By my count, it is now more than a week since we elected a new set of students—now honorables–to occupy and act based on the purpose of establishing the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) chamber of our dear Union. While some of us were congratulating the winners, in the often non-competitive election, it struck us that quicker than expected, ‘the powers that be’ had arranged for the handing over ceremony which came suddenly and surprisingly, without the knowledge of those who were supposed to hand over power.
It is based on this that the ‘post handing-over analysts’ have concluded that the event was a power-giving ceremony, as against what was expected. Well, I agree with them to an extent, since it was at the event that Speaker of the SRC, Onifade Bello (since we are yet to have a new speaker), was ‘given powers’ to become the Acting President; it was at the event that new President of the Union gave ‘powers’ to the ladies to use hotplate in their kitchenettes; and it was at the event that the Vice Chancellor gave ‘powers’ to the Union to lock the gate at will. Indeed, it was a ‘power giving’ ceremony, but in summary the members of the 7th assembly were officially announced.
It remains an uncontroversial fact that the legislative body in every organisation, union or society performs a major role in the development of such setting in which it operates. Majorly, they make policies which help to enhance the security, welfare and other issues which affect those they represent.
They perform oversight functions, which has helped in checking excesses and irregularities, curbing corruption, enhancing discipline and has successfully kept several executive council members on their toes. It is therefore a thing of joy to see this important organ operating at the level of our departments, faculties, halls of residence and the Students’ Union—where it is regarded the SRC.
However, the purpose of this article is neither to shower praises on the SRC or its junior ones, nor to condemn them. Definitely not. This piece is aimed at addressing an issue which I have observed as an observer of several legislative sittings, to be a common feature of legislative arms within the University of Ibadan. I intend to use the SRC as a leading example.
In most cases, the SRC meets to address several issues within the confines of the Students’ Union and the University at large. At the commencement of the sitting, the honorables are energetic to deliberate on matters, but by the time the agenda is getting towards major issues, fatigue sets in, they start getting tired, you see them moving in and out, those nearby might even go to their Halls and do few things before returning to the sitting. As a human, it is normal. To feel tired and to experience fatigue especially when sitting in a position for long is a common feature of most individuals. Several controllable and uncontrollable factors are responsible for this. One of these controllable factors is the act of some honorables acting as filibusters.
A filibuster is one who adopts a delaying tactic, especially through the use of long, often irrelevant speeches given in order to delay progress or the making of a decision. While I do not support becoming a full “Yah” or “Nay” member of the House, I am also not in support of some members of the SRC becoming hindrance to the progress of the Council.
Although, we might argue that it is good for the purpose of making better decision, but in a case where it is often unnecessary, where it leads to repetition, where what is to be said has been said and where there are other important issue to address, it is totally unwise to act as a filibuster in such case.
For the effect of this is the adjournment of other important unaddressed issue, contributing to the level of fatigue of other members and the total hindrance of progress. I must admit that it is natural for some people to talk much or too much, as the case may be, but we must also understand that the shorter your argument, the more time it saves, the clearer it is for other members to understand your stance, and the better it is also for the progress of the council.
The Speaker of the SRC, Rt. Hon. Onifade Bello, has been trying in this regards as he has always used his position to diplomatically inform filibusters in the House of their need to summarise their argument, especially in a case where other cogent agenda are yet to be discussed. This, I would recommend for every Speaker who preside over any legislative sitting at the level of the department, faculty, Hall of residence or for the new leadership of the SRC.
Since the in-house election of the SRC is expected to hold on Saturday (20-05-17), I must use this medium to admonish members of the House to adopt objectivity over every form of affiliation, alliance or loyalty–of course, except to the Union–while they vote for the emergence of a new set of principal officers. Aside from that, it is good to talk while contributing to the making of proper decisions, but I urge you to adopt brevity for the sake of fatigue, time and the overall progress of the Council.
I repeat, be not a filibuster.