Before You Take SOLACE In Your ZEAL To Contest

If you’re one of the hopefuls to contest for a post at the department, faculty or student union level, I would suggest that you think about what you’re getting yourself into so at least you’re prepared. If you’re thinking on embarking on this social and political suicidal mission, then you’ll have to consider a few things.

I’ll let you know few of the things I learnt when contesting for the post of the Public Relations Officer of Faculty of Environmental Sciences’ Students Association (FESSA) in 2012. This is not a grab-some-popcorn kind of expose or a gossip tale but an honest and bare-knuckled approach to some of the things that you need to know before throwing your hat into the ring.

As you’re aware of the political structures and arrangements in our campus, structured in a way that you either belong or fizzle out. Meanwhile, you need to know that belonging to any of the structures or political organizations doesn’t ascertain your victory in any contest. Relying on your political organization for election victory could spell you defeat if you don’t know your onions and play your cards well.

If you run on the platform of party A, party B will not support you; if you run on the platform of party B, party A will not support you. If you run independently (as I did), you’ll have no party minions to help you campaign but only the few of your friends. You’ll do the moving from classes to lecture halls to canvass for support and votes all alone or with maybe two of your friends and remember you’ll have to quell their thirst for drinks their taste buds craves for.

You may well have a nervous breakdown from the physical and emotional stress of doing it all yourself. I found this to be a pretty effective weight-loss tool though. When running on the platform of a political organization, some people will vote for you just because they belong or support that party, whereas independently you’ll have to rely on your own marketability and showing off your own unique personality.

Thus, before you do all of this, putting yourself through the stress, you should ask yourself why you’re actually running. If you’re trying to boost your CV, trust me that the extra 10% on your GPA you’ll get by investing the time into your academics will impress employers a lot more.

If you’re after the perks, know that the free cookies after meetings aren’t that great. Though meeting hotshot politicians and VIPs provides great material for Facebook profile pictures and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) display pictures (DP). Just like a friend wouldn’t let us have our peace with his needless tagging of photo-uploads and serial changing of DP when he was fortunate enough to take some snapshots with a public office holder in the State. But I digress!

If you’re looking for status, realize that the average Ladokites cares a lot more about the hot guy/girl in their department, dinner and awards nights, and examinations than they do about you and your position. And a year later, when no-one knows your name, you’ll have to blow your trumpet, write article(s) just to remind everyone that once upon a time you held a post. Like Hon. “O” does; meet him anywhere- in the school premises, on the streets of Under G or Adenike, he would never forget to remind you: “I once represented my department as an SRC, I was the Speaker of my Faculty House of Parliament and same time the General Secretary of my indigenous association”, bla…bla…bla. But I digress!

If you actually want to make a great impact, then that’s great. Once elected, the first phase of the struggle starts from the house ratification of your budget which will somehow be politicized and engulfed in the most over-dramatic, inter-party warfare which will consume most of the time you’ve planned to set sailing. Also, realize that most of your amazing ideas will be quashed by bureaucracy and administrative nightmares; not to mention total laziness and lack of co-operation from those members who ran for the wrong reasons.

I realize I sound outrageously cynical, but the truth is that I don’t regret my time as P.R.O of FESSA at all. I learnt so much and I wouldn’t want to deter anyone from running. I would suggest that you think about what you’re getting yourself into so at least you’re prepared. That way you can’t complain when your mates are in lecture halls receiving lectures, but you’re stuck in a meeting discussing how to do things beneficial to those keenly attending to their primary assignments; or when it’s Friday night and all your friends are out jollying, but you’re stuck in a meeting discussing how to please those jollying, partying and frolicking to no end.

Oluwatomilola Boyinde, TOMINIGERIA, Former P.R.O, Faculty of Environmental Sciences’ Students Association (FESSA); P.R.O, Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ), LAUTECH. [email protected] , @TomiNigeria, 08032434218, 2AF2EB9D.

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Articles by Oluwatomilola Boyinde