Barrister Adekola Abdul-Kareem, is the President of Olabisi Onabanjo University Muslim Alumni (OOUMA) and also the chairman of Oyo state environmental protection tribunal. He expresses his challenges, achievements and aspiration as the president of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Muslim Alumni(OOUMA)
BY ADERONKE ADEYERI
WHAT are the achievements of this association under your leadership?
I thank Almighty Allah, as you rightly said I became the president of this association in 2012 and our constitution says one can only be a president for two terms and my people have found me worthy to lead the association again the second time.
I was a Vice President of this organization for four years which gave me the opportunity to understand the peculiarities of the association under our former president, Hon. Barrister Kaka.
As the vice president then, I was always the chairman, planning committee for all programs, so, I knew what was expected of me as the president. However, the first thing this administration has achieved is replenishing the association’s purse.
When we came into office, the association’s account was almost empty, so I told my people that we will never withdraw from the association’s purse again for our programs and that is what we have been doing. Presently, we have close to a million naira in our account.
Also, we gave out scholarships to ten students by paying N50,000 as part payment of their school fees. We have also been able to place few members in good organizations. We have also been able to create two more branches at the state level, one in the university campus, Ago Iwoye.
We have other programs apart from the annual get together like the annual Ramadan open lecture. The last was held in the university and this lecture is for the public and not just members.
We also communicate with members via email, phone numbers and even have some members residential address. We have our meetings at least four times a year at the general level. Members of the association who reside in the same state hold general meeting at the state level.
How has this organization impacted on non-members?
Let me say this organization is an academic and religion based association and as such we would not want to deviate from its core objectives. We collaborate with some other Muslim associations to help our members and promote Islam. We sponsor members to participate in programmes.
For now, we have not achieve much with our members. I want you to take this into consideration that the university produces thousands of members every year meaning our members will be increasing yearly and as such do not have the capacity to help the whole world.
As the president of this association, what are the challenges this administration encounter?
Every organization in Nigeria be it a governmental or non governmental organization has one problem in common, inadequate fund and this organization being an Islamic oriented and not a profit oriented organization.
We do not want to put any burden on our members and most members donate a token to the association leaving the burden on the shoulders of the executives. But I thank Almighty Allah who has been our help. Most times at the executive level, we task ourselves to run the association, implement the objectives of the association and organize our programs. The organization has a lot of programs but due to the financial constraints, we have to put them on hold.
Can you discuss these programs?
Sure, we have the plan of giving scholarships to indigent Muslim students at the university level but because of our purse, the number of indigent Muslim students. We were only able to give a selected few a reasonable amount to support their schooling. The association also has the objective of placing members in good organizations and companies strategically. We have many programs we have penciled down and very soon we will begin to unveil and execute them In sha Allah.
The problem of unemployment is also affecting us. A member who is not employed, I mean gainfully employed cannot contribute to the progress of the association. The state of our great university also pose a challenge to the association. Olabisi Onabanjo University needs the alumni to cater for her. This is a university that has produced many professors, lawyers, bankers and many others, deserves to be catered for.
The success of this university is also one of our major responsibilities and hence brings us some issues too. We also have the challenge of bringing our members together. This is an association for people who are scattered around the world. Bringing them together for meetings, lectures and other things is also challenging.