Compared to the last electoral season, the atmosphere is charged with an unprecedented level of enthusiasm and participation of Brownites. Mr Adebayo Razaq Alonge, one of such Brownites has declared his intent to vie for the office of the Social and Buttery Minister. The text below details an interview conducted by the ABH Press with him.

Pressman: Good evening. Can you please introduce yourself?

Mr Alonge: My name is Alonge Razaq Adebayo, a 400 level dental student. I am aspiring to be the Social and Buttery minister of Alexander Brown Hall.

Pressman: Can we know more about you? Your hobbies and any other interesting things about you?

Mr Alonge: I am an indigene of Oyo state, from Ona-ara local government. I really don’t have hobbies, probably sleeping, reading and watching movies. I love playing football though.

Pressman: What inspired you to run for this office? why not other offices?

Mr Alonge: I got into this Hall (ABH) around September, Immediately I stepped into the TV room I just felt I should be a part of the TV room committee. Something attracted me to the TV room and the buttery section of the Hall. Probably because I like food. I am very keen on pricing and I am a big fan of accountability. It’s a very common occurrence in this part of the world that people get exploited.

Pressman: what about other social activities in the Hall, didn’t they inspire you?

Mr Alonge: I know ABH people are fun people including myself. I attended the fresher’s welcome, and it made a bit of an impression on me but my main inspiration came from the Price and quality control and the TV room.

Pressman: Can you say that you are a social person?

Mr Alonge: I think I am social but that is subjective. I like social gatherings, I like meeting people and I do believe that spending time together and creating memories is one of the best ways to chill. To be very honest though this is my first time living in a student hostel, before crossing over to UCH I usually went to UI hostels and I loved the way they gyrated and did “Aro”. I feel an antisocial person wouldn’t have wanted to indulge in any of those activities. I want to believe I am social but maybe not too social.

Pressman: Apart from participating in TV room activities and football, what other social activities in the hall have you participated in?

Mr Alonge: I attended the fresher’s welcome for my set, Orchid paediatrics outreach, the movie night organized by my class, and the cultural night, I also watched the chess and snooker games and other activities of the Hall week.

Pressman: Why do you think you are the best person for this position?

Mr Alonge: Let me be direct with this, according to the constitution you must be an active member of the committee in the ministry you intend to run for. Though there are some members of the social and buttery committee who I can say have done more than me because they have been on the committee earlier than I have been since I joined I have been very active. I have learnt a lot and also observed the way Fort (The current Social and Buttery Minister) went about doing things. I joined some meetings not meant for me so I could observe how things are supposed to be done, there were instances when he had to meet some vendors in ABH for meetings or for sanctioning like Mr Leke, and I volunteered to go with him. From my experience as a member of the TV room and the price-quality control, I can currently say that I am the best person for the position until another person comes forward to contest.

Pressman: The constitution states that you must have served in a committee relevant to the office in view. You claim that you have been an active member but your name does not appear on the list of Standing and Ad hoc committees ratified by the Hall Assembly. How is that?

Mr Alonge: I was not a member at the beginning of the tenure when the list was created. I joined in December, there should be a list at the beginning and the end of the tenure, that is how it works.

Pressman: Did you request to be added to the list?

Mr Alonge: Yes, the current SBM said he would add me to the group though I lost my phone for a while so I was added to the WhatsApp page in mid-December.

Pressman: Have you interacted with the current SBM to get some tips about his office as an aspirant?

Mr Alonge: Yes, like I said earlier I observed and paid attention to how he did things. I also reached out to his Predecessor Mr Atoyebi Victor and they have been really helpful. I couldn’t get across to Ebun and others who have been in this position because they weren’t available.

Pressman: Do you think you are eligible to contest this forthcoming election?

Mr Alonge: Constitution-wise, I think I tick the list.

Pressman: What challenges have you identified in the previous tenure regarding the running of the TV room, price and quality control and the social activities of the Hall?

Mr Alonge: To be very honest, the incumbent SBM has tried. He worked on making the TV room aesthetically appealing. For instance, the ceilings were fixed during his administration but then there are some other things to be done. I am not pleased with the fact that the Air conditioners are not functioning, they need to be serviced but only a fool will fix the Air conditioners without ensuring that the windows are also fixed. If elected these are things, I would like to work on. Lately, the TV room has been dirty because the cleaners have not been doing their jobs well. I plan to be very proactive in ensuring that the place is clean, I am a very big fan of cleanliness. Also, the Television outside is not working anymore probably due to disuse we will need to make use of the TV more often.

Pressman: The chairs in the TV room are not enough for those who come to watch, especially when big matches are displayed do you have any plans about that?

Mr Alonge: Well the issue is getting the Air conditioners and the Television outside the TV room fixed. That way the TV room will be decongested and conducive.

Pressman: Is there any consideration for those who may want to watch other sports?

Mr Alonge: Yes, there is. For instance, when it is the Big Brother Naija season, females are free to come and watch, however, if there is a major match it will require deliberation by the members of the TV room committee. Though we are not insensitive to those who watch other sports, we will need to prioritize based on the number of people. It has not been an issue so far.

Pressman: there have been recurrent issues of unfair prices and poor food quality with certain vendors in the Hall, what do you intend to do about these if elected?

Mr Alonge: There is a particular vendor in the Hall who sells items at exorbitant prices but Brownites are not doing well in this regard because they keep patronizing this vendor whereas there are alternatives where they can get things cheaper. The matter is above us because the vendor is affiliated with UI and not with ABH, it is the duty of the Hall warden to look into it. To this effect, the current SBM sent out a Google form to get concrete evidence from Brownites on items they have purchased and how they have been exploited. I plan to be persistent and follow up on that process.

Also, there have been complaints about the poor taste of meals purchased from a certain vendor, Brownites are supposed to report no matter how little it may seem but the issue is that many do not report. My plan going forward if elected is to ensure that vendors communicate with me first before changing the price of meals. The proper thing is that there is an official statement from the SBM to Brownites about such changes. I will also ensure there is a direct link between me and Brownites and not just through the Hall secretary. This will make it easier for Brownites to lodge complaints and report any anomaly. I will be on the neck of the vendors to ensure they sell quality food and also conduct reviews comparing the pricing here with that of UI and the Bodija market.

Pressman: How about the social activities of the Hall?

Mr Alonge: It is obvious that Brownites love fun and social gatherings are usually fun but it all rests on getting funds. During the last fresher’s welcome 300 naira was budgeted for each person but you can’t expect to call people around and give them something worth 300 naira. There is a need to source more funds.

Pressman: Have you served in a legislative or executive role before?

Mr Alonge: I have been a pressman all my life, before resigning I was the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Dentatics Press. I also was once a publication manager for UCJ.

Pressman: Have you headed any committee?

Mr Alonge: I have been a member of committees but I have not headed any. I am on the Quiz committee and Literary and Debating committee of my class.

Pressman: Seeing that you have not been a legislator nor an executive nor have you headed any committee what makes you confident that you can take up this daunting task?

Mr Alonge: Although there is a saying that experience is the best teacher, there is always a first time. Some people did not have any such experience and have taken up important roles, Goodluck Jonathan is one such person. On the other side, people have had some of these experiences and still do not perform at the end of the day. The most important thing is to know how things are run and how things work. I have acquainted myself with the requirements, tasks, and challenges I may encounter.

Pressman: Can you score the performance of the current Social and Buttery minister?

Mr Alonge: I will give him a 7 because he has tried. Though things have been somehow lately particularly due to the continuous hike in price, there is still a lot outside his control. He has tried to keep the vendor in check. I believe he has done a good job.

Pressman: what do you think he could have done better?

Mr Alonge: I cannot say categorically that he has not done his best. He probably should have sourced more funds for the TV room.

Pressman: Alright. According to the constitution you are responsible for the Television Room, and other entertainment facilities are you aware of this and how do you plan to ensure they are properly maintained?

Mr Alonge: Yes, I am. I have spoken to Fort about restricting access to the TV room when no event is being displayed. I recently saw a boy in the TV room at midnight fiddling with the remote controls, he asked me to search for a Yoruba movie channel so he could watch. I was surprised to see him there at that time and was like what are you doing here? I feel there is a need to restrict access to the place so that things don’t get damaged.

Pressman: Are you a team player or do you prefer to work alone?

Mr Alonge: I could be both. Teamwork is very important, I learnt this from a very young age of 8 years when I trained in a Football Academy.

Pressman: Do you think you can handle unresponsive members in any of the committees under the jurisdiction of the Social and Buttery Ministry and spur them to action if need be?

Mr Alonge: I cannot beat anyone even if they choose not to work but so far you accept a responsibility you must perform. I will be on their necks because they have to perform, that’s why anyone would be added to the committee in the first place. If people don’t want to work, they can as well leave the group.

Pressman: Thank you for your time, I wish you the best in your aspirations.

Mr Alonge: Thank you very much.

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