CHECKMATE – From a Gallerian Perspective

By Onakomaiya Kolawole

The game of chess is an interesting and highly contested game especially when it is played by two vibrant players. The vibrancy of the two players brings out the best tactics and moves and observers can be held spell-bound with some of these moves. In a situation where we have only a good player, the game is never enjoyed and the full potential of the players is never realized. One must however be aware that the efficiency of the two players brings about feelings of criticism scorn, anger and if unchecked may lead to hatred between the two players. This to me could be sacrificed in order to have a good game. In the course of the game, one tactic engaged in by players all over the world is the use of CHECKMATE. This is inevitable and cannot be ignored when served to a player. It is ultimately what ends the game. Checkmate, is a tactic that not only makes the game enjoyable, but also fair and intelligent and this is why it is vital to the game. With no check, the king who serves as the executive as he can’t be eliminated like every other piece and who is the target of the checkmate would be reckless and incautious in his moves.
The above analogy can be juxtaposed with the situation in UNILAG LSS at the moment. We seem to have a working executive and an effective legislature which is a laudable feat and an evidence of democracy in the faculty.

This has not brought a ‘peaceful coexistence’ (to the favor of the masses) as should be expected between the duo as checkmating never favors the two players at a time. A peaceful coexistence will mean either one or both players aren’t effective and this is simply stating the obvious as no executive anywhere in the world likes to be checked because this would mean being on their toes every time, being cautious of their actions and sometimes being required to answer to these questions. In reality therefore, an effective senate is a pain the neck to the executive. They, in my opinion (the executive) would wish the senate isn’t performing their legal duties or at least not effectively.
For a couple of weeks now, members of the executives have been summoned by the senate for a checkmate of some of their actions and of course like any other executives have not been favorably disposed to, which is evident in their covert and overt reactions to such summons and I say this affirmatively because I have been present in some of this meetings, as a gallerian of course. Although, I would have thought as the executive of a faculty as prestigious as law, at a time where transparency and freedom of information is been advocated as tantamount to democracy anywhere in the world and at an era where CHANGE is the watchword of our current government there would be change towards issues like this but am curiously bewildered to find out that their disposition towards each summons isn’t much of a difference to that of any other executives in the world.
My curiosity on the supposed effectiveness of the Executive is further watered when allegations of corruption, mismanagement and misappropriations of funds was or better still is being labeled on members of the Executive. Lest I forget, the sentimental ways in which the handing executive positions are done, a notable example of this being the President of the Law Trust Funds (LTF), with two years’ experience in the handling of this position, who was allegedly removed by the President of LSS and replaced by a Bolaji Benson a controversial figure and alleged ‘godson’ of the President. Interestingly, this allegation was leveled by the vice-president which further brought to light some other allegations like disunity and ‘godfatherism’. A cabal or caucus is also believed to be holding sway in the executive which is why even the vice president isn’t aware of some actions executed by the president and why there has been conflict in the declarations of the executive. A readily example is the recently bought signage at the faculty of law which was declared by the president to be bought at a whopping sum of #350000 according to the senate president and contradictorily countered by the PRO in his own words “I saw the receipt for the signage and it was #260000”. This makes one wonder who is telling the truth because apparently one of them isn’t, at least not the whole truth. The career fair done by the faculty is also worthy of I found these allegations as unthinkable in the executive of a highly placed school like UNILAG where future leaders are bred. It is interestingly ironic more so that some of these executives who are yet to be cleared of these allegations are not only been celebrated but are currently running for various posts including the presidency! Ironic isn’t it?
In furtherance of their checks on the executive, the social secretary was called upon with some other members of the executive by the senate to justify the rationality of allocating such an amount believed to be ridiculous and outrageous to quote senator wahaab of year two constituency on the 2015 law dinner amidst other allegations. After several minutes of intense grilling by the senate with allegations and counter- allegations, a senator from year one constituency by the name Ore Bello asked a pertinent question on why the executives would go on to pay an initial fund of #500000 to Eko hotel and suites- the venue for the law dinner when the senate is yet to approve of the funding let alone the event which is contrary to section 7(2) of the LSS constitution which states “ no withdrawal shall be made without the authorization of the senate and two third majority of the executive council and as prescribed by this constitution”. The social secretary replied thus; “…the section may not be practicable”. Significantly, the senate was mute over it. What could this implies?
Furthermore, checkmating achieves two things; the first is that it put the ‘checkmatee’ in check and also helps the checkmater to ‘put his house in order’. After all, “it is my house” to use the words of the senate president. This is why the senate who is supposed to be the custodian of the law could have been so negligent of such a highly sensitive section as quoted above. Evidently, the scrutiny of the executive was simply a sham, a bogus and kangaroo meeting which can be seen as a means of diverting the attention of the masses from the real issues. This is obvious because as at the time of the questioning of the social secretary, a sum of 500k have been deposited with the hotel which I stand to be corrected may not be refundable and which apparently the senate wasn’t aware of perhaps because the section that mandated them to know “may not be practicable” to use the words of our erudite social secretary. Definitely this is a situation of crying over spilt milk, a lamentation after the deed is done.
Informatively, other executives questioned like the PRO and the treasurer did not yield any positive results despite the heavy allegations leveled upon them. The whole scrutiny was executed in such a poor and inefficient manner of handling cases typical of the Nigeria legislature and judiciary. Which makes me ask, is our senate also inefficient are they bias in their judgments? Is there an unseen connivance between the senate and the executive? There is already doubt in the minds of some people about the credibility and integrity of the leadership of the senate and the reasons are not far-fetched. The news of the deputy senate president another alleged godson of the President been appointed as the chairman of the upcoming faculty elections (by the president of course) leave much to be desired and has arouses suspicion on the political minds in the faculty as to the real motives behind it. The senate president did not help matters by not only aligning himself openly with a presidential candidate (of which I question the legality and ethics behind) but also canceling a meeting though he gave the implausible reason of the law annex which is the venue for the senate meeting been closed as the reason for not holding the meeting, when he was well aware of pending issues that need urgent execution in the senate.

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