IMSU TARGETS CLEANEST UNIVERSITY AWARD – Com. Oguike Arinze …CALLS ON GOVT. TO EQUIP MEDICAL CENTER

Date:

INTERVIEW SESSION OF THE SUG PRESIDENT OF IMO STATE UNIVERSITY OWERRI BY THE CREW MEMBERS OF EVERGREEN NEWSPAPER AND ONLINE MEDIA.

 

EXCERPTS:

 

Can we meet you officially Mr President?

My name is Oguike Arinze Collins, popularly known as “ARISTOTLE” the 2019/2020 Student Union Government President of Imo State University Owerri, from the Department of Micro Industrial/ Micro Biology, A native of Umuaka in Njaba Local Government of Imo State.

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When were you elected as the SUG President of Imo State University?

After so many processes and interviews, the Imo State University community organized one of the best election which was very free and fair on the 26th of August, 2019 that was when I emerged officially and started my administration as the number 1 Student citizen of Imo State University.

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What are the plans and vision of your administration in bettering the lives of the students under your watch?

Thank you very, you know over the years there has been this neglect of students’ voices, as students are always disregarded, as their opinions don’t always count because there are some cartels I may say that run the affairs of the university. So I am running a government that is student-oriented, students-inclusive that means the voice of the students forms the priority of whatever I am doing and that their welfare is better off to produce and get a conducive environment for them. A conducive environment definitely is going to improve the level of education that we have because we cannot learn in a dirty environment. So my administration has been able to make Imo State University the neatest University in Imo State if not South-East in general.  This is because we have been able to make some provisions for some workers to be going around the school to do some cleaning every minute of the day to make sure that the university is on its top gear. All the same, we have also built up security levels in Imo State University, I can’t even remember the last time I heard of theft or collection of a phone at gunpoint as it was the case before. Since my administration kick-started, the welfare of Imo Stars remains my utmost priority.

IMSU TARGETS CLEANEST UNIVERSITY AWARD  – Com. Oguike Arinze  …CALLS ON GOVT. TO EQUIP MEDICAL CENTER
IMSU TARGETS CLEANEST UNIVERSITY AWARD – Com. Oguike Arinze …CALLS ON GOVT. TO EQUIP MEDICAL CENTER

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Most of the Institution in Nigeria is embedded with the problem of cultism; what is your administration doing in curbing them to the barest minimum?

Imo State University is one of the safest places for someone to actually study because right from the onset once you step your leg in the school there is always an orientation organized by school authorities and SUG body about the rules and regulations of the school and intimating the students on what is expected of them to avoid social vices and those vices is not all about cultism alone but other vices like prostitution, cybercrime etc. Cultism has been flushed out of Imo State University. You can ask around and we can’t even mention the last time we had issue about cultism in Imo State University so in this note I will like to thank the School Management and the Chief Security Officer Mr Nwokoma for bringing in some kind of measures and of course in conjunction with the State Union Government to ensure that cultism is curbed out in Imo State University. So any student that is found wanted is expelled because Imo State University has zero-tolerance to anything called cultism and other social vices.

It is adduced that indecent dressing is one of the reasons for sexual harassment in our institutions of high learning, is there an end to these problems?

Yes! There is an end to it. The indecent dressing has actually caused havoc over the years, the female students, in particular, that is actually where the sexual harassment starts from. A female student who doesn’t dress well still insists and sit at the front role of the classroom, where a lecturer is teaching. If that lecturer is someone who cannot control his sexual urge, things like that are bound to happen. But it is not actually like that in my institution because as I mentioned before we have “zero” tolerance to anything that is illegal. Even as you enter through the front gate, extension gate, back gate, there are equipped security men that will send back any student that is found dressing indecently, work around the school environment and you won’t prove me wrong, you will find out that the students of Imo State University are dressing decently if you are found wanting you are sending back to your house to dress properly, but if you don’t have decent attire then sit back at your home perhaps education is not by force.

 

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What are the projects you have at hand if anyhow do you source for resources to implement them?

Actually, one of the problems we have had so far in my administration is resource control because it might interest you to know that over two (2) years, there has not been any Student Union Government in Imo State University so everything wasn’t actually going perfect. It was smoothly three (3) months in my administration but we have been able to gather one or two things. Talking about the project we have at hand, we have this initiative that we have brought to actually give the school a face-lift as soon as the exams are over, we are going to renovate the school extension gate just to give the institution a face-lift and we actually want to reconstruct the basketball court and these things will eventually bring our students back closely to sporting activities because that is one thing that has been flushed out over the years. So we have this initiative of bringing sports back to Imo State University through the reconstruction of the school extension gate to give the school a face-lift. But one thing we have learnt, of course, this is not one naira or two naira project, this is something that we need a lot of money to do. And we are actually calling upon private individuals, Imo state university Alumni of our noble institution to come to our aid. This is not a project we can be able to achieve with the union dues, of course, the students are not paying, private individuals, public sectors, private sectors, the big banks and whatever, they should come to our aids, we have written to some banks, some institutions, and to private sectors to actually help us to achieve this our aims. But this will be done as soon as the exams are over.

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What are the problems faced by the students under your watch which you want to bring to the notice of the Government and School Authorities?

We have a lot of problems, which includes:

  1. The health sector; the health sector as far as I am concerned is dead, in fact, let me use the Igbo language “onwu la onwuo.” I am calling on the School Management and the State Government to please come to our aid. We have a first-class hostel inside the school, there are over 500 students living in the school hostel, what if there is a casualty tomorrow where will we take them to? There is a very nice building here, they called it the new medical centre, and the building has been erected but has not been equipped yet. So I am calling upon the State Government, His Excellency Senator Hope Uzodinma to please come to our aid and help us at least equip that health centre so that if there is any case of epidemic we can actually rush the student to that place or if there is emergency late at night at the hostel how do we take the student out of the school environment by that time for treatment. If it is an immediate emergency, that person God forbid may lose his/her life which is not what we pray for. So we are asking for an immediate response as it concerns the health sector.
  2. The sporting sector; this sector is also dead. We don’t have a school field nor a good basketball court but we are trying to renovate and reconstruct them as soon as possible, so this is one of the challenges we are facing.
  3. We also do not have enough classrooms in the school. If Imo State University is starting exam on the 17th of February, let the exam starts on the 17th not some departments will write on this day, the other one will write on another day, some level will write on this day another one on another day thereby making everything scattered and examinations being shifted as a result of lack of enough halls to accommodate the students and even if there are halls, there are no pews in the halls. In an examination, you will see about 4 to 5 students sitting on the same pew while writing exams. This is not good and we call on the School Management and the State Government to help us in this aspect as well.
  4. Another challenge is that of the high cost of textbooks. You will see a particular textbook being sold at a rate of ten thousand naira or five thousand naira and it is made compulsory, though many lecturers will claim that it is not compulsory, but if a student does not buy the textbook that student will lose certain marks. In regards to this, I suggested to the School Management if we can be able to have a committee of lecturers that can regulate the prices of text books so that if a textbook is brought for sale, it will be vetted to know if it is worth the price that is being sold. It is annoying when lecturers sell textbooks at prices that are not worth it.
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So these are the challenges we are facing ranging from the health sector, sporting sector, examination halls and also insufficient classrooms. There are no fans in the classrooms, you will see a classroom of over 200 students where there is no fan, everywhere will just be stuffy, and when it is time for practice there are not enough laboratory equipment for practical.  You will see a lecturer using one microscope to teach over 200 students.

These are some of the challenges we want the School Management and the State Government to help us look into. Though the school management being led by our noble mummy Prof. Mrs Adaobi Obasi has taken a bold step in attracting projects from TETfund, like; the Faculty of Education which is very well erected at entrance of the school, the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Social Science and the new Science building which is located towards new Science laboratory. The State Government should please come to our aid in solving these problems.

What move have you made towards solving the problem regarding the health sector?

We are making a move towards getting health insurance where students can pay a little amount of money to get treatment and also help equip the new medical centre. But this is not what the students can do alone we also need the intervention of the State Government because equipping the medical centre will need a lot of money.

Most at times, the school authorities use the student’s union government (SUG) body to influence the students in order to actualize a purpose and plan. How true is this assertion?

It depends on the kind of plan they have if the plan is a good plan and can help the school and student then the student and SUG body will accommodate and welcome it easily. But if it is something that goes against the interest of the comrade student. What does it mean to be a comrade student?

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Comrade student is someone that can be able to tender his resignation if something didn’t go according to what he has in his mind. Comrade Student does not mind losing their certificate if it means fighting for the interest of the student. If it is against the common right of the student we will definitely resist that, even if it was approved by the VC.

Unless is not my own VC but as long as is my own VC she can’t approve anything that is not of the interest of the student because Dr Mrs Victoria Obasi can’t do that she is a mother and she always has the interest of her student at hand.

In this time of economic hardship, what is your advice to the students?       

My advice to my students is that we should remain calm in this era of economic hardship even though the country is economically unstable that shouldn’t warrant us to risk our future for the sake of today and tomorrow. The only thing is that we should utilize everything we have for the main purpose and immediate priority of course thinking about tomorrow because there is no need for us to lavish what we have today and leaving tomorrow to think of itself. No, it doesn’t work that way, so whatever you have used it judiciously, utilize it very well for the main purpose it is meant for, not for selfish or useless purposes.

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Finally, Sir, we observe while coming inside that there was a banner mounted outside stating that today is your birthday, how do feel?

Well, I feel so happy, I am overwhelmed, it seems as if that my 2020 starts today, yeah it is actually a very nice day for me and I am going to celebrate with my students, very soon they will start coming around, in fact, I have been receiving messages both on Facebook, Whatsapp to be honest, the love is so much. So what can I do, I pray for God to give me more years ahead, strength to intercede for the students and actually fight for their rights at every point in time? Am very happy!

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