“Every single plan I have will be accomplished”- Ayotunde Oni, Aspirant for Office of Hall Chairperson



As elections approach and candidates busy themselves with their final preparations, ABH Press held an interview with Ayotunde Oni, an aspirant for the office of the Hall Chairperson on Monday night. We discussed his tenure as the current Information Minister and his future plans for Alexander Brown Hall. Sit back and peruse!


Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Ayotunde Oni. I am a 500 level medical student. I am vying for the office of Hall Chairperson.

Why are you running for the office?

Having been in the maintenance committee for two years, my eyes have been opened to a lot of things that could be done better in ABH. And now, running for the position of the Hall Chairperson, I know that I can solve most problems that I see in ABH. I have fresh ideas and innovations that every student would need. I want to improve certain areas in ABH like the maintenance, sports and other things. I know that I am the best person to make ABH great again.

For how long have you had plans to become the Hall Chairperson?

The idea came at the middle of my tenure as information minister. That was when I began to understand the dynamics of what it meant to be a Hall Chairperson, working closely with Femi. The letters, interactions with people, the maintenance of the hall, protecting the interest of Brownites, the aims and objectives, constitutional duties etc. I got to understand how to run the internal affairs of ABH. It’s something I would say is interesting and a lot of responsibilities. I think I am ready for that responsibility.

You talked about bringing back things to the way they used to be. Can you shed more light on that, pointing out areas that would happen?

The story I heard of ABH is that, out there ABH was indestructible in competitions, be it sports, debates and so on. When I came into the hall, during Jaw War, I witnesed the energy and support we brought to ABH then. But this year, even though we had some publicity, the turnout was poor. I don’t think it was because of the publicity. I feel we need a sense of togetherness to support our people. That’s one of the things I hope to achieve in the coming tenure.

Another one is our social life. I used to come to ABH then when Dr Ige was Social and Buttery Minister. ABH was always active. Events were always happening. The Hall was bubbling. I hope to bring that back.

There’s also the issue of our reading room. A lot of things happen there that shouldn’t be happening. For example, a lot of non-Brownites come in to disturb Brownites who have to prepare for exams. I heard it wasn’t like that before.

Concerning extortion from vendors, I met previous SBM’s and I knew that this was not happening. I believe we can have authority over vendors and be fair at the same time. These are the things I’m eager to change positively, and I know we can do it. It’s feasible.

I also believe that maintenance can be better in ABH. There are little things we can handle by ourselves without having to involve UI, like our pumping machine and so on. If the maintenance is better structured, our things will be better maintained, and so, we won’t have to repair things because they will last longer. Currently, we don’t have a structure or a system that really looks into maintenance to prevent seeking external help when our things are eventually damaged.

As the current Information Minister, you came in through a bye election, and not the main election. Why?

When I came in to ABH, I asked myself if there a PRO (I didn’t know it was called an information minister). I didn’t know much about my predecessor. I actually didn’t know her until the manifesto night as an aspirant for another office. It was at that manifesto night I discovered the problem and decided to solve it. I felt things were just too bad and asked myself how difficult it was for things to come alive again.

I didn’t just jump into going through the bye election. I talked to a couple of people in the hall, one being David Salami, and I made my decision in a week. I presented my plans to the house. The house voted and I was the only aspirant in the bye election who had all yeses and no nos.

My answer to that question is, I felt I could do something better and improve the office, even though there was no foundation for me.

Were you in the previous committee for the information ministry? 

I was not in the committee. I was in the hall week publicity committee, which was a relevant committee to run.

Some Brownites have called you an opportunist. What do you have to say about this?

Well, it’s okay if that’s your perspective. However, I strongly disagree with that because I’m not an opportunist. I am merely someone who wants the good of the hall. An opportunist is one who is only concerned about his interests rather than what he can offer. Considering everything I have done at the Information Ministry, I’m far from being an opportunist. I read the article talking about me running for an office so that I could get a bedspace. If I need a single room, I have enough money to get one without having to dedicate one year serving at the Information Ministry.

I have put my hands into my pockets to ensure that my ministry runs. I don’t think an opportunist would do that. And even right now, I’m saying it again to ABH that I would do much more than that in the coming tenure, giving my all and going the extra mile to make sure everything works at ABH.

Look at my records. Ask past executives and they will tell you I’m far from being an opportunist. Please, do your research well and don’t call me an opportunist.

Comparing this tenure with the last, what improvements have you brought to the Information Ministry?

I have improved it in every single area, notably communication systems. I inherited two mics, one was bad, the other was okay which later got spoilt about one month into the tenure. They have been replaced and now we have 6 mics. The megaphones have also been revamped.

Concerning registration wait-time for COMUI WiFi, I am pretty sure it’s no news that it used to take months. However, I am proud to say the maximum is now 2 weeks. I thought of a way to make it fast, and what I did was to create a Google drive on which the students’ details would be uploaded. Then I send the link directly to the COMUI IT Unit to effect the registration. I don’t have to do much paper work, gathering documents and submitting them at their office. That was why I included this in my achievements as semi-automated comui WiFi registration.

Also, I met 30 pins in this tenure, but now, there are 50 pins. I had to add my personal money to do that, because I noticed 30 pins gets finished very quickly.

I also made sure that communication was very fast, especially in informing Brownites about events going on within the hall. I revamped publicity within ABH.

Our social media accounts were more involved this time around. In contrast to last year, every single thing we did was always uploaded on our social media accounts.

Talking about registering for COMUI WiFi, some brownites believe you’re not that accessible. They want to register but when they send you messages, they don’t get replied until weeks after, sometimes.

I want to apologize for that. I would be lying if I said there weren’t instances I discovered someone had messaged me for weeks, but somehow skipped the message. But I would say that I reply majority of people who message me. I would say Brownites should put themselves in my shoes. If I had over 100 messages to reply, there are chances that I would skip one or two messages. I try my best to reply as many messages as I can. I would also say that Brownites should not stop messaging me. I am accessible. If I don’t reply you, please call me.

What can you say about having not fulfilled some promises you made to Brownites in your manifesto while running for the office of the Information Minister?

The two promises I did not fulfill are the newsletters and the LinkedIn account. For the newsletters, we had a stumbling block because I didn’t have complete access to Brownites’ database. I planned to send the newsletters to every Brownite. I didn’t want a situation whereby some would get the newsletters while others would be left out. So, I reached out to various course reps but some classes didn’t have a database. That was the major stumbling block in achieving that goal.

I think a better approach would have been to send a broadcast message to Brownites, telling them to subscribe to the newsletters. So if anyone doesn’t get the newsletters, it will be because they didn’t subscribe to it. I know better now.

For the LinkedIn account, we actually have one, but my predecessor misplaced the password of the account. We tried all our best to retrieve it. We tried to use “forget password” multiple times but she didn’t know the exact email account she used to register the LinkedIn account. We sent several mails to LinkedIn, but they said they could not give us the password.

We didn’t want to create a new account. I’m pretty sure that all Brownites will agree that it doesn’t make sense to open another Alexander Brown Hall account, because it’s an official account. Imagine someone wants to contact us and they see two Alexander Brown Hall accounts. It doesn’t look professional enough. I was actually at the verge of creating a new account, but the executive council thought it not wise.

Funny enough, after sending multiple mails to LinkedIn trying to get the password, just last week, we found out there was a way to be a super admin on a LinkedIn account. We made Femi, the Hall Chairperson, a super admin and he extended that to me. So, I can only post on the account and reply messages, which I think is good enough for now. I can’t perform some more complex tasks such as changing the logo; I’m not in full control of the account because I don’t have the password.

The issue is, throughout the tenure, we didn’t know there was anything called a super admin. We were focused on getting the password.

What special plans do you have for ABH running for this office?

The one that excites me the most is empowerment for Brownites. I know that everyone talks about empowerment. But I’ve come up with a system that actually works. In the Tech world, there are several communities like the data analysis community, software engineering community etc. That is the idea I’m bringing into ABH. We’re trying to empower one another. We’re not creating a system where someone will be invited to give a one-time talk. We’re creating a system that actually works. It’s continuous. In communities, this is what happens, we have people of like minds sharing projects and opportunities, advising and supporting one another, giving pathways and things like that.

However, to ensure that things are always going on in these communities, experienced Brownites would be appointed to head these communities and they would report to me monthly.

Would you say this is the most pressing need of Brownites? 

I would say we can kill two birds with it. Firstly, the communities would build togetherness among Brownites, while also giving those involved a sense of fulfillment. I want to be remembered as someone who was actively involved in making such impacts in Brownites’ lives. Other plans I have are also important, but I believe the empowerment programme is the most important plan I have.

Do you have plans for the resuscitation of the ABH ventures?

Definitely. The problem with the ABH ventures is, somebody actually paid for rent but never used it. So, it’s rented right now. We plan that as soon as her rent expires, we’ll look for someone else who would rent the place.

As one aspiring to become the next Hall Chairperson, critique the current administration, particularly the current Hall Chairperson.

I think Femi has done a good job. Honestly, I have learnt a lot from him, especially leadership qualities. Femi is someone who is very patient and persistent. If you don’t do your job, he will disturb the hell out of you. That is something I would pick from him. I would make sure I would be on the neck of the executives until they do what they’re supposed to do.

For the vendors, what I would do better would be being more aggressive with those who exploit Brownites like Ugbo Lucky (Spicy Bites) and Leke. I have special plans for them. Femi is not the aggressive type, if you know him well. He’s a more diplomatic person. But I think there are some people who need iron hand.

What do you like about your opponent?

I have worked with him for over a year. The question should be on what I don’t like about him. Anyway, I think he is politically smart. He knows how to play his cards well. He is more politically experienced than I am. I am more of a person who wants to get things done. In politics, you might need that smartness at some point.

Is that the only thing?

Yes, that’s the only thing.

Okay. What don’t you like about him?

I don’t think it’s fair to talk about the negatives of someone running for the same office as I. But I shall speak soon.

You claim to truly care about Brownites. Was that why you fueled the generator at the TV room for Brownites during the blackout or it was just a campaign strategy? 

It was a way to demonstrate my care for Brownites and not to campaign. If I did that to campaign, that would have been tantamount to vote buying, which is something I’ve really tried to stay away from.

Also, contrary to what people think, I didn’t personally fund it. I reached out to some alumni who sponsored it.

What are your views concerning the press?

The press being an independent body is a very interesting thing. I’ve always loved to read press articles. I remember the Abacha article. It was so fun to read of course until my own came out. Until then, press articles had always been fun to read for me.

It was Owoeye who wrote the article about me and genuinely, when I read the article, my reaction was, “This guy can’t be real”. I questioned why he didn’t ask me for clarifications before publishing the article. I felt it was a personal attack on me, but I was educated by my team members that the press doesn’t work that way. They told me that I had been reading articles on other people, and now it was my turn. A senior called me and told me, “Now, you’re a man”.

I was disappointed and worried. I asked myself, “Could it be possible that Brownites don’t know a single thing I have done throughout my entire tenure?” I thought that I had done more than any information minister could have done. I was shattered but my team came up for me.

Right now, I think the press is a respectable organisation and they’re doing their job, just like I am doing my job.

Give us fun facts about yourself.

I love sports a lot. The sports people in ABH will receive massive support from me because I love sports. I can also eat raw pepper.

Another fun fact is that I am accessible. In fact, some say I am too accessible and playful. But that’s my personality. I don’t think my personality affects my job.

Final words for Brownites

Greatest Brownites, be rest assured that you’re in safe hands. I have thought about my plans. I have had sleepless nights and I can assure you that my plans are 100% feasible. I can assure you that every single plan will be accomplished. Expect a great ABH.

Thank you. See you at the press night.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.