By Archibong Jeremiah
The Students Union Government President of University of Calabar, UNICAL, Comrade Ajang Emmanuel Junior of Law Department, year three in an exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch has condemned the extra judicial killing of 6 young men in April this year out of whom one was a 3rd year student in the institution’s Department of Accounting. Derek Maurice Ben and five others were killed by a gang of 14 police officers attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS in Calabar and Mr. Ajang promised to re-launch investigation into the matter and wondered why his institution’s management is keeping quite.
How do you feel about the case of extra judicial killings by police involving one of your students?
It’s pathetic that we come from a society that people are not brought to book, where people set laws of conduct and don’t go by them, it’s shameful. I feel bad when I Iook at our present judicial system as a law student, I urge you guys to keep up the good fight one day justice will prevail.
What is your take on extra judicial killings generally?
Extra judicial killings is against the law, section 36 of our Constitution of 1999 as amended gives everybody the right to fair hearing, extra judicial killing is against the law and God, offenders should be punished.
Your institution has not openly come out to disown or accept the allegations that the anatomy department of your school is involved in buying bodies of victims of these killings nor have they instituted any internal investigation with a view to dealing with illegal dealers of dead bodies. Is that an acceptance of guilt?
I actually did not know that the person involved is a student of this institution, I need more time to look into the matter, we will launch our own independent investigation Injury to one is injury to all, solidarity is the watch word, like I said I represent the interest of the students.
It’s barely a month since you were sworn into office, how do you feel?
My feelings are mixed but above all it is a call to responsibility. Like it is said that to whom much is given much is expected, I am just trying to suck the pressure and challenges and meet the students demands, so far so good, we are trying.
What is your agenda for your one academic year administration?
The essence of students unionism as said over and over again is to protect the interest of students, to provide the students with a voice that speaks on their behalf, to represent them as a middle man between them and the management on the other hand to convey their problems to the school administration and vice versa. My agenda is centered around the welfare of students but subsumed in 4 bullet points namely, first on the list is consolidating the gains of my predecessor’s administration, they spearheaded many useful capital projects like the renovation of hostels which one is still ongoing, they facilitated the installation of solar power street lights around the campus, they also succeeded in maintaining peace amongst the campus occupants: between staffs and students. There was nothing like riot or major cult clash, which made the campus peaceful. The modus of consolidating on those gains is through a firm maintenance culture and that I will do.
Secondly on my agenda is to bridge the gap between the students and management of the University, I intend to do this by organizing periodically town hall meetings where the VC and other top heads in the University will be in attendance, the students will have the chance to tell the management their problems directly and same to management.
Thirdly, I will pay keen attention to making learning more conducive through improved learning environment, thorough renovation of some lecture halls and sits, provision of more public address system.
Lastly, I will also pay grave attention to the epileptic transportation system on campus where the present system is from main gate to the new library only and they work from 6am to 5pm. On my agenda I will extend the transportation scheme to the hostels where its time of operation will be from 6am to 10pm.
How do you intend to achieve these and other goals?
I strongly believe in the power of negotiation, I will table the problems of students to management through the most diplomatic way possible for tangible results; I will use my official persuasive power to make them see the need for these upgrade and ensure we build confidence and trust which I believe the management will oblige.
What are some of the official short comings of your predecessor’s administration?
In as much as they have achieved so much, there are few short comings like the gap between students and management they have not really succeeded in bridging that I have as a key project in my administration which is my agenda number 2, I give them 75% on scale.
From what we see today in unionism in the state and around the country, people tend to believe that all students union leaders aspire only to enrich their pockets in line with the new policy of stomach infrastructure, what is your take on that?
That is true, you know money is important because even to get into office you spend money so it is natural for people to believe that coming in is to make part of that money but in as much as I know that I will make money from the office legally, I also know and preach that I am not driven by that and no one should. This is not the end, we are here to fine tune ourselves for future leadership roles, it is not everything we learn in the class room, as a person I see this as an opportunity of developing myself.
What are the challenges you have foreshadowed for your administration?
The challenges are centered around finance, these are also challenges that have been faced by persons that served before me, in most cases an interesting project can be killed by lack of finance, outside that there is none.
When coming while we were driving, I observed that you are greatly attracted to females, how will you handle advances from them?
There is this conceived believe that all SUG Presidents are womanizers because you get serious pressure from women, and I’m already having them. But I keep telling myself that whatever comes I shall overcome it because my mind is prepared for it. Before now I had made the resolution that I won’t fall for such and will maintain high moral standard, if I will have anything to do with anyone it won’t be anyone new but a good girl who is the one I value the most, I won’t call her my girl friend but we are very close, if things go on well we may end up getting married, I knew her before this time and she has been there for me, her name is Isabella Jaja she is the real person not these ones coming now, my predecessor advised me that any girl who is attracted to me now is not real but attracted to the office not me and its true.
Tell us something personal about you that your students don’t know?
I’m a 300 level law students, I was a science student in my secondary school. My parents actually wanted me to study medicine but it got to a point I had to discover myself to be one who will do better as a law student but I diverted during my pre-degree here in UNICAL where I got admission to study law but after writing my O-level again for art subjects and my literature had issues and I was asked to forgo the admission despite the fact that I scored the highest in JAMB for students that applied for law in UNICAL and highest in the post-UTME. After taking new examinations for my O-level and JAMB again I finally got the admission but this time I was preparing to go for who wants to be a millionaire challenge in Lagos state and I went and won one million naira, at age 22 I made my first million.
What is your watch word to your students?
They have to understand that it is more than just thinking of today, its beyond that and what we see today, you need to have a futuristic focus even though some things will try to deter you, keep believing in yourself, motivating yourself and you will achieve your dreams.
follow us on twitter @crossriverwatch
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.