The Press Club. University of Lagos met with Joel Moses Babatunde (JMB), the president of the Social Sciences Student Assosication (SOSSA), for the 2016/2017 session. UNILAG Press Club Correspondent, Olufolarin Ayomide interviewed him and he has this to say.
Can we meet you Sir?
I am Babatunde Joel Moses popularly known as JMB, a 400 level student of the department of Political Sciences, from Kwara State, currently residing in Kaduna State.
Can you briefly tell us why you decided to contest and how this position has affected you?
The vibe to lead didn’t all start in UNILAG, it started from when I was very young. In my primary school, I was a class rep all through, and a prefect in secondary school. I attended a fashion school and a computer school where I was the President. And when I got to UNILAG, the drive continued and I was first the vice president of SOSSA, so as to gain experience before I served as the president.
It is not something I was pushed to do; I’m actually fulfilling one of the dreams I had since I was admitted into the University.
Have you been able to achieve all your aspirations in this office?
We can only try our best, we cannot do it all. SOSSA might mean Social Science Students Association to the entire populace of SOSSA, but to us SOSSA means Season welfarism, Open door policy, SOSSA beyond boundaries, SOSSA like never before and Amelioration of students conditions. We would have done more, but we were not able to do anything until after the 9th of March, but even at that, we still organized our fresher’s orientation and fresher’s gig. We used the rest of first semester to plan for second semester, so immediately we resumed second semester, we had our SOSSA debate, and we also organized the SOSSA symposium which gave students the opportunity to question the status quo, SOSSA Sports Festival which was one of the best festivals so far, where we celebrated both team and individual success. This is supposed to be our SOSSA week, but due to some hitches, we were not able to carry out our plans. But we are looking forward to the SOSSA (versant) Conference and we’ll be capping everything up to celebrate our best students with our SOSSA Dinner and Awards .
What are your major challenges?
This life is not a bed of roses. This life is a life full of challenges and everything cannot be achieved on a platter of gold. One of the major challenges we face is funding. Most sponsors do not like to sponsor academic inclined programs.
How much support do you get from departments, departmental heads, lecturers and students of the faculty?
Well, I must really say that I am one of the luckiest Presidents of SOSSA, because I have been getting support from associations under the Faculty of Social Sciences. The only time I may not get support is when we have conflicting programs. The departmental associations are very important and they help to mobilize students.
Since your tenure is almost over, what legacy would you set for the incoming one?
In questions of legacy and humility, I don’t like rating myself. I like it when people give me feedack. But to a very large extent, we have been able to set a particular standard that has not been set before in FSS. I believe we are just starting, with the standard created, I pray that the next set of executives will follow this trend and also do better.
Has your political position in anyway conflicted with your academics?
You cannot be a student leader if you are not smart and intelligent. Fusing academics and politics has not been easy. Sometimes I have to sacrifice some things, like my reading time. I have to read in the night, sometimes few hours to tests and exams, missing classes and all. SOSSA is my addiction. Adding student politics to my academics only tells me that I do not have the luxury of time like others do. I only have to know how to manage my time.
How do you unwind?
Mostly, I go to see the movies or recreation centers.
Some people refer to the Faculty of Social Sciences as the most politically conscious in the University, do you agree with that Sir?
Yes, yes and yes. Even from 100 level, students already understands the politics of SOSSA. Even the most docile ask necessary questions. Other associations within the university, you will always see a social scientist being an executive there. I can say that my Faculty houses the best of best of the articulate, ever conscious, politically oriented students.
So how come the most politically conscious faculty do not have a parliament house, and other lesser conscious faculties house?
As a political science student, I know what separation of power is, checks and balances and all. We were supposed to institutionalize the house, but due to some delays and beyond the executives’ control, I tried my best to ensure to make sure that the house is re-instituted. I will ensure that by next administration, we will have a full house.
How do you carry other leaders at class level with your development plans?
Mostly through their departmental heads, or usually through committees that will include students from all classes and departments.
Where do you see yourself after this? Do you ever wish to be involved in politics again?
Yes, and yes, I will like to go into politics fully, as well as having my own business.
So far have you had any good and bad moments? Please share them.
The worse moment I ever had was when we were planning for the convocation, and the Dean said he doesn’t want canopy in the faculty, at this time, we had already mounted the canopies, then we removed them and after pleadings and negotiations, he then agreed that we put the canopies there. That caused us another stress and it was not funny at all. It caused me sleepless nights.
Why was the SOSSA week cancelled sir?
Due to some control issues from the management, I cannot say it has been fully cancelled, but by this evening, we will get a confirmation from the DSA. Though there were some faults from our own part, we didn’t inform him about the order of program. He wanted the program to be in line with academics, but we set the order to be a platform for student’s talent to be appreciated, like singing, dancing and all.
How do you intend to make it up to the students?
Through our conference and dinner/awards. We plan to have the best dinner and awards where alumni will be meeting students and issues of life after school will be discussed particularly with our final year students.
We will like you to rate your tenure so far, sir, over 100
I do not like it when I am being asked to rate myself, because there might be some elements of being bias, or over shooting. I like it when others rate me. But so far so good I will give myself a 60 over 100, but I can say to you that you can come back when my tenure is about to end, then I believe we would have done better and improved.
What advice do you have to other ambitious aspirants?
If you want to serve as an executive in SOSSA, don’t come with the intention of making money, because it is not an avenue of making money, come with the intention that you want to serve.