That he is so busy nowadays is an understatement, it will interest you to know that Seun Lari-Williams doubles as the President of the Law Student Society, Unilag and also act in the official Capacity as the Chairman of the Council of Faculty President, Unilag.
So when temmy and my humble self set out to conduct an interview with Seun , we were quite surprised with the accelerated response we got from him….infact, he elected to come meet us at Chapel on that day, we however chose to move the interview close to amphitheatre. The summary of the gist is that we stood for the better part of over 45 minutes conducting the interview, so its fair to say we looked quite odd with our disposition.
This Interview will be divided in 2 Parts because its quite lengthy, we ventured into the workings of his administration, The Russia trip and we also dared to get a little personal..
Note:: –(This Interview was conducted over a month ago, Pardon the delay….but Journalism is no mincemeat…can i also state temmy asked majority of the Questions)
Q~ How are you today??
A~Im fine, tank yu
Q~how’s your day been?
Q~How did you feel when you won the election?
A~ahh…Im ashamed to say this, but since there’s no Law society election coming up soon (laughs, at least for him), i will admit it now that it wasn’t exactly an overly joyous win for me…I was happy i won the election Yes, however….i knew it was work, alot of work. That’s why one of the things that slowed me down in campaigning is; in actual trying to convince somebody to vote for me and they say No for example, i felt bad because im like ….”Why am i suffering to get into office to suffer again” it takes a lot of work. Leadership according to some very wise people is sacrifice and lots of hardwork, you know..lots of discipline involved, so i didn’t see it as something i should really be joyous about…That’s why i don’t like the way its done in Nigeria, where you win an election and they throw a big party for you as though you’ve won a big Jackpot. All these are signs that they just going to embezzle stuffs or do something wrong.
Q~So far, We would like to know how your administration has been faring…..the challenges you’ve faced?
A~Ok, that’s a big Question…Sounds like a few words but its a very big one, i wil try and put everything in a few words.
The administration has been wonderful, u know…everything i expected and much more. Alot of things were unseen and not reasonably forseeable as Law Students would put it, I was very happy at first that this is something new and its another stage of my life and then suddenly, i started seeing a different aspect to life. I started seeing that those people who claim to be busy might actually be really busy, i had to attend many issues from issues of …..bad state of toilets to bad results to illnesses, there are lot of things, infact witchcraft issues come to me, people tell me i think that girl is a witch (All laughs)…different kind of issues come up, and they take these things seriously and its been lot of work, buh am happy because its teaching me how to balance stuff, its been hard to balance with school and academics, but if we don’t get trained here about balancing school and work, how do we balance Family Life and Business eventually when we leave school? So am happy its a training ground and i will forever be grateful for the opportunity.
Q~ So are you saying it is far different than what you hoped for?
A~ Well, I can’t say its far different from what i hoped for, it is actually…but not extremely so different. I had hopes that when i get in here, I learned to be a better person – I learned to be a better listener, learned to serve better and learned how to sacrifice my time. It has given me so much more actually, e.g the experience of meeting with adults, meeting with professionals in the Industry, the legal Industry, meeting with the School Authority and having to talk to them and communicate the various demands and wishes of the Law Students. As you may already know, I happen to be the Chairman of the Council of Faculty Presidents, and in that capacity, I have to represent the school as what the School would not like to call Student Union, but when the situation demands, the School sends me outside to represent the School and that itself is another Office to run and it has been a lot of work.
Q~In your Words, would you Say your Administration has been a total success.
A~ehr….not yet, we are not done yet…I”ll like to rate myself like that when I’m done. We still have Big Events like the Career Day, The Sports Week, the Dinner, a lot of others things this semester.
Q~ Seeing the NoticeBoard at the LSS office displaying the upcoming events begs for an obvious Questions, are they all feasible???
A~ Yes, I’m very Practical or will like to consider myself as a very practical person. Before i even set out things on that which you call a NoticeBoard,which i call a To-Do list (its merely a To-Do List). Luckily, I have learnt from being the Head of Taslim Elias Chambers to Delegate, Nothing on d board would be done exactly by me, I have committees, I have friends who are devoted to helping us. I told them while we are campaigning, that ‘Hey, You are gonna volunteer and help in some way that you can’. Alot of them are ready to work, so those things are not too big, I didn’t put mighty Big Projects there ; Ladies Day ( I am not even in the Ladies Day Committee), I put something about Publishing a book for Sen. Udo Udoma, we contacted the Senator and he’s interested…He’ll Sponsor it, the Printer is ready to Print. So these are not like exactly what I would do, I just think it and I have a very powerful Excos….The FLYTEAM that helps make these events come true, So I’m the Dreamer if you wanna call me that.
Q~ You’ve made mention of the FLYTEAM, do you think you have capable Executives?
A~ Overly Capable, Overly Capable. I have People who are very interested in working like Tolu (Swaggertols),Sifer, Sogo….u know these guys (Dare) wake up in the morning and the first thing they will say is “Law Society”, I got a phone call exactly 6am in the morning from Esther on something concerning Ladies Day, and I was like “Couldn’t this Wait, esther?”. That’s how Passionate she is, I have Tolu who is supposed to be here attending a conference in Calabar sending me mails every hour. We are communicating every single hour, that’s how passionate he is. Right now, Sifer is in the Office and i’m here (and this is past working hours) ,but he has passion about making the ‘Dream’ to come true. So, i can’t expect more than that, I have been Blessed with them (x2).
Q~ So what would you expect from your successor, or what kind of person would you like to succeed you.
A~ Okay, that’s a very difficult Question, (cuts off and greets passers-by)…..Okay, as to who i want to be my successor, yes…its going to be somebody who can fulfil all the things i wasn’t able to pull off. First and Foremost, Somebody who can maintain the Standard Quo. When i got into office, at the risk of being called a boaster now, i met a lot of things that were not put right. E.g Simple filing, No documentation of transaction and agreements etc, u know, everything should be put in paper so we have proper understanding of the system. So when somebody else comes, Atleast, we should keep the culture, improve on it ofcourse and then things that i wasn’t able to pull off. Like for example, i started the committee on the BUS Project, In the Corporate world, the Speed isn’t like two individuals saying ‘Hey, give me something and the other guy says ‘i’ll give you tomorrow”. In the corporate world, they say: “we will bring it up during our next board meeting”, the Board meeting might not hold until June, So I have a lot of things that are not going to be finished definitely, But I pray for somebody who can continue this project, keep up with the Pace…i keep shouting FLYTHINGS, I like Speed…that’s the kind of person i want, somebody who is forward-thinking and ready to take all the risk and sacrifice as much as it takes for the people.
Q~ There have been news around the Faculty that the Senate Elections will hold soonest, and many people don’t have the details, as to the reason behind bring back the senate and all.
A~ I believe in democracy and i believe in seperation of Powers, and i believe that as soon as you can establish the Separation of powers to happen, it should happen. Whether or not people think it is the right thing,The School authority has refused to recognise the Senate in the Faculty, we as students of the Law,; we are taught about the Separation of powers, and if we don’t show it to the entire school, Who will?? Like Dettol will say, Who will???
So we are acknowledging the fact that we are going to do it,especially because the Professor, Our very Loving and affable Dean, Professor I.O Smith (SAN) has agreed to recognise it if the school won’t. As soon as he decided he will, we said ok, we gonna set it out to do it, but we didn’t have time last semester, we waited till resumption, and first two weeks, students were not in school….and you know what?…Now is a good time.
Even if there would be senators for only a few weeks, they can check everything that we’ve done throughout the session, I wanna be checked.
Q~(cuts in)….allow me to interrupt for a sec, Some people are coming out to say the incoming Senators will be mere puppets.
A~ Okay, First and foremost, the person has the right to say it (I have no problems with that…**smiles**), I can understand your point. So anybody has a right to their opinions, so if he thinks so…that’s his business. They must have grounds for saying that, i haven’t heard those grounds, maybe they might be real.
However, from my perspective…I do not think its going to be a puppet show. That person has just insulted people who he doesn’t even know, people who doesnt know ‘s gonna run for the post. He doesn’t even know whether they are people of integrity before calling them puppets. We are taught about Fair-hearing and this person is supposed to know that, he hasn’t even heard the person out….its unfair, I don’t think i should address the issue any further.
Q~ We have heard about your trip to Russia, and we would like to know if it was a personal trip, or sponsored by the University or Faculty??
A~ It wasn’t a personal trip, and it wasn’t sponsored by the faculty,it was sponsored by the University of lagos. The university sponsored Students with the highest GPs, The top 3 academic students who are President at the same time. The President of Social science happens to be the highest with a 4.4 G.P and the second from Business-administration with 4.1,and mine at that time was 4.04 & it happened to be higher than the Education President who had 4.02. So my luck was 0.02 & that how i was very grateful i got it in the previous semester because that was what guaranteed me the free trip to russia although it wasn’t a trip for fun really, It was one to represent d univesity or so i thought. On getting there, I realised that we were the only persons from the Country & West Africa as a whole. It was to attend the G-20 youth summit and the people at this particular event were members of the G-20, they were Student Leaders in their own capacity in their own country and we were merely there as what you might call observers, so what we had was Observers Status. We could’nt exactly contribute to the papers there were making to the G-20 Heads of states. But what we were able to do as Observers surprisingly, we were allowed to actually share our opinion and state the position of things from our country e.g when questioned on the issue of adoption, i told them,here in Nigeria, you have to be abandoned (especially in Western Nigeria) to be adopted. They were shocked because in their countries even if the parents are known and indentifiable, you can still adopt those parent’s kids. Infact, parents put up their kids for adoption. So that’s the place where you can share different opinions from different countries & I made wonderful friends from different parts of the world from indonesia to the US e.t.c and I also came to the realisation that we have a long way to go, especially with the Number 1 issue i.e Reputation.
“Nigeria has a bad reputation”, I did’nt know it was that bad, although I blamed it on the Press, I think the Press are either ill-informed or they just have something against us. Sometimes, they exaggerate issues and I told a Chinese guy my friend Tim; Hey, this isn’t real, i have been in Nigeria all this while and i have never seen a riot (Real life) ,I hear about it somtimes but it doesn’t happen everyday & its an exception when it happens,we are a peace-loving nation and we love good things too.
Then they tell you that they get emails from Nigeria (fraudsters) everyday asking me to put money in one account and i said okay okay, those guys are the exceptions but they do it well. They are few but they do alot of those things So you are quick to generalise. Then I tell them them what we learnt from the White man, that “All Generalisation are false” including this one, which they conceded and accepted that maybe some people are good. I”m like, Yeah, you’ve met me…what do you think about me,”do I look like I want ur purse”.
One of the things i was very happy about was that @least i had a small skill, ordinary playing the flute won me so many friends and they were so Happy–“So They do this in Nigeria”? And they started generalising again, saying Nigerians may be good people…though I didn’t mind that Generalisation (laughs). When i spoke to them, they were surprised saying “you speak okay” how come… have you ever been anywhere else, and i said “No, i have been nowhere”.(I lied) you know, i have always been in Nigeria. I went with them to the Club, Siteseeing, made friends, I was happy i was able to do some work on our reputation but we do have a long way to go as a Nation.
Q~ Anyway, you just talked about making friends…..we see them in your pictures and most of those pictures have been trending online via BBM et facebook, so are you keeping in touch with some of them or you probably have a girlfriend there???
A~ I’m in touch with most of them, Infact, We have a facebook group exclusively for people who attended the forum &apart from that, I have some on my BBM but these guys are extremely busy people, they are young people but their thinking is far wider than the average Nigerian guy. you hear a 21-yr old American complaining about the Drone ,you know “” Drones shouldn’t be used in modern warfare or shud be regulated”” and i’m wondering “how can this guy be so passionate”. “Doesn’t he know about kanye and Jay-z, why can’t he worry about that, about their next album, or the collaboration and the likes”” . They tell you about international laws and how its regulating the multinational companies & then one of them came to me saying “Do you that if Apple Company is a country, it would be the 6th richest country in the world and a lot of facts that made me realize i need to do some work.
It just woke me up that I should go and learn these things, we are not living in isolation in this country, we need to think ahead, i know poverty has covered us with things like food et clothes but the world is not going to wait for us, we need to learn all that, its a peculiar situation, i know – but as much as we worry about job and dinner etc, we should also worry about what’s happening around the World, It was a wonderful experience for me.
To be Contn……..
See Pictures Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here Here and Here
more pictures coming