lines have caused a whole lot of issues in the country so far.
PressPerson: Are there parting words you have for Brownites?
Mr Okoro: I would like to inform Brownites to look at this election as the major thing, not to gloss over it but totally scrutinize the candidates. I believe at the end of the day the decisions that we will make now will mean a whole lot of things for the hall. I will also like to implore my co-aspirants who just happen to be my classmates as well, to actually play a fair game and to note that it is all politics at the end of the day. All these will end and after that, we will move on. Also, Brownites should know that Okoro is here to serve and a vote for Okoro is a vote for Progress.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.