There is no denying the fact that one of the highlights of the Alive Administration was its excellent and commendable Public Relations marshalled by none other than Al-Ameen Sulyman a.k.a Ubi Juice Ibi Sauce. As the brain behind last session’s resourceful LSS broadcast messages and the showrunner of the ‘Why Law?’ and ‘Na Dem They Rush Us!’ WhatsApp miniseries, a sneak peek into the enigma that is Al-Ameen is almost impossible to resist. For that reason alone, he is the latest feature on the Executives’ Lounge.
- Generally speaking, what can you say about your time as the Public Relations Officer of the Law Students Society? How were you able to balance PR and academics?
Honestly, I’m very happy I made the decision to run as PRO and I thank God for getting me there. It was amazing because I learnt so much along the way in terms of PR itself and responsibility because I had to always be online. I couldn’t be PRO and not have data. I had to get data constantly and always be around the faculty or not stay away for too long. Who knows, there could be any sort of emergency. Also, I had to head committees for the first time and that was successful a bit. I learnt from my mistakes too; there were one or two things I felt I could have done better. For the first time, I managed to compile a magazine and I wrote too.
As PRO, I enjoyed my time although there were really stressful, tasking days. There were some days I felt sad and very tired. I remember carrying banners for LAWSAN Convention and I was very, very tired (That was just Day One). People might also not appreciate your efforts. I remember at the end of events where some people do not get food and come into my DM and lambast me.
Balancing PR and academics was easier in first semester because I remember we did all our major events in one week. I was able to constantly go to the library and even form my notes. At some points in second semester, I was just praying and in fact, I am still praying over my results. At some point in time, I just had to start photocopying notes from my friends who would come through for me, as well as getting my hands on past questions.
- What were your most memorable and challenging moments respectively?
Most memorable moment for me? There were two of them. The first one was at the end of first semester where I had a conversation with Year 5 and I was name-dropped among the top three PROs, alongside Jones and Haliat. The second came with the incoming Year 2s and 3s, where I received loosely similar accolades.
My most challenging moment? Usually, it was when I hyped programmes, got to the hall and then there were no people at the hall because Law Students will only come to a programme for food. I’d feel a little bit stupid because I sent out bcs and announced to people and they still didn’t show up. Another challenge was the monetary challenge where you want to do some stuffs in the absence of money, leaving you to improvise, particularly with Lex Observer. Finally, Law Dinner time, although it was a challenge I enjoyed.
- Given the demands of your office, did you by any chance develop a specific stress-coping mechanism?
What I enjoyed the most about the office was the demands because you had to always be on your feet, constantly thinking of something. The first thing is that I enjoyed what I was doing as PRO, so it wasn’t something I could call very demanding. For fun, I’d go home to spend time with my family, play games with my brother and watch movies when chanced. I’d just do what a normal person would do to get away from the demands. Just take some time out, feel good about yourself, eat well and talk to people that you know you love.
- How were you able to deal with the numerous controversies that arose in the Alive Era, including that of this year’s controversial LSS Games?
What I loved the most about our team was that we kept a united front throughout and tried as much as possible to make sure that whatever we were presenting to everybody outside is we and ourselves and we would not fall for controversies anyhow. Some people felt during the LSS Games that because majority of the executives were in Year 4, we would have manipulated it for Year 4 to win, especially with how the results ended, the petitions and the arbitration council. What really affected me from all of it was when I sent out the broadcast message about the judgment of the council and I heard it was doctored; that was what the Senate President said. I felt offended because first, it was on my credibility. There’s no how you won’t take offence for that. I’m glad we resolved it. I think I made subtle subliminals to the Senate in the couple of broadcast messages that followed, about doctoring bcs. That was quite fun and that’s the kind of person I see myself as. I don’t take things too personal, so long as we can talk and resolve the issue. Thankfully, the people involved were able to resolve their issues too. The Law Class of ’18 won, so everybody is happy. At least, my class is happy. So, I’m happy.
- What Year 4 Course did you enjoy the most?
The Year 4 Course I enjoyed the most was Land Law. There’s no how you can’t enjoy Land Law, especially with Dr. Oni. We had classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and they were not even morning classes, which is why I would not pick Equity and Trusts. Professor Smith was also wonderful.
- Closing in on the final lap of your sojourn here, what would you say have been your biggest lessons so far?
My biggest lesson from the Faculty of Law…is that people are petty in this life (laughs). Actually, my number one is that you need learn to relate with people and know the kind of people you are dealing with. That would help you understand them and have a favourable relationship. University also taught me that the major thing you notice is that you constantly evolve. The evolution is quite dynamic. You look back at how far you have come after every phase, so the evolution is just wonderful. You learn a lot on the go. It also taught me the value of friendship. You form a tribe with people you’re on the same journey with.
The only thing this school never taught me is Law (laughs). This school also taught me hard work, maturity, love, feminism, tolerance and responsibility.
- Tell us something intriguing about your yourself that most people don’t know, but need to know.
I actually love cooking. I can be lazy about it, but I love cooking. That is something I like that people do not know about me. Something quite funny is that do not go on social media that much. I might be on Twitter and just retweet or look for trouble, but I would rather sit down and watch a good movie or T.V than be on social media and waste so much on data. That’s quite funny if you are a PRO.
- Would you term yourself as more of an idealist or a realist, and why?
I am a realist. I would always be a realist. I assume that everyone starts from a point where you want to save the world. While you are at it, you start to realise that there is more to the world than you knew and as such, you would see things for what they are. Believe me, if you are not real about Law stuff, you might not be able to work under the kind of pressure we worked under in the LSS.
- Looking ahead as the Public Relations Officer of the prestigious Tax Club, what should we expect from Part 3 of ‘The Sauce Trilogy’?
For Part 3 of The Sauce Trilogy, just expect more sauce. Expect a lot of Tax jokes. The idea will be for you to know so much about tax and The Tax Club, but to know it in a fun way. It’s like boarding a Taxify with Taxify Jollof, the cake they promised at that point and bucket chicken with Coldstone ice-cream and pizza. You are just going to eat and you would be so stuffed. Then you get down and we just dip you in a bowl of Sauce. You are going to be ‘sustained’. Yes. (Laughs wickedly).
Basically, think Infinity War. Not X-Men 3.
- On a final note, what hacks would you recommend to future Public Relations Officers in the faculty, LSS and other Chambers/Associations inclusive?
First, I need to tell you that you people are the real MVPs. Nobody would ever tell you that, but what you do is work that cannot be bought. If you are not getting much accolades, just dead it. You’re a bad guy. Two, be your own self. Inasmuch as you should aspire to do stuff because Al-Ameen did it, do something you feel good at. If you are the class announcement person, then be the big badass class announcer. If you are the Instagram or Twitter person, be that. Even if you have new, inventive ways to do PR, then do it. The beauty of Public Relations is reinventing the role.
You are the link between your society and the public, so you need to have a good public image. By that, I mean that you need to know how to talk to people properly and understand some people. If you are the serious type, be the serious type. If you are the fun, joking type, be the fun, joking type. You just need to make it in a way that even if you are telling them about your association and they are not so interested, because of how they see you as a person, they will want to do the work.
On a final note, please work on your bcs. Let us read stuff and be like ‘Wow!’. Just be creative about it. We are lawyers, after all.
For interested parties, Al-Ameen is “Single as a Pringles”, so y’all can shoot your shot. He is also considering venturing into PR full-time someday, so watch out too. Adopting his concluding words in his final official broadcast message as the LSS PRO (where he launched the 2018 edition of the Lex Observer), ‘The Juice may be temporary, but The Sauce is forever’.