Mr Abdullahi Damilare is a 400-level Medical student vying for the position of Health and Sanitation Minister. Since he declared intent, he has faced several criticism and accusations. ABH Press interviewed him to hear his side of the story and the plans that he has for Brownites if elected.

Pressman: Please introduce yourself

Mr Damilare: I am Abdullahi Damilare Ismail, I am a 400-level Medical student at the University of Ibadan and I am vying for the position of Health and Sanitation Minister.

Pressman: What was your motivation to contest for this position?

Mr Damilare: The motivation has always been there but I will say that it stemmed from the enthusiasm to serve. Although, it is natural for a Medical student to be interested in health and wellbeing. My first time in UCH was when a family member got admitted, and this incident eventually led to my decision to study Medicine and Surgery. On crossing to ABH, I joined committees that had to do with health. I was intrigued by the vaccination drive that was held in ABH, especially because I lost a very close friend of mine to Hepatocellular cancer recently. There was also an incident that occurred when we crossed to ABH where a house officer got exposed to hepatitis B infected blood and his colleagues had to source funds to get prophylaxis for him. Seeing how much they spent, I wanted to know how to facilitate things like this. These are my driving force to take up this position to retain the standards that have been set.

Pressman: What prior experience have you had regarding this position?

Mr Damilare: I have actively participated in the health and sanitation committee, so I have had firsthand experience. I did not stop at that, I joined the Red Cross society, UCH detachment, Friends of Diemen Foundation (FDF) which is focused on eliminating tuberculosis, leprosy and other communicable diseases and the Student one-health club UI chapter. I believe that with the organisations that I have joined and the firsthand experience that I have gained, I am well fit for this position.

Pressman: Have you served Brownites in any capacity?

Mr Damilare: If it counts, Yes the Health and Sanitation committee.

Pressman: Since you announced your interest in becoming HSM, there has been a lot of controversies. Last week Mark Obeya sent an open letter stating that you were never a member of the Health and sanitation committee and only joined close to when you were going to declare intent. What is your take on these controversies?

Mr Damilare: As you have rightly said, controversies, I will let it remain like that, no comments. I already entertained questions from a member of the ABH Press after which I asked if that was all and he said yes, there were no more questions.

Pressman: Alright then, what challenges did you face while serving Brownites and how were you able to overcome it?

Mr Damilare: Being a committee member and a student, of course, it was not easy. I could not participate in the health week the way I would have loved to. But even in my downtime, I still found time to attend the symposium.

Pressman: What was this downtime?

Mr Damilare: It is personal, it is business. Also, one of the reasons why I declared intent late. Thank God, I am in a better place now. Also, I have done my part, the controversy has been reported to the appropriate bodies, and investigations are being carried out but I do not think that it is necessary to make any comments.

Pressman: If elected as the HSM what plans do you have for Brownites?

Mr Damilare: They will hear a lot of this at the manifesto night as I am still working on some of the plans. But to mention a few, this tenure recorded some successes like the vaccination drive which is something that I believe that every Brownite benefitted from. Also, when I first came to ABH, before I became a resident, one of the issues that I had was with the dumpsite, it was very close to the cafeteria and an eyesore. I am happy that this tenure has been able to move the refuse to the incinerator. Also, the newly introduced bin system has been very effective, and it is laudable. I plan to maintain the culture and consolidate the successes of this tenure and then give room for possible improvement. I plan to introduce innovations to improve the well-being of Brownites. I encourage Brownites to attend the manifesto night and listen to the plans that I have.

Pressman: In the previous positions where you served, did you face any challenges? If Yes, how were you able to overcome them?

Mr Damilare: Every day comes with its challenges. Being a member of the publicity committee of FDF, I have some members that I have assigned different roles. However, it has been difficult, working and making sure that every member does their assigned duties. But with fervent pressure and constant encouragement from me, we have been able to deliver.

Pressman: What challenges do you foresee if you are elected as the Health and Sanitation Minister and how do you hope to overcome them?

Mr Damilare: It is not going to be easy; neither is it a one man’s job. It is not easy to make everybody work especially in ABH, where we have people from different backgrounds, cultures, departments and schedules in school. But, I believe that with the help of my committee, the Executives, Ex-officio, Hall wardens and Brownites, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way.

Pressman: ABH has always had a rat problem, how do you plan on solving this?

Mr Damilare: This will be heard on the manifesto night.

Pressman: Also, ABH has always had issues with water supply, aside from during blackouts, water does not get to some blocks. If elected, how do you resolve this?

Mr Damilare: This is a big challenge and it is saddening. The best that we can do is to actively pump water to all the blocks and make sure that the pumping machines are in good condition.

Pressman: I do not think that this issue is related to whether water is pumped or not, D block for instance, did not have water running in their bathroom for a while. 

Mr Damilare: We thank God that last December students were asked to leave the hall and repairs were made to facilitate things. I believe that since then every block has had water and the issue of water not getting to some blocks is due to inadequate resources as some blocks have to share the same tank.

Pressman: Pictures have circulated of fire buckets being used for other purposes specifically, waste bins. How do you plan to resolve this if elected?

Mr Damilare: In whatever you do in life, there is always the human factor and one of the best resources that a person could have is human resources, you can achieve a lot of things with it and at the same time, it could be very challenging. I will discuss more on this at the manifesto night.

Pressman: What do you think that the previous HSM could have done better?

Mr Damilare: Those are the things that you would see us working on. Like I said I will discuss further at the manifesto night.

Pressman: What makes you a better candidate than your opponent?

Mr Damilare: This is a very good question. Having an opponent shows how important this position is and I am happy that I am a candidate for this position. As you might know, I am the Treasurer for the UCH Students Association (USA) and I have had my take-home from this. Even though I deal with finances in this position, it is still a leadership role. One thing that I always do is to hold the other executives accountable when needed I also have to show up for meetings which are sometimes emergency meetings and this has taught me responsibility. I am also in charge of disbursing money approved by the SRC to the executives and I make sure that we work together as a team. Hence, I believe that this gives me an edge. Also, I have participated in activities regarding health, as the PRO and Head of Media and Publicity of FDF I am tasked with maintaining the image of the association and we have been doing very well so far. When I joined, we were about 30 members but as I speak we are about 135 members. This shows how much we have done to change the face of the association and maintain the image and standard of the association in ABH. We recently collaborated with the University of Ibadan Veterinary Medicine Students Association for a Tuberculosis awareness program and we had a talk on X space on Tuberculosis where Aproko doctor and other influential people were present. I am also part of the committee members of the Ireti Breast Cancer Awareness Walk.  I believe that this shows how much I have done and how prepared I am.

Pressman: What unique features make you better than your other candidate?

Mr Damilare: I know myself. The other person is my course mate and that is as far as I know. I believe that I am hardworking, ready to serve and ready to work with people for the progress of this hall.

Pressman: Any closing remarks

Mr Damilare: Thank you Brownites for the support, my interest is to serve. About the controversies, whatever decision the appropriate bodies make, my team and I are willing to respect it and follow the protocols that will be set.

Pressman: Thank you for your time

Mr Damilare: Thank you


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.