After some allegations were filled against Comrade Oluwafemi Adegbeyeni, also known as Barryfem, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the AAUA Student Union, AAUA INSIDER took it as a point of duty to hear his own side of the story. In an exclusive interview with Comrade Barryfem he shared his challenges and achievements so far in office. Excerpts…
Can we meet you?
My name is Comrade Oluwafemi Adegbeyeni, politically known as Barryfem, a 300 level Law student of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko. Also the student union public relation officer, the number four student of AAUA.
Tell us more about yourself; especially other things you are into.
I am a writer; I have books I have written but has not been published due to lack of funds, I am also a chanter and a public speaker; a motivator to be precise.
How has it being managing the affair of the union?
Well, it has being so demanding, one of the busiest office in the union after the office of the President is the office of the PRO. According to the Student Union constitution Section 33 says, ‘He (PRO) shall be image maker (it can be a big task to create of good image of something), He shall be in charge of disseminating information, He shall be the Public Relation Officer of the Union, He shall manage the notice board, how journals and newspapers are procured.’ I am performing duties incidental to the office and in performing these duties I have had challenges from students that needs to be solved. For instance, directing students to the appropriate quarters and by the grace of God we have been able to expand the scope of information and have course to bring more student closer to the union and we solve issue for them.
Due to your department, how are you able to combine politics and your academics?
Let me say that all departments are demanding but Law faculty is very demanding and if you are not the type that read a lot, you will be distracted or should I say “you will do yourself”. I try to balance things up by having a good time schedule; during holidays or break from school activities I cover all my Law courses, so when I attend the classes I already have an idea of what will be taught. What I do mostly when I am free is to read during school days or hours. I am always busy with students work. I do not have the time a normal student has, sometimes I do not sleep. I always try my best not to allow my office duties affect anything. I also do my writings and chanting. Basically, I try to divide my time very well so that nothing is clashing with the other. But there is no way as law student, you will go into unionism (fully or in an active position) and it won’t affect your academics. It will surely reduce your academic productivity.
What is the discipline LAW to you?
When I was in junior secondary school I had this mind set of fighting for the rights of the people and though I lived with a lawyer when I was in senior secondary school, I was influenced by my inner consciousness. I had the mind set of an activist, in fact, I might decide to go into full activism. I chose it for the people even though it is a lucrative profession. The first jamb examination I wrote, I was offered Mass Communication at Rufus Giwa Polythenic, but I declined that it’s either law or nothing. I love the profession for all it is.
Achievement so far as the PRO of the union?
Well, we had problem of expanding the scope of information from the beginning even before this administration, whereas the PRO will have to be passing information through five different WhatsApp groups in other to get through to the student. So, we created different channel for the union; the WhatsApp channel (which is on my personal TV), a telegram channel, I also created board of public relation officer which comprises of all departments and a group comprising of all class representatives (which is one of its kind). All this is for proper dissemination of information. Additionally, we are bringing AAUASU back on air, we have solicited for thirty minutes at AAUA radio and it has been granted, it will be starting as soon as possible. We have also been able to relate with the outside world by informing our students what goes on around the world (international news). So far we can say we have expanded the scope of information and we still have more to do.
What are the challenges you have faced so far?
The PRO office or position is a very large scope, it is unlimited. The main duty of this office is to get information across. For instance, almost all the notable universities has a Students’ Union radio station but ours has stopped functioning for five years now, due to lack of funds Also the union needs an official laptop and an official phone in other to create an official website and official social media account for the Union. The union also needs a public address system. The office needs to be beautiful in other to create a good image of the union. The office is to agitate, to sensitize and expand the scope of information in other to cut through to the student, to achieve this the office needs to be well equipped.
So recently, it was stated that the Nigerian Universities of Education Students Association (NUESA) AAUA chapter, filled an allegation against you through the SU Student Representative Council (SRC) due to what transpired between you and a representative of the Faculty−Peter Pan. What is your own side of the story?
Like I said when I was invited by the SRC, I said “I am not only from Faculty of Law, I am from Social Science, Arts, Science, Agriculture, and Education faculties. What happened was due to provocation. I did not know he was even from the department but due to the opportunity I created (class representative platform) he had the opportunity to meet me there because he is a class representative. He has always been criticizing me since I have being elected saying, I should not be posting information on my WhatsApp status and I should not commercialize my WhatsApp TV channel. The SRC told me to change the name of the TV then and I did. But on this very day, I was so tired and checking my WhatsApp, unpleasant comments by this guy, saying people are saying unpleasant or bad things about me. I told him to forward some of this bad comments to me, which he did by sending a recorded conversation with a lady, who spoke badly about me. He actually used a demeaning word to describe me and I was overly provoked and sent a provocative voice note to him, which he forwarded to his leaders. But I have written an apology letter and the case is settled.
Also, another allegation was levelled against you for commercializing your WhatsApp Status, which ought to serve as a means of disseminating information to the students’ populace. What do you have to say about that?
Before we were elected, I was a public speaker like I said earlier, I have my audience already. The SRC said according to the constitution it is stated that a member of the union shall not collect money on behalf of the union. The number I am using for the TV channel is my personal line, I have being using it before I was elected, so the TV channel was more or less my personal business. But when the SRC looked into the case closely, they decided to give me a union SIM. I was in no way using the office to collect money on behalf of the union.
What support do you need from the students?
Though, we have not rounded up our administration but I can say I have enjoyed support from AAUATites through commendations (not money). My plan was to work with all media channel in AAUA, I have plans to beautify the office in all measures. Well, in anyways the student think they can support the office through prayers and encouragement, they should. I really appreciate their recommendations so far.
What do you wish to say to all AAUATIES?
For my fellow students do not leave your primary assignment for insignificant things. Also, if you have any challenges, consult your union leaders, do not bury yourself under the guise of trend or intimidation. My office is open always and if the female cannot approach the male executives, the vice President office is always available. Student should be free with their executives. Lastly, always look so high for better academic performance and fear God. Thank you all!
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