They say first impression matters and last long but the chat with the president of ULADS proves that first impression shouldn’t make a deep impression. The correspondents of The Press Club UNILAG; JUNAID SALAMAH AND IRUOMA OSONWA met with the ULADS president for the first time to talk about the Association.
GOOD DAY SIR, CAN YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
I am JINADU TAIWO HASSAN, 600L Dental Student University of Lagos and current President of the University of Lagos Association of Dental Students(ULADS).
SO TELL US ABOUT ULADS
It is an association that is majorly concerned about the welfare of her students, which comprises of 200level – 600level dental students. I can’t really ascertain the exact date ULADS came into existence because it was formerly known as NADS (National Association of Dental Students), as UNILAG dental school was the first dental school in Nigeria, and then after a while ULADS was carved out of NADS as NADS became the national student body for all dental schools.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND VYING FOR THE POSITION OF PRESIDENT?
It was more of seeing an opportunity available, because honestly, I never saw myself doing this but I should say my twin brother was my inspiration. I saw that since he was bold enough to do something big like being the President of LAMSA (Lagos Medical Students’ Association), then I could too, so I followed his steps.
WERE YOU OPPOSED?
WHAT OTHER POSTS HAVE YOU HELD/SERVICES RENDERED AS A STUDENT?
No other posts, but last year I was a committee member for the awareness and dinner program for the ULADS week but before then I was just a regular Uladite. Then as a student I have been a volunteer for the save a child initiative group.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE?
Errmm. I think it’s “what is meant to happen it would happen”. My belief is based on this and that’s why I am calm, don’t rush things and don’t panic.
SINCE YOU SAW THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY WHAT WERE YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
I didn’t have anything in mind actually, before I actually decided to run for presidency, I met with the out-going president since we both had similar records of not having served before in the association, so I wanted to know how it was. Also, I was scared about being picked on by lecturers in dental school due to the popularity of my post but she allayed my fears and reassured me. Also I met with the past senate president (Deolu, 600l) who is one of the people that actually pushed me and reassured me that I could actually do it and he promised to be there to help at all times. So I didn’t really have any expectations.
WHAT ARE YOUR ACHEIVEMENTS SINCE YOUR TENURE STARTED?
We have been able to work well with dental school and we had very huge World Oral Health Day (CODEH) which involved free treatment for students, also an orientation program for Freshers, fresher’s welcome party, tutorials.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU HAVE ENCOUNTERED SO FAR?
Everything hasn’t been rosy like our plans not going as planned, for instance the fresher’s orientation program was to start by 1, with the attendance of the Dean but the students couldn’t come by 1pm due to delay from their physiology practical class and this offset the Dean because she had come to the venue thrice without meeting anyone so she cancelled coming again, but eventually luck smiled on us as we got a professor and three other speakers to talk at the event, also raising funds has been another major challenge.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR ULADS?
We plan to make ULADS better than we met it, improve the conditions of things like we want to secure a space for our secretariat, ULADS is one of the oldest association in this school and yet we don’t have our own secretariat, I think having a secretariat would improve the welfare of the students and this kind of meeting could have been done in the secretariat if we had one.
WHERE DO YOU SEE ULADS IN 5YEARS TIME?
5 years’ time? I don’t think it’s what I want to see in ULADS, it’s what I want to see in dentistry in Nigeria, in 5 years’ time dentistry should be bigger in Nigeria, because it would improve the study of dentistry and the experience students have because right now patient flow in dental school has been a huge problem such that students have to look for their own patients in order to get procedures done, so it’s not only about ULADS its about dentistry in Nigeria.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP STATUS?
I am single
SINGLE WITH AN UNOFFICIAL GIRLFRIEND? OR WITH A CRUSH?
I am single with nothing attached… LAUGHS
ASIDES ULADS, WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE GOING ON?
And I volunteer sometimes for NGOS, I sew, mainly male clothes though. Currently I am not really sure about practicing dentistry so I try to partake in other things outside of dentistry.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN/LEISURE?
I play video games, I read sometimes, novels and anything I can get to learn from. Then once in a while I play chess.
DENTAL SCHOOL IS SAID TO BE VERY STRESSFUL, SO HOW DO YOU JUGGLE BETWEEN BEING A DENTAL STUDENT AND PLAYING YOUR ROLE AS PRESIDENT?
Well I don’t know, I honestly think it’s my executives, they are the best, they make the work very simple and communication is great.
SO CAN WE SAY YOU GUYS HAVE GREAT TEAM WORK?
LOOKING BACK AT ALL YOU SAID IN YOUR MANIFESTO, RATE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS ON A SCALE OF 1-0.
It’s a work in progress and I can’t really judge but I would rate myself a 4/10 reason is I haven’t been very much around, I have been busy with my professional exams, then my exams but now I got it all cleared and I think I am very prepared for ULADS now.
WHAT MORE SHOULD THE DEPARTMENT WATCH OUT FOR BEFORE YOUR TENURE IS OVER?
An awesome ULADS WEEK!!!
DO WE GET FREE DINNER TICKET…? LAUGHS
LAUGHS we will put it in consideration.
OK SO WHAT OTHER THINGS?
Then our upcoming sports week. Also I plan on building a stronger relationship with ULADITES.
ANY COLLABORATION WITH ANY OTHER DEPARTMENTS, FACULTY, SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL MANAGEMENT.
For now none, but we might have in future.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ABOUT THE MANAGEMENT, THE NEW RULES THAT KEEPS POPPING UP DAILY AND HOW IT AFFECTS THE STUDENTS?
I think some of the rules are too strict and very unfair, because it is really affecting our relationship with the faculty. *Laughs* I really don’t want to comment on this.
SINCE THIS IS YOUR FIRST SHOT AT POLITICS AND LEADERSHIP, WOULD YOU WANT TO CONTINUE AFTER SCHOOL?
These things are not really planned but I think if I see an opportunity. Basically like I said earlier, if it’s meant to happen it would happen.
SO IF YOU GOT AN OPPORTUNITY, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO CHANGE ABOUT LEADERSHIP IN NIGERIA?
I think the only thing I would like to change is corruption
IN YOUR OPINION, IS PRESIDENT BUHARI NOT TACKLING CORRUPTION?
“If I hear”, I think he is only attacking the opposition and not the people on his team.
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I am not a snob, like you guys thought I was before we finally met, I am just a quiet person. I am also an easy going person. Nothing else
ON A LAST NOTE WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE FOR ASPIRING STUDENTS LEADERS?
Okay! anybody that is aspiring a leadership position should just know that everything you plan would not go as planned every time, so just expect the unexpected. And a student leader needs to be a very calm person.