By Iretomiwa Dele-Yusuff
After the September 10, 2019 protest which led to the death of two students, the management of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti disbanded the Awodola-led FUOYE Students Union (FUYOESU) administration. To replace the disbanded executives, the school management appointed all presidents of the seven Faculties as acting Student Union pending the next election. Of the seven presidents, Ibuowo Olalekan; the then-president of the Faculty of Science acted as the Treasurer while Adebowale Daniel (Lincoln) acted as the General Secretary. Olagunju Olanrewaju (Soyinka); the president of the Education Students’ Association of Nigeria, FUOYE, acted as the Public Relations Officer of the appointed representatives.
Soon after the appointment, some appointees who were in their final year of studies, wrote their final examinations. As they got ready to leave for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps, the school appointed new representatives pending the Students’ Union elections as that was a period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The appointed representatives were Adekola Francis (FADA), a student of the Accounting department who was appointed to serve as the acting president; Olagunju Olanrewaju, who was appointed to serve as both the acting Public Relations Officer and the acting General Secretary; Ogunleye Akinloluwa (Ijoba Federal) who was appointed to serve as the acting Welfare Director. Adebisi Segun (Solution) was appointed to fill in the position of the acting Speaker of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC). The SRC is the legislative arm of government that serves as a watchdog to the activities of the SUG. The SRC can approve or disapprove activities of the SUG especially if they are unconstitutional or if they lack credibility.
FUOYE had an election for the 2019/2020 session on the 28th of February, 2021. The new administration was sworn into office on the 8th of March, 2021.
The Students’ Union Government generates funds from the mandatory N1000 SUG dues paid yearly. In the 2018/2019 administration, FUOYE had about 17,000 students who paid N1000 each as SUG fees.
The SUG fees usually go into the account of the school management who then disburses requested funds to the SUG account after approval by the Vice Chancellor. According to the constitution, money can be withdrawn from the Students’ Union account only when a cheque is signed by both the General Secretary and the Treasurer.
How was N3.7 million spent?
On the 11th of April, 2021, one Tella Abiodun, a student of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti released a message titled “FUOYESU, WHERE IS OUR NOSE MASKS?”. The body of the message read:
“We might decide not to talk but we are not stupid, as much as we allow you represent us, we won’t allow you steal from us, ask prince Promise.
“The former acting FUOYESU President (FADA) and the current Senate President (SOLUTION) collected money from management to provide nose masks to the students populace but till now we’ve not seen any FUOYESU nose mask anywhere.
“I won’t want to believe that Rexpect, Ijoba demo and AwesomeD are involved in this because they’ve obviously been so quiet about the matter.
“The former Ag. President and his Speaker took our money and the new FUOYESU executives wants to cover it up but now we know and we deserve an explanation. Do the needful or face wrath Aluta.
“I would not only expose corruption in the Student Union but would also take up measures to stop and punish perpetrators.”
On the 13th of April, according to the current Treasurer of the FUOYE Students’ Union Government, Faweya Oluwaseun, ” there was a proposed nose mask project of N2.5million of which we ascertain that the money was disbursed alongside other expenses which accumulated to the sum N3,732,000 and was disbursed on the 29th of January, 2021. It is also confirmed that the sum of N3,700,000 was withdrawn from the union’s account on the 29th of January, 2021″.
This money was withdrawn one day to the election of the new Students’ Union government and thirty days to the inauguration of the newly elected SUG.
Secretary to the DSA Reacts
When queried about the school’s knowledge of the N3.7 million scandal, Mr. Adeyemo, the secretary to the Dean of Students’ Affairs who spoke on his behalf said “I just got the information that a particular amount was withdrawn from the Students’ Union account. When we got to know about, we tried to investigate what happened.”
“To formalize it, I was directed by my boss (Prof. Dosu Malomo, the Dean of Students’ Affairs) to write a letter to him (Adekola Francis Ayomide)”, he said as he showed the reporter the letter.
“Anytime from now, he will be available to take the letter and give clarification. That is how it stands now”, he concluded.
When asked about how N3.7 million was withdrawn without the school management’s knowledge, Mr. Adeyemo said, “the method we use is that the money will be released to the students’ union account and I don’t receive alert so I don’t know how much they collected from the account. All I know is that he submitted the students’ union properties that were handed to him. They are two laptops and a generator and it is with the current executives.”
Mr. Adeyemo continued by saying “they will write to the management and the funds will be released from the university’s account to the Students’ Union account. We don’t monitor them. It is a student union government. By the time we release money to them, they usually have their complete and well-formed excuses. We don’t monitor how they spend this money. They have their budget and we don’t have a say. That is the responsibility of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC). The executives prepare the budget and send it to the SRC. The SRC approves it and they contact us to disburse the funds. It is left to the SRC to monitor the money because they are the check and balance. Ask the SRC of that time”.
“I was given my own share of N150,000 as allowance” – Olagunju Olanrewaju (Soyinka)
Olagunju Olanrewaju is currently the president of the Education Students’ Association of Nigeria, Federal University Oye-Ekiti chapter. As a faculty president, he was one of the acting students’ representatives who replaced the Awodola administration. He acted in the capacity of the Public Relations Officer. When some members of the acting executive body graduated from the Federal University Oye-Ekiti, he was appointed to fill in the positions of both the Public Relations Officer and the General Secretary of the union. Constitutionally, as the general secretary, he should be a signatory to the Students’ Union account and therefore be privy to the withdrawal of funds from the union’s account.
When contacted to find out the part he played in the withdrawal of N3.7 million of the students’ dues, he said “the general secretary before me was Lincoln (Adebowale Daniel) and we couldn’t change the signatory before he went for service. He was still the signatory when I was appointed and he did not hand the account to me”.
He continued by saying “on the issue of facemasks and sanitizers, I am aware that there was a budget to provide face masks and sanitizers for over 10,000 students of FUOYE. I advised the acting president, FADA (Adekola Francis), to let it be and let the incoming elected administration take over the project because we had just two weeks to the election. There is no way we can carry out such a project within two weeks. I told him them that he should leave it to the incoming administration. He insisted that he wants our administration to have something to write home about. I can say it anywhere that that is the last I heard about the face masks and sanitizers.”
According to him “after the election, before the inauguration of the new SUG, I got to realize that a certain amount was disbursed. Out of it, we removed our stipends. Since we were appointed like six months ago, we were not given stipends.”
“So, I was given N150,000 for six months. Aside from that money that I collected, I am just getting to know that it was N3.7 million that was disbursed to FADA. He did not tell us the exact amount. It was him and the former general secretary (Lincoln) that went to get the money. That is all I know about it. What I heard before was that he was given N1.5 million. I was not aware that it is up to N3.7 million. Out of the whole money, I only collected N150,000 and I think it is constitutional. It has been like that since the inception of FUOYESU that executives usually collect stipends. I think they are entitled to allowances. It is not out of context. I don’t know how much the other guy collected but it was according to our position. The allowance was for the general secretary position and it was for things like my data, the books I used, transportation and every other thing. That is all I know”.
“I don’t remember how much I was paid” – Ogunleye Akinloluwa (Ijoba Federal)
Ogunleye Akinloluwa, also known as Ijoba Federal, served as the welfare director in the acting FUOYESU. As the welfare director, the provision of facemasks and hand sanitizers should be under his jurisdiction. He however denied knowing anything about it.
He said “that was the single project we did and it was under the acting president, FADA. It is today I heard that they disbursed such a huge amount. We had the budget that we decided on but at the end of the day, he told us that they disbursed just N1.5 million to him. The money was for things we proposed like facemasks, money for the legislative Arm and our stipends for our services. I don’t remember how much I was paid.”
He continued by saying “I can defend it to any extent that I don’t know about the N3.7 million. I only know about the N1.5 million because that is what he told us he got. I personally asked him about the project because it should be in my jurisdiction. He told me that he has someone that can carry out the project and I said no problem.”
“After we sorted out stipends from the N1.5 million, he said that it remained about N450,000 for the nosemask. Since the school management knows about this, I told him to make the nose masks he can make with the remaining money. After that, I messaged him that what is delaying and I did not get an answer. I again messaged him that what is delaying him from giving the nosemasks to the students. It is just today I got to know about the N3.7 million. The acting Speaker of that time (Adebisi Segun, now the current Speaker of the SRC) should know about it because he is the one that approved the budget”, Ijoba Federal said.
“…they gave me N100,000” – Adebowale Daniel (Lincoln)
Adebowale Daniel (popularly known as Lincoln), served in the position of acting General Secretary in the acting FUOYESU after the disbanding of the Awodola administration. He was one of the two signatories to the FUOYESU account along with Ibuowo Olalekan, who served as the acting Treasurer.
When Mr. Adebowale was contacted to find out his part in the money scandal, “how come I have to answer to it? It is not only me. We were two signatories, Ibuowo and me. If the both of us do not sign, the money cannot be withdrawn. The cheque was with Ibuowo. Before we left, we were asked to sign some things on money issue in case they need money to run things when we were went for service.
“During this time, Ibuowo signed some blank cheques. I initially did not sign because I was serving in Kogi state. What actually happened is that they called me that they need some amount of money to buy nosemasks for the students and that I should come around to sign. I had to come from Kogi to Ekiti and in the course of signing, they gave me N100,000. Why will I be asking them what they want to use the money for because I was already out of the school. I had to travel all the way from Kogi. That is all I know. I saw N3.7 million on the cheque and I signed it. I saw Ibuowo’s signature already on it. I just came, signed, collected N100,000 and left”.
“I just signed and sent the cheque from Lagos” – Ibuowo Olalekan (Former Treasurer)
Ibuowo Olalekan was the former acting Treasurer of the representatives that replaced the Awodola- led administration. Ibuowo Olalekan is a graduate of the Faculty of Science and the former president of the said faculty. While recounting what happened, he said that they (the acting SUG) had a meeting sometime in December just before he went for his NYSC service in January.
Mr. Ibuowo said “In December, we withdrew about N1 million to payout allowances and repair the Aluta Wagon (FUOYESU official vehicle). We were given three months allowance according to our budget and some money for transportation because most of us were not in Oye at that time. I was given N80,000. N45,000 for my three months allowance and the remaining for transportation and feeding.”
He said “Soyinka and FADA were insisting that we are graduates already and they were asking that what are we still doing in the union. They said that we should leave everything for them and go. I told them that all these things should follow due process but they were shouting that I am a graduate and I don’t have a say in the matter. I insisted that I would not leave the cheque because it was not official and I did not officially hand over. The DSA, Prof. Malomo said that if that is how I want it, I must always find a way to sign even If I am in camp. On the 22nd of January, I was contacted that they wanted to collect money. I called Solution (the former acting Speaker and the current Speaker of the SRC) to confirm and he said it is true that they want to collect about N1 million. I was about to travel because I was posted to Plateau state so I signed the cheque and sent it from Lagos to Oye.”
Mr. Ibuowo continued by saying “I called FADA to tell him that I knew he wants to collect more than the N1 million they claimed and he denied it. He said that I have no business in it. It is just now that I heard that it is N3.7 million they collected. I did not know. I just signed and sent the cheque”.
Adebisi Segun, the then acting Speaker and the current Speaker of SRC confirmed the SRC’s knowledge of the withdrawal. He however noted that he was aware that N1.5 million was withdrawn and he did not know the exact amount until it was confirmed by Faweya Oluwaseun who has records of the statement of accounts. When asked about his knowledge of the nosemasks, he said that there was no time to probe it before the administration handed over to the current FUOYESU.
In the midst of all these allegations, Adekola Francis (FADA), has refused to talk about it. After several attempts by this reporter to speak with him, he said that he needed 12 hours to make some findings before talking.