Exclusive with Oluwaferanmi Omitoyin, Speaker, UI SRC.
On this edition of exclusives, ABHPress decided to have a chat with the famous speaker of UI SRC, Mr Omitoyin. He was very open and willing to share, this was one interview we didn’t want to end. Enjoy reading.
ABHPress; Kindly introduce yourself?
Mr Omitoyin; I am Oluwaferanmi Omitoyin, 600 Level Medical Student and Speaker of The University of Ibadan Students’ Union
ABHPress; What’s your favourite childhood memory?
Mr Omitoyin; When I got saved and received the life of Christ. That’s my most vivid memory. It’s crystal clear in my head.
ABHPress; Tell us a little about your journey through leadership in the past. From what we hear, you have been very persistent.
Mr Omitoyin; I started out vying for elective positions in 200 Level when I ran for Health Minister in Kuti and lost by 10 votes, ran for Special Duties Officer for UIMSA and lost in 300 Level, ran unopposed in 400 Level for UIMSA Assistant General Secretary and was elected, ran for ABH Information Minister in 500 Level but lost by 1 vote. Asides from elective positions, I’ve been actively involved in numerous committees both in UIMSA, FAMSA, NiMSA, ABH and other national and international organisations.
I currently serve as one of the Vice Presidents of the International Association for Youth Mental Health (IAYMH), I’m also a Gratitude Network Alumnus, Yali West Africa Alumnus, UNITE 2030 Ambassador and many others.
ABHPress; Why UI SRC speaker as opposed to an executive position or the speaker of ABH’s assembly?
Mr Omitoyin; Opportunity met preparation. Time and chance.
ABHPress; Tell us a little about becoming the speaker, strategy-wise. Particularly with regards to being a medical student from ABH, did you have to put in more effort?
Mr Omitoyin; Quite frankly that election was supernatural. I had my prophet holding up my hands in victory all through the way. I had to be consistently in UI every day throughout the campaign period. It was not difficult but required a lot of wisdom. I did put in a lot of effort but not without help. I had people who helped me with strategy including Olumide Akinyamoju a former majority leader in the SU SRC and Kafu who personally accompanied me to UI to meet several stakeholders, several members of my class who called people to sensitise them. I also had people on the ground in UI who were strategically helping to push the work. That was the framework.
ABHPress; Share your experience so far as the speaker of the SRC, considering the long break in the student union activities?
Mr Omitoyin; It’s been a good one so far. The COVID-19 pandemic began a few months after assuming office, nonetheless, I was around in SUB throughout the period, working with the President to thrash out several issues that came up. I had to travel down to visit the families of some students we lost. We also had times when we started actively mounting pressure on the government requesting for the resumption of schools, etc, so it was still quite busy. Also when school resumed, I was a member of the committee responsible for the virtual semester in UI. We had to adapt to the prevailing situation but work was put in throughout the period.
ABHPress; Does it bother you that there aren’t really past tenures (in recent times anyway) to draw correlations, differences and strategies from?
Mr Omitoyin; It doesn’t. The thing is, we work in a system and systems operate by principles, the specifics might be different but the principles are usually relevant. The truth is my predecessors have been easily accessible and I’m grateful to all of them for their advice on every single issue.
ABHPress; Clashes between the SRC and executive council are not uncommon. How do you manage these clashes?
Mr Omitoyin; Well differences in opinions and points of view are bound to occur but wisdom is very important. Seeing that what guides my decision is what is best for the Union makes things clearer. I take advice from my predecessors and talk with members of the house. Where necessary we could come to a middle ground but when the constitution is about to be contravened, I have to stand my ground and protect the constitution and Union.
ABHPress; What are your core values?
Mr Omitoyin; Honor for the anointed, then honour for people generally, Loyalty, Respect for Time and service.
ABHPress; What are the pros and cons of being the Speaker of the SRC?
Mr Omitoyin; You get to make decisions that could really help people. Then you get the opportunity to learn proper time management. You also have access to some key players in the society. All in all, it’s a great building experience. I won’t necessarily say they’re Cons but sometimes people just don’t understand you and your schedule as The Speaker, you have to miss classes sometimes and get to make tough decisions and face the management. Long meetings could also be a con depending on your point of view. All in all, it’s a great experience, leading 108 people primarily then another almost 30,000 if not more.
ABHPress; How do you maintain the balance between academics and politics? A lot of people would say being a medical student is a full-time job.
Mr Omitoyin; There’s always supernatural strength and wisdom, to be honest, it’s not humanly easy. Physically, being a medical student could be bulky, but where a man’s strength fails, there’s the supernatural to continue. Also, having someone or people you are accountable to. I must tell you, you need the heart of a Lion to do this. Don’t fear medical school and don’t fear politics also. I read my books as much as I can, I also have a system that works for me which I’ve stuck with but as I said earlier, my prophet always holds my hands in victory.
ABHPress; What are your top 3 leisure activities?
Mr Omitoyin; Work, Rest, Talking to friends about the takeover.
ABHPress; There has been a lot of issues recently, especially around the increment in fees. Some would say that the SU didn’t have the best interest of the student at heart and others would say they acted out of fear, with regards to the previous SU body and how it was dissolved. How would you describe the state of the present SU body of UI?
Mr Omitoyin; What is and what appears to be are two different things. The Students’ Union did try as regards the issue of the fees. There were plans to increase the fees by over a hundred per cent but the Union stood its ground and was still able to get some reduction. The reduction might not have been as profound as we all wanted but we still got a reduction, which shows that with more work and pressure our demands can be gotten. There’s a difference between acting in fear and wisdom. From various points of view of various people, they’d make decisions based on what they think but as the Union, we take actions and decisions based on what is best for the Students generally. However, we will always keep working to serve the students better.
ABHPress; How would you describe the disposition of the school authority to the student union body and activities?
Mr Omitoyin; We’ve had our differences in ideologies but so far so good.
ABHPress; Asides from medicine/academics, what are you passionate about?
Mr Omitoyin; Taking over the Political and Agricultural sector with the gospel.
ABHPress; Leave brownites with a few words.
Mr Omitoyin; Seek ye first the kingdom and all these things we’re chasing will start chasing you. Money, influence, power, fame, etc will come easily if you put God first. If you want to know more about how I’ve become this successful, let’s meet in church at the FCR on Thursday by 6 pm. Bless you!! Enjoy!!
ABHPress; Thank you so much for your time, Mr Omitoyin.
Mr Omitoyin; You are welcome, thank you too.