For the first since its establishment in 2011, the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo is conducting its maiden students’ union elections.
Recall that former president Goodluck Jonathan approved the establishment of the institution in 2011 to add to the existing federal government owned universities in the country.
Since the establishment of the school, the students have been clamouring for the creation of an elected and recognised student government.
In response to this, the school management headed by the Vice Chancellor, Chinedum Nwajiuba gave an approval to that effect.
EduCeleb.com recalls that prior to this very important approval, there have been series of Caretaker Committees that oversaw the welfare and activities of the students.
Professor Nwajiuba had realised that proper students’ representation was the way forward. Therefore, the present committee in place led by David Okafor, a final year student of Political Science would be the last before a proper SUG resumes office in the 2018/2019 academic session.
Observers of the polity say that the approval by the Vice Chancellor gave way to the current wave of student politics recently witnessed in the institution.
The Electoral Committee saddled with the mandate to conduct the elections and announce the winners was inaugurated to give an opportunity to several persons who did not initially have the opportunity to contest for the various positions to pick up the election form.
With their intention and subsequent declaration to join the race, these persons have suddenly become the subject of general discussions in and around the campus.
The Electoral Committee told EduCeleb.com that various positions are vacant and are to be occupied by these persons who purchased the forms.
These positions, which include the offices of: President, Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Directors, Senators, among others have been open for the contestants to fill.
That the head of the committee doubles as the Dean of Students’ Affairs has given students a hope of fairness.
Dr Charles Okolie who also teaches at the Department of Philosophy has mapped out some guidelines as it regards campaigning in the forthcoming election.
According to him, the guidelines include the prohibition of pasting coloured posters, sharing of gift, motor convoy within and outside the campus while campaigning.
The Okolie led committee also insisted on a zero policy to character assassination, among other things.
It added that any contestant who goes contrary to these guidelines will be disqualified.
Series of screening exercises
In a bid to ensure that only qualified persons emerge, interested contestants were on 28th May screened, EduCeleb.com reports.
This first screening held at Senate Chambers by the Electoral Committee was well received as it was to ensure that candidates were on a good academic standing.
Only candidates with a 3.5 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) were eligible to contest just as only 300 level students could vye for the presidency.
A cross section of contestants remarked that it was a good and smooth screening as none of them was withdrawn on account of these.
After that first screening, the contestants were made to go through yet another round of screening on the 4th June, 2018.
This second screening, according to a contestant, who does not want to be named, was more serious and hectic compared to the former.
In this case, they were questioned by the men of the Nigerian Police Force at the Dean Students Affairs’ office.
A member of the committee said that it was establish that they were worthy in character to represent students.
Yet another screening on 6th June, 2018, was held in this line. But this time, it was done by the officers of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) at the Senate Chamber of the University.
As the entire students and indeed the contestants awaits the final list of the qualified candidates, supporters of each contestant have left no stone unturned in projecting the ideas of the persons they support in a bid to convince people to vote for them.
The major contestants and high expectations
Similarly, the major contestants especially for key competitive positions of the SUG President, Vice President, Directors, and Senators, have been busy with their campaigns.
Like in other universities, it is common to see candidates coining different names and approaches as they seek to persuade the students to believe in their manifestos.
Currently, the entire landscape of the University is soaked with different posters adorning different images and write-ups portraying the plans of the contestants.
Notably among the contestants are four main aspirants for the office of president. They include; Njoku Francis Ogbonna, Fortune Akuma, Leo Okwemgbe and Igwe Nelson.
Mr Ogbonna popularly known as Caesar is a 300Level student studying Criminology and Security Studies. His campaign slogan is “A move for Excellence”.
His contender in the race is Akuma who is currently in 300Level studying Computer Science. He is running with the mantra of “The Acts of the Apostles”.
The other person vying for the apex office in the student leadership is Mr Okwemgbe. This Political Science 300 level student has “A new Vision for AE-FUNAI” as his mantra.
The last among equals for the coveted office is Mr Nelson who is currently in 300Level studying History and Strategic Studies. He has for his campaign, the “AE-FUNAI Solution 2018” slogan.
Hopes are high that these and other contenders such as Gloria Ukpai, and Bibian Mary contesting for the Vice President position, among others would protect the rights students when they eventually emerge.
The elections would be held across the university campus on 21st June, 2018.