The Devil You Know…


It is that time of the year when electoral bans come down, and posters of aspirants go up. Press organizations everywhere hold their breaths in apprehension of what the future holds for Halls, Departments, and the Student Union.

Since the ban was lifted about 2 weeks ago, we have been introduced to two contestants for the post of the Alexander Brown Hall Chairperson. This is a welcome change, in contrast to last year where Brownites’ only choice was Mr Jesufemi Adeyeye.

However, while we admittedly have more options this year, Brownites perhaps also have even more things to worry about. Brownites are left with a choice between electing a head whose lack of history contesting in a primary ABH election might be indicator of a weak political will, or voting in one who has contested so many times that one has to wonder just how many positions one person can reasonably effectively serve in at a given time. Brownites are, in my esteem opinion, stuck between a rock and a hard place; the devil they don’t know vs the devil they know.

A Fine Multitasker?

To kick off, let’s take a look at the first aspirant to announce his candidacy, Mr Uzor Uchechukwu (Davhey). Mr Uzor is a 500 level Dental student who has managed to amass quite an impressive history of service in various organisations ranging from the UCH Students’ Association (USA) – He’s been suspended, but let’s leave that out for now – to the Nigerian Association of Dental Students (NADS), the ABH Executive Council, Hamstrings Club and The Forum, amongst others. The list is seemingly endless. While one is forced to wonder where he finds the time despite the exacting schedule medical school demands, a closer examination may reveal that he may not in fact, have found the time.

Mr. Uzor holds a lot of memberships, with not much activity. There have been talks about his lack of commitment to organizations to which he pledged his service. Talks which have called for an investigation. After all, we are familiar with the doctrine that there is no smoke without fire.


As Health and Sanitation Minister…

Mr Uzor did take some important things seriously.  For instance, we will recall that earlier in the tenure, water was made available to more floors, more frequently than we have had in years post the-exercise-that-shall-not-be-named. Even D block, infamous for lacking water for 2 consecutive tenures, miraculously had its pipes running again. Although some may say that D Block was simply overthrown by E Block in the field of lacking water, one must commend Mr Uzor and his team for their efforts in proving to Brownites and to his predecessor – Mr Jesufemi Adeyeye, the current Hall Chair, that pumping water more than once a day was not quite an impossible task, and even more interestingly, that it didn’t spoil the pumping machine.

One must also not forget the provision of waste bins on floors and strategic places within the hall, such as cafeterias, sport areas and TV Room. He also brought a nice initiative to life by teaching Brownites how to sort their trash. An initiative that was especially  productive in its initial phase. After all, one should applaud when necessary.

However, there is need to question Mr Uzor’s ability to see projects to the end, as well as continuity. The tenacity and drive with which the waste management project was started continued to wane as the tenure progressed. We started with ginger and over time, the rules of sorting began to blur. We are also barely informed about what happens to the recyclables, as this information can help serve as reminders and a motivating factor for people to continue in this vein. Do the plastic bottles become zobo or kunu bottles? Or do they get transferred to a recycling company? A new set of clinical students just crossed to this side, and no information has been passed to educate them on sorting their waste. A task that interestingly falls under the collective purview of the two current Hall Chair aspirants, but I digress.

Also, for someone who many consider as all smoke and no fire, if there is one thing Mr Uzor is good at, it is ignoring smoke. A quick look at the dark films, otherwise called chest x-rays of the occupants of the male BQs and G-block may ironically shed more light. Brownites living in these quarters have been forced to endure the constant air pollution courtesy of the incinerator that burns away our solid wastes. Of course, we had all rejoiced at the commissioning of the incinerator – a huge improvement from the eyesore of a dumpsite we used to have. But it took the launching of the incinerator to make us realize that we were getting improved sanitation at the cost of our lungs. And even if one did not study Economics, one can still surmise that it is too great an opportunity cost. Yet, our Health and Sanitation Minister has not deemed it a problem worth solving yet.

Still in the spirit of recalling, let us cast our minds back again to the “rat extermination” exercise that held earlier in the tenure. The human occupants were sent home with the exception of select members of the executive council and floor representatives. And when we returned, it was a real case of back like we never left, as we had human and non-human occupants alike return in their numbers with not a single one amiss. In fact, some rodents moved homes in that period, christening rooms that had been previously unoccupied.


As everything else…

Back to the matter at hand though, Mr Uzor is a definitely an interesting candidate in terms of positions held. I cannot go into detail about Mr Uzor’s portfolio but summarily, I can objectively say that it is astounding unless of course, you look closely. And it does appear that Mr Uzor may be operating on the assumption that Brownites won’t or have somehow developed hypermetropia since the ban was lifted. In his defense, it is not such a far-fetched notion when you consider the fact that refractive error is a leading cause of visual impairment globally, but again, I digress. Majority of Brownites are largely unaware that Mr Uzor was kicked out of Hamstrings Club for absenteeism from major and minor club activities. It has been said that he also did not deign to present himself at the first disciplinary hearing of his case.

Similarly, even less Brownites are aware of the fact that Mr Uzor has pending disciplinary issues with The Forum on account of consecutive missed presentations and failure to meet deadlines. It is one thing to be a jack of all trades, and it is a very separate matter to be a master of any. Well, at the very least, Mr Uzor is a master of adding his names to organisations’ registries. We unfortunately cannot say the same for his work ethic and commitment if the foregoing are anything to go by.

Regardless, whatever Mr Uzor may lack in terms of contributions to these organisations, he makes up for in communication. If we do not know much about his service, at the very least, we can be sure that he will keep us abreast of happenings. If you take a look at his work in USA, you would find that for every major negative event the community experienced, there was a USA letterhead addressing Brownites’ concerns about it, with the connotation that the association in some way aided in resolving the situation. Similarly, he has always been quick to send series of broadcast messages as Health and Sanitation Minister to explain issues that arise. If communication is key, one can consider Mr Uzor a locksmith. A laudable quality if one didn’t sometimes feel like he says so much, but means so little.


In conclusion, this electoral season is shaping up to be quite an interesting one. The aspirants are so clearly doing their absolute best to simulate the candidates we had to choose from during the national presidential elections and it is honestly commendable the lengths they are willing to go to make ABH a microcosm of the nation. On one hand we have Mr Uzor, the devil we very well know and on the other, we have Mr Ayotunde Oni, the devil we know little about (or perhaps used to know little about).

Brownites have a choice to make…The devil you know, or the devil you barely know? Perhaps we will unveil the better devil at the Press and Manifesto Nights. Until then, we shall continue to watch closely as the events of this electoral season unfold.

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