By Suliat Ojo
Placards, clenching of the fist, singing solidarity songs, standing in rows and columns – Oje is at work again solving a problem that needs to be address with boldness, confident and a tone of authority. Always ready to solve problems. Delivering his speech in a relaxing manner with well structured words that delivers the message as he speaks.
“Am always inspired to find solution to difficult situation, when people are seeing problem, trouble, I see opportunity to solve problem and made a voice” he says with confidence.
Ojebola Mathew Opeoluwa, 25, popularly known as Oje, was a governor throughout his stay in the Nigerian Institute of Journalism and Chairman Students Representative Council (SRC) of the institution for the first time after the institution came back as a fully accredited institution in 2000.
Students Representative Council has long been stated in the student handbook but the governors then regard their selves as the committee of governors. “But I discover that there is something in the handbook that talks about SRC but nobody dare discuss this because the provost is untouched, nobody can contradict her” he said.
Subsequent meeting came up with the provost and she address Oje as “Spoke person” which he replied no saying “am the chairman of the Students Representative Council as written in the students hand book that the governors and deputy governors shall belong to the SRC” and that was how SRC was ignite back to life.
Ever since then, the system and culture change. Students’ interests are being fought for in accordance with the school rules and in the process “our voice” is made known. Because then each governors fights for the interest of his class – no one to fight for the interest of the students in general.
Michael Kunu, a student of the institute said he would forever be grateful to him. When he heard that I and Emmanuel that spoilt the solar system won’t be allowed to write exams, he stood up as a “leader” he has always been, mobilize people and protested against it by challenging the provost. “We wrote the exam because he agrees with the other governors for their result not to be released until the damage is repair” he said. “I would not have written the exam if not for his sake” he added.
Oje was also known as the “Prime Minister” during his National Diploma study said it came about when he said his governor is the ceremonial head while he is the head of government because he was doing most of the work. “Now we are running a parliamentary system of government” he said smiling.
Another aspect of him being a leader is the readiness to fight and win in any situation. A long time friend, Oluwamuyiwa Temitatyo describes him as a “charismatic leader”. “He is always ready to fight on the right track without looking back, even Barrack Obama cannot win him” he says.
Oje recorded other successful student weeks’ in 2014. Most students said it was a chance to enjoy life – everything was so fascinating, awesome, beyond expectation and most importantly the best ever had. “For the first time, you see students that run home early even religious brothers and sisters staying around till 10 at night” he said jokingly.
Leadership role is very crucial in attaining success. Tracking back our history as Nigeria, the past is still giving reference to than the present which shows we are still in circle – not moving. “I define failure as when the past is better than the recent” he said. “Am glad I was able to impact change”.
Oje who was born in Eruwa, Oyo state has always been a motivated and inspired leader. After his secondary school in Eruwa High School, he discovers that teenage pregnancy was becoming rampant in his town. Then he mobilize people to act drama which include the Words of the Wise, No Free Launch, were acted in secondary schools to educate the girls more on the issue of teenage pregnancy. He also ensures the payment of JAMB form fee for some students in his town by the local government chairman for those who can’t afford.
“My dream is to conquer poverty and hunger” he said.
An ex-student of the institution said “he has the ability to manage, integrate issues together, and handle people and issues differently”.
Oje wanted to study Politics and Economics but was given admission to study Psychology in Obefemi Awolowo University which he rejected but later came to Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). “NIJ provided a platform for me to make a voice” he said smiling.
A lecturer in the institute, Mr. Femi Osuntoki once described him as a man that speaks with senses, during the course of a dialogue.
Part of his achievement as a leader in the institute is organisation of different programmes like the five aside team player (soccer fight), debate and other activities: campus news letter, Dodo, radio drama (Abule Lawa), amebo corner – which makes mixing education with fun comes to reality in the institution.
“What gives me joy is when I attended to situation and give people hope” he said. “Leadership is selflessness”.