“Students' academic needs is our priority”- COSA-LASU President

Habib Balogun is the president of Communication Students Association (COSA), Lagos State University School of Communication. The 400level student of the Mass Communication, department of Public Relations and Advertising speaks with Olasunkanmi Arowolo, Mass Communication, Journalism department, LASU.

•You have been in office for about four months, what are your achievements so far ?

Well, not too many can be said, rather, i will say we working on our plans nd basically, we've made the Students' academic needs as our priority. We were also able to hold an orientation programme for fresh students.

•What are the previous positions held and what propelled you
to the presidency?

In my first year (2008/2009), I represented my department as an honourable member of the Communication Students’ Parliamentary Council (CSPC), the legislative arm of COSA. I later went on to be the Chief Whip of same body in my second year (2009/2010) as well as doubling as an honourable representing school of communication on the floor of the Lagos State University Students’ Parliamentary Council (LASU SPC). In my third year (2010/2011), I left the
CSPC Chamber to become the Vice President of Communication Students’ Association and still an active member of the LASU SPC. Finally, en route to my final year (2011/2012), I resigned as the Vice President of COSA to vie for the presidency and on October 4, 2011 and November 11, 2011, I was elected in and sworn in as the sixth executive president of the Communication Students’ Association. Basically, what propelled my intention to vie for the presidency is about the will to serve and represent the interest of the students and also, help build a long lasting relationship between COSA and the outside world which in turn will help in the repositioning of LASU as a great citadel of learning and the re-branding of LASU students especially the Unionists in the public eyes.

•How would you compare the previous administration with the current administration ?

The only comparison is the dual campus system. Aside that, its an entirely different academic setting as per changes in the management structure. That is, the Vice Chancellor, Professor John Oladapo Obafunwa, Dean of Students' Affairs, Mr Kabir Akinyemi Dean of School of Communication, Professor Lai Oso and sub-dean of School of Communication, Dr Adeoye Adewale,amongst others.

•How then do COSA, as a body intends to affiliate with the new administration?

Create a mutual understanding between both parties to aid in the process of re-branding LASU. Liaison with all units to help build a better School of communication

•How would you describe the relationship between Executive and legislative arms of LASUSOC ?

The relationship is more like a political setting, so i would not want to dwell much on that.

•Since the suspension of the mother body, LASUSU, how has the faculty Union been surviving ?

There is no difference to when Lagos State University Students' Union (LASUSU) was in operation. We, COSA operate under different atmosphere. Don't know of other faculties, but ours has always been alone and neglected.

•What does the Communication Students’ Association stands for?

Communication Students’ Association (COSA) is saddled with the constitutional duty of representing the interests of the all matriculated students of school of communication, Lagos State University. This in most cases requires us to organise programmes aimed at promoting the growth and study of communication, embark on educational, entertainment and facility tours (locally and internationally), organise courtesy visits to media organisations, government agencies and professional institutes, etc. These programmes are regularly organised to equip the minds of the students intellectually and also reiterate their dedication towards academic affairs and this has to a large extent recorded tremendous impact on the faculty and the university community as a whole.

•To achieve all the set objectives, what are your plans?

Having successfully held an orientation day programme for the newly admitted students and at all times be at the service of the students, our next line of action is the Communication Students’ Association (COSA) Week where students will be thrilled to a week long string of events to shape their minds, measure their wits intellectually, academically, morally and fuse their knowledge of theories with practical understanding. The outlined events for the week are the health day talk show, inter school debate and quiz competition, media lecture, community service and our annual super ‘4’ football competition. We are also aiming at restructuring the COSA mini viewing centre into a multimedia centre as our capital project and also launch the first ever faculty (COSA) magazine as well as graduating students’ year book. To crown a successful administration and in achieving our stated mission statements, it is part of our duty to design and organise a state of the art media awards ceremony to reward outstanding students of the faculty, distinguished personalities and unique corporate organisations who have excelled greatly in the media world and other related sectors. Hence, necessitates the concept of Communication Students’ Association Awards (COSA AWARDS) which by God’s grace will be the fourth of its kind.

•What are the challenges you have had since you assumed office ?

A very big question I must confess because there are challenges we face in the course of performing our duties but I will be quick to add that the challenges though very tedious but quite motivating. The major is the fact that you have to seek for corporate and individual financial assistance to implement our projects and help to organise the various events. Our major problem in COSA is the issue of finance, and in seeking for funds, you miss classes, walk over long distances under the scorching sun and rain and dedicating all your time just to make sure you are on point. There are also minor challenges in school, where you just have to be concerned with all students issues whether required or not and most importantly, be conscious of your well being. Also, it has not been easy shuttling to govern dual campus (Ojo nd Ojuelegba); there are times when i would be in Ojo and my attention will be needed in Ojuelegba or vice versa other challenges include bridging communication gap, attending to students' issues.

•Talking about the COSA Awards, can you shed more light on it?

It is an annual faculty awards ceremony organised by the Communication Students’ Association (COSA) to recognise the outstanding performances of students, individual and corporate bodies within the school, the media and the society at large. This will be the fourth of its kind which is aimed at exposing the context of communication beyond textbooks and to encourage great achievers. The first edition of COSA Awards was proudly sponsored by MTN Nigeria (MTN COSA AWARDS, 2008). This time, there would be exiting award categories like Students’ Merit Awards, Corporate Sponsors’ Awards, Presidential Awards and Medal of Honours to recognise the impact of the principal members of past administrations.

•Who are your potential sponsors?

Presently, we are still working on a title sponsor for the awards ceremony. Aside that, there will be media partners and sponsors ranging form corporate organisations, to individual and government officials wanting to be part of the making of history.

•When is it happening, who are your target and where is it taking place?

Our target are all communication students (past, present and prospective) of not just LASU but other sister schools, academic staffs, media bodies, distinguished personalities, government top officials and corporate organisations. It is scheduled to hold at Banish Banquet Hall, Yaba Lagos on Friday, 29th June, 2012 concurrently
with the launching of the maiden edition of the COSA-LASU Magazine.

•Best of luck on that. In a matter of months, you will be relinquishing your position as the presidents, what are your expectations?

Firstly, is to concentrate on my final exams which is my primary aim of being a student and to finish on a high. I definitely will be happy to give the baton to a successor who will trail the path of success and continue from where time will catch up with me.

•Many a student don't see Students Unionism as a serious again. What do you think is behind this conception ?

Students though still feel the importance of LASUSU but i have noticed in the past two elections that the passion among the students has tremendously reduced basically due to the fact that dey cannot confront d school management or too busy in building their respective Grade Points (GP).

•What is your advice to aspiring students?

Well, my candid advice is for them to see the general interest as their primary concern and not personal interest. Also, not to let anybody or anything weigh them down in the course of discharging their duties and more so put into cognisance that their academics is very important and so doing should create a balance between both.

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