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📃 THE RUNING MATE; AN ELECTION WINNING CARD OR AN ADMINISTRATION RUNNING CARD?

After observing the difficulty and at times frustration, of SRC Presidential aspirants in choosing vice Presidential aspirants (running mates), the first question that came into my mind was; why not a male SRC vice President?
Some leadership positions in UCC-SRC have been associated with one particular gender or the other and many who dared to challenge the status quo were hit with harsh realities.
The SRC secretary position for example is one of such. Apollos Ambrose who once contested UCC-SRC Secretary position with the message “your bilingual secretary”, which for me sounded great, was given a resounding voter response. Voters were like “sorry guy, somethings are for ladies only”.

The UCC-SRC vice president’s position is one that seem to be an exclusive preserve of females. I don’t know if there’s been any male vice president ever, but I can authoritatively say at least from 2008 there’s not been any.
I am told that two males who tried to run as president and vice in 2010 were tagged as the “gay partners”. Last academic year, two males also run and couldn’t make it.

In 2015/2016 academic year, I sat in the room of one JCRC President and listened thoughts flow, the President’s thoughts were that if I could vice Theophilus Sosi who (then SRC PRO) was vying to be the next President, the two of us had the competencies that will attract the Student populace and we could break that gene of Vice President always being a female. Perhaps we could have, but I guess Sosi wasn’t aware of the President’s thought then and I was also not interested. Who knows, a time may come when who becomes UCC-SRC President and vice president would no longer be misconstructed along gender lines but on the lines of abilities and competencies.
For now, the status quo remains and as such we just need to make the best out of it.

Running mates and aspiring running mates have served many cards; as political party card, election winning card by SRC Presidential aspirant and at times administration running card (i.e. a person that can help the SRC President run an effective administration).

There have been times the tertiary branches of political parties (TEIN, TESCON) have used aspiring running mates to frustrate presidential aspirants, by asking an aspiring running mate to step down because the Presidential aspirant does not belong to the political party of the running mate. If the aspiring running mate does not have conviction of her own, or has sold her loyalty to a political party, she will decide to step down, thereby frustrating the Presidential aspirant. Political parties branch on campus play this among other cards with aspiring running mates.

For most SRC presidential aspirants, the person who will help them win election is the overriding consideration.The one who can help them run an effective SRC is secondary. This is why in recent years, almost all, if not all leading SRC Presidential aspirants have had and still do have their running mates picked from halls with dominance in population or activism on the Students’ front. Especially from JCRC executives whom they suspect have hall support. Of course, there are instances where the running mate fulfills election winning card as well as possesses the qualities which will help the presidential aspirant run the SRC if they receive the nod of students. There are very very few who pick running mates with key reason of competence to help his administration.

Even within the general Student populace, we don’t subject the vice aspirants or running mates to scrutiny. So their pulse are not really tested like the Presidential aspirants during campaign.

An American TV Host;
Johnny Carson, once opined that
“Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn’t grow up can be vice president.” The quote used two opposing yardsticks in measuring who can become President and who can become vice President. We seem to toe the line of Carson covertly or overtly, so we don’t assess President and Vice aspirant equally.

Essentially, the duty of vice President is to support the President in implementing the agenda of that administration and acting as de facto President, in the absence of the President.
Former SRC President; Tony Henry-Arthur, whenever he traveled, the SRC vice President was sworn in as president before the Chief Justice of the Judicial Board, in the presence of myself as Speaker and the witnessing of members of SRC sub committees. It made governance just beautiful, it also shows the preponderance of the position of the vice President. We also saw in brief moment, the SRC vice President chairing General Meeting. Simply put, anyone who is a vice aspirant is a potential President, hence must have all the qualities, competencies and experience required of a Presidential aspirant. It should not be any less.

In 2015/2016 academic year, the UCC House of Parliament under the leadership of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Acheampong, initiated the Presidential debate. In the debate, there was a slot to ask at least one general question to all vice presidential aspirants. A tradition which has continued, it is meant to at least give a little focus to the running mates. But I must admit, it isn’t enough test for them.

As a voter in the yet to be held SRC elections, how do you assess the running mates of the various teams contesting SRC Presidency? Beyond the photos and make ups, have analyzed their competencies, experience and qualities?

Will Parliament consider the call of some students to have a solely vice presidential aspirants debate to give exposure to the running mates?
Well, it is in the bosom of the Parliamentary Council.

Watch out for my next write “SRC CONSTITUTIONAL OVERTHROW”

Tunde Awosika
Socio-Political Activist & Youth Development Practitioner
13/03/2020

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