An Interview Session With Ojo Aderemi (Erstwhile Students Union President,University Of Ibadan,Nigeria).

An Interview Session With Ojo Aderemi (Erstwhile Students Union President,University Of Ibadan,Nigeria).

(1)    Who is Ojo Aderemi?

Ojo, Aderemi [Aderemi Ojo] born on 8th July, 1994 is a Nigerian political activist, author, editor, speaker and writer. He is a student of the Department of History and the erstwhile Students Union President at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

(2)  Can you briefly describe your childhood experience?

I was born in the early years of Sanni Abacha's rule of tyranny and  repression. The "hope" of the Hope '93 mantra of M. K. O. Abiola was soon smashed by the change in the tendencies of the dictator after he was allowed the space to consolidate power.

Much of the discussions between my parents and other people was shaped along that line and I did a lot of eavesdropping. I believe I learned, faster than my colleagues and peers about national life and politics. My parents -a policeman and a nurse -made special rules banning me from having access to life outside our compound. At times the rules restricted my life to the perimeters of the house. During my incarceration, I read as much as I could lay my hands on from the bookshelf in my father's room and other places within the house.

I seldomly played rough but particularly not stubborn. I didn't have many friends too. I told many stories and stood out as a student of literature and English but I failed terribly at mathematics.  I failed mathematics at ordinary level four times before I finally got an A in the fifth attempt. I wrote JAMB five times too and passed but I  was told that mathematics was required for admissions into any course of your choice in Nigeria. It was at the point of clearance that I realized that my first result could have put me in the same course I am studying.

However, during those years, I learned a lot and grew. I busied myself with books and online articles. I probably read as much as I would have in the University during the period between my passing out of secondary school and entering the University of Ibadan.

(3)  Where did you attend your primary school education?

In several places: I started at Crown Institute on Fatoyinbo Street, Gbekuba, Apata area in Ibadan and later left the school to spend a year at Evergreen Model School before returning to Crown Institute.

(4)   Where did you attend your secondary school education?

Two schools; Genius Royal Academy between 2004 and 2008 and I enrolled at Government College Ibadan in September 2009 from where I graduated in 2010.

 (5)   What's your like and dislike?

I really, really appreciate truth and honesty. I don't like lying or indiscipline.

(6) How was your experience when you were given the opportunity to act as the Students Union President of University of Ibadan,Nigeria?

It was a good experience. Filled with so much stress that I could hardly say I had rest at all. I was as busy as a bee with academic work joining the stress of office. Sometimes I stayed up all night or converted the office table to a bed and took a nap only to be woken up by the call of duty in some troubled areas -or the reminder of an uncompleted task. I did enjoy the strenuous life and now I recommend it for young people. I have learned how systems work both for good and for bad.

I am interested in open government. The people must be the custodians of power and that's why I carried them along in all the decisions I made. It's a union and not a military regiment.

I also now understand better what it means to be an ambassador for anti-corruption. It is hard to be that in a country where even the air we breath is possibly filled with corruption. Staying sane requires unwavering conviction.
I think the Students Union has taught me what it is to be a leader in Nigeria, theoretically and practically.

(7)  What's your course of study in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria?

History; world history.

(8)  What's your take on the Nigeria's challenges and the ways forward?

First, we lack the political will to act on problems. The need for political will amongst Nigerian leaders is dire. There has to be that leader who would take the bull by the the horns. Nigeria needs an activist president that will break the stranglehold of shrewed politicians who know nothing beyond power and accumulation of wealth at the expense of the Nigerian public. It is then that the fight against corruption will make sense.

Second, Nigeria is too young for the removal of social support systems. We blame it on lack of money. Whereas billions -dollars- take flight from the system. It is only when you talk about a better life for the people that Nigerian leaders respond with cries about shortage of money. That's not true.

Third, I think people should start demanding for good governance from those who lead them from the community level up to the central government. The people should start demanding to know what is coming in and how much is going out. This will help to take into account the yearnings of the people. Financially, the country is rich but we keep recycling the old and tired politicians.

Four. I think we should, by affirmative action, balance the ratio of participation between old people in government and younger people. I believe younger people, armed with the correct knowledge of governance and development, will do better in leadership.

Five. Nigerians must become interested in the political climate of Nigeria. Otherwise, the problem will persist.

Six. Nigerians should behave the way they want the country to be. The laws should be enforced but with public scrutiny. The policies should fight crime really. But I counsel that we should fight crimes from the sources.

And seven. I think young Nigerians who would like to be leaders should start training their minds for it. Many leaders that Nigeria has had were overwhelmed by the stress and unforseen realities of office.

 (9)Tell us the secret to success and recognition

There is no secret, it is just the peculiarities of your person that determines your future. It is a process of sacrifice; of time and pleasure. Many people did not get the idea and simply wasted their years. I like Pa Awolowo's wisdom embedded in his reflection on the advantage he had over his colleagues; while they were spending time in the company of prostitutes and beer joints, he was busy think solutions to the problems confronting his politics, his people and his government. Self-denial is the first key.

Then, success is predicted on knowledge and conviction. You must have what you stand for. You must be committed to your principles. I can hardly conceive of success without conviction. Life is hard, it is harder when you don't have a goal. Very important too is the humility of asking questions. No one was born with a map for her future, his future.Therefore, you must ask questions.
Truth is scarce and if you can brave the storms, you will achieve recognition. Perhaps it is different for others but I became recognized by the way of telling the truth. It has a long term advantage.

 (10)  What's your greatest achievement as a Students Union President of University of Ibadan, Nigeria?

I got the administration to become more student friendly. Even if there are hiccups and extreme cases, students votes now count. I believe the biggest screw in progress is the dialogue between generations. If a side has become too egotistic, force should be applied to bring it to the table. Students are much more respected and that's dignifying. It is the missing recipe for the new nation. Young people must have a space to talk. The future generations can cleanse it completely.

 (11)  What's your philosophy about life?

Total and complete allegiance to God.

A sense of justice. I can't conceive of a good life with justice absent.
Then I have great pity for the poor suffering millions. It's my life's project to pull as many as possible from poverty. Humans are beautiful beings who have managed to get this far with civilisation. We have reached the outer space and explored it, how come we have no helped more millions out of poverty?

(12)  What's your favourite outfit?

Suits. But during hot times, I like traditional dresses.

(13)  What's the future of  the Students Union in the Nigeria's university?

I think that would depend on the character of the leaders, the educational system and response of the government to the chronic shortage of funding for that sector. The behavior of the earliest generations was calmer but the moment the public utilities and services which was previously enjoyed began to deplete and disappear, an epochal struggle for survival on the campuses began. Protests and sometimes, violent protests. I can't predict a future with a better focus than survival first. That will depend on the interest of the government in education. Without mixing the word, the Nigerian government's apathy to education is grotesque. It is sickening. So unsafe for the future. Education is important to all people of all generations. Yet, here is a government that is unserious about the proper training of young people.
So I can't predict the future. I know things will improve, there will be a lot focus on taking our rightful place in the world but we can't ignore the realities.

(14)  How can politics be better for it on their citizenry?

Good people must participate. Period! Nigeria's political terrain is rough and dirty. I think we can make it saner when Good people join in. It is a game of numbers: how many good people do we have compared to bad people? Whatever the answer is should be our focus. The grassroots must feel the influx of good minds in the parties.

Then, I think we should promote intelligent debates to change the focus of politics from the usual jamboree to the quality of candidates. I am a die-hard adherent to democracy and I respect choice.

(15)  What's your favourite dish?

I like to have my Amala with Gbegiri and Ewedu, complete with chevon or cabrito. It is a serious matter.

(16)  What's your take on the University of Ibadan politics?

Well I think it's improving. Very matured. You don't get the bitter vibes as often as you do in other places. I believe it will improve in quality as time passes.

(17)  What's your view on having a first class honorary degree compare to personal development alongside your academic pursuit?

I am not a fan of having a first class at the detriment of personal development. It is a big costly mistake to make. While bearing in mind that there are those who are beneficiaries of the genetic lottery and I have friends like that, I will prefer to sacrifice a first class for personal development. The scope of a first class candidate is limited to his field, versatility is a product of personal development. You can have a first class and not know how to apply it.

Personal development, helped by academic achievements is the future of the world.

Thanks for the reading pleasure!

Note: Thank God for the success of this interview and many more.All glory and honour belong to him alone.

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Eminent thinker of our time©grace of God

Photo Album of Ojo Aderemi
(Erstwhile Students Union President,University of Ibadan,Nigeria)

Front page image of magazine of the global leadership network.

As an SDG lecturer,GPS,University of Ibadan.

As lecturer on SDG grassroots mobilisation at the polytechnic Ibadan.

As host of the serious questions series at Geoffrey Axworthy practical Theatre,University of Ibadan.

Neca house.

As panelist at the Nigerian colloquium on shrinking media space in Nigeria ,Neca House,Lagos.

As panelist at the Nigeria Youth internet Forum,July 2019.

As panelist at the Nigerian Youth internet  Forum,July 2019.

As host and co-convener of the global leadership network, Ibadan,Nigeria in 2018.

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