“I am happy I served in the last administration because I was able to witness the challenges firsthand” -SILAS OKAFOR, Aspirant for the Office of Hall Chairman
In making Brownites know their candidates better and make the right choice come Saturday, Joseph Edun of ABH Press met with Silas Okafor, the second aspirant for the post of the Chairman of Alexander Brown Hal, in exclusive interview. Here are postdated excerpts from the interview.
ABH Press : Can you introduce yourself to Brownites?
Silas : My name is Okafor Silas, I’m a 500 level student studying medicine and surgery, and I’m vying for the post of the hall chairman.
ABH Press : Is there any other thing you want Brownites to know about you?
Silas : I would like them to know that I am capable for the position of hall chairman because l have a dream to serve, and not just me serving….
ABH Press : Mr Okafor, what prompted you to come out to contest for the post of hall chairman?
Silas : Well, right from my clinical days, I’ve always had this inclination to service, most especially in my hall of residence. This has always been right from my 100 level days and then, it is this passion that has made me to build up myself in terms of service and gathering experience and this l believe will be instrumental in making Alexander Brown Hall a better place. It is this for this reason that l have chosen to apply for this post.
ABH Press : You served as the information minister in the last tenure, what changes and innovation did you introduce and implement in the ministry?
Silas : in the information ministry, the new things l did that were not done include the Entrepreneurship Publicity Initiative which involved using ABH social media pages to help Brownites publicise their goods and services. Also, as part of empowering Brownites, we ensured that every job that we had that could be handled by a Brownite was given to them. For example, with the hall publicity, we ensured that the photographer was a Brownite, the graphic designers we used were also Brownites.
ABH Press : Being a member of the last executive tenure, how will you rate the tenure’s performance?
Silas : The last executive tenure, I’ll actually rate it at 7.5, the reason being that there were things that we actually planned to do, but we couldn’t because of shortcomings we did not foresee. As for the ABH Hall Week. I would rate it a 7/10 because we were able to hold all the programs we planned even though we had hitches along the way.
ABH Press : For the last hall week which was the 60th anniversary of the hall, will you say the publicity headed by you was topnotch enough for the Diamond anniversary of the hall?
Silas : With regards to the ABH publicity, first of all, there were issues with paucity of funds. The publicity was not topnotch, it could have been better, we did enough to ensure that Brownites were aware that we had a hall week and they were kept informed with regards to programs going on in the hall but l think that we could have done better. Another problem was the fact that some of the programs that were going to hold didn’t have complete details even days to the program. For example, it’s impossible to release a flyer or broadcast message about the symposium without knowing who the royal father or chairman of the event will be. As far as Brownites are concerned, it will look like publicity committee was not proactive enough but they won’t understand the intricacies involved with other committees themselves with regards to providing us with the information needed. Another example is the variety night. The deal to bring the guest artist was not sealed until the night before he was coming which was Friday and the deal was sealed on Thursday midnight into Friday morning, making it difficult for us to publicise adequately when we’re not sure if we’re bringing somebody. These are things that people don’t understand.
ABH Press : Moving to your plans Mr Okafor, if elected, what are your plans for Brownites?
Silas : I use the acronym SERVICE to accurately capture my 7-point agenda. S stands for Security- making ABH safe for all the occupants and drastically reducing the high level of theft. This we will do in conjunction with Brownites and the security men. E stands for Entrepreneurship for Brownites – continuing the Entrepreneurship Publicity Initiative to publicise Brownites businesses and give as much jobs to Brownites. R is Revenue generation- getting ABH ventures to become effective and involving alumni in capital projects V stands for Visible improvements in the maintenance of facilities in the hall. I stands for increased participation of Brownites in the activities of the hall through collaboration with the departmental leaders C is for Collectiveness or togetherness that is making Brownites more united. The last letter E denotes experienced minds that is, seeking advice from Brownites who are experienced in leadership to run the hall smoothly. Brownites should come en masse for the manifesto where I will share in detail how I plan to achieve all these and make our hall a great one.
ABH Press : Interesting plans Mr Okafor, however how do you plan on surmounting the shortcomings which you said affected the last tenure from affecting you if elected?
Silas : I’m happy that I actually served in the last administration because I was able to witness these challenges firsthand and they gave me an idea of what we would be facing if elected. It is when you are inside that you understand the intricacies behind the problems. Some of the problems we faced in this tenure included the paucity of funds and this can be rectified by starting the tenure with courtesy visits to different people where we acquaint them with our plans and drop our proposals with them. That is something we should have done that we didn’t do effectively.
Secondly, I think we should have written to different alumni sets about some of the capital projects to raise funds for them. I didnt have these ideas then so it wasn’t till the end of the tenure that l realized that this problem of funds is actually a big issue and I asked myself what should we have done, that we didn’t do.
ABH Press: Thank you Mr. Okafor for the plans you have for Brownites. Concerning your last plan, do you mean to get new official advisers among Brownites apart from the ones ABH currently has?
Silas : No, I do not intend to bring any official advisers to the hall. Why? Because if I make the past hall chairman an adviser, after 3 years we might need someone who has a more recent knowledge of the happenings in the hall. For example the problems that they faced 3 years ago are not the problem they are facing now. We may need to have a yearly overturn of the people we make our advisers today. I would actually love the idea of an ex-officio if it would be approved by the house, some one who has served the Hall and can be an ex-officio to the hall. If we can’t have an ex-officio, the burden rests on the executive to gather at least five solid experienced minds and make them, not officials, but standard advisers with vast experience whom they are confident working with.
ABH Press : Looking at ABH and Brownites in general, what do you think and observed is the most important need of Brownites at this moment?
Silas : Truthfully, for different aspects of Brownites we have different personal needs, but I think the most important one that we need to instantly fix is the issue of light in ABH. Now this is important because a lot of exams are going on in ABH, or rather, coming soon. This coming week the 2017 MBBS and BDS class have about 2 exams to write, very soon the 2k15 class will be writing their final exams and the 400 level BMLS class will be writing their professional exams also. So there is a yearning and a need for better power supply in ABH. Fine, we get light many times, but we’re in the rainy season and once rain falls light is gone. I think therefore, the most pressing need right now for a good majority of Brownites is to fix the generator. Let’s be able to assure them that if we enter, we will do our best to ensure that light is fixed. We might even have to go as far as taking money from the hall dues to fix the light problems. It’s totally worth it.
ABH Press : In one sentence Mr Okafor, why should Brownites vote for you as their next hall chairman?
Silas : Brownites should vote for me as their hall chairman because I’m a man with a passion, a man with a desire to bring Brownites together in selfless service, and very importantly, a man with a wealth of experience.
ABH Press : Lastly, what do you want to say to ABH press?
Silas : First of all, I want to appreciate ABH Press for this opportunity to lay out my plans for ABH and I also want to commend the ABH press for it’s activities so far in this tenure especially with the elections and how swiftly they pass information across to us and them to keep up the good work. Thank you.
ABH Press : Thank you so much Mr Okafor for your time.
Silas : You are welcome and thank you also for your time.