PRECLINICAL PRESS’ SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH EX-UIMSA PRESIDENT
- Can we meet you sir?
My name is Ọjọ́ Olakorode Jacob; almost a graduate of Medicine and Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. I am from Ekiti State.
- Give us a brief history of your political career
In 100L, I was totally uninvolved in any sort of politics whatsoever. I was not involved in anything even. I never stabbed classes though… not until clinical school!
In 200L, I became a Senator and Deputy Senate Registrar of UIMSA Senate
In 300L, I was a Senator, Assistant Class Rep and Assistant Deputy Registrar of UIMSA Senate.
In 400L, I was the Class Rep and Deputy Senate Chairman of UIMSA Senate
In 500L, I was the General Secretary
In 600L, I became the UIMSA President
- Do you have any other political aspirations in the future? What are they?
Of course I do! In fact, UIMSA has served as a bedrock for my future political aspirations.
Most importantly, I would like to be the Governor of my State; becoming a Senator is not a bad idea either. If appointed, I would love to be a Minister too!
- Does this mean you do not hope to be the President of Nigeria someday?
No, I do not. It was not part of the things God spoke to me about. I heard explicitly from God about the Governorship post; the rest are just my own aspirations. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with hoping to be the President but let’s just say I have my own personal reservations.
- I understand some folks study medicine never to practice. Do you intend to practice?
If you know my story, you would definitely know the answer to this question. Let me share it with you.
I finished from Secondary school in 2008 with the best SSCE result in Ekiti State. I applied for Medicine in University of Ilorin but for some reason, I missed admission that year. In 2009, I applied to University of Benin. I was offered Botany –now Plant Biology and Biotechnology- instead. I went in for it anyways, with the hopes of resitting for the PUTME the following year.
In 2010, I applied to University of Benin again. I was offered Integrated Science Education this time. Note that I was already in my 2nd year by this time, with a GP of 4.98 out of 5! In 2011, I wrote JAMB for the 4th time and still chose University of Benin! Fortunately or unfortunately, Medicine got dis-accredited in Benin that year and candidates were given a chance to choose another university. On the advice of a friend, I chose University of Ibadan for a change. And what do you know? I got in! I was 1 month into 300L when I got into UI to study the course of my dreams!
An important lesson for young champs out there. No matter what life throws at you, do not forget your vision! This year makes it for me 9 years of being an undergraduate!
So tell me. Would I go through all of that to end up not practicing? Of course not! Matter of fact, I just got a job offer this morning… I haven’t even graduated yet!
- Will you work in a private or government-owned hospital?
Uhm… I really do not know yet. I have probably not given it so much thought.
- Do you hope to have a hospital of your own?
This is my long term vision! In addendum, I hope to own a University of Medicine similar to the one in Ondo State. This is probably the first time I shared that in public!
- If not medicine, what would it have been?
This might come as a shock, but this course is not in any way similar to medicine… History!!!
- History? Why History sir?
Having established to you my love for politics, you will agree with me that History cannot be shoved aside. I believe that to make an effective change, you need a good measure of knowledge of where the system is coming from. This helps to proffer pragmatic solutions to the present and future problems. I believe this is the solution to Nigeria’s innumerable predicaments.
- You’re technically done. The seemingly long journey of 7 years has come to an end. Where do you go from here? What are your immediate plans?
House job for 1 year and NYSC for another 1 year. After 2 years, I will commence either Residency or Masters. I could have My Residency in Nigeria possibly, though I prefer to have it abroad. If it’s Masters I’m going for, Nigeria is not even an option. I would never be able to practice permanently or for any long-term outside Nigeria because of my political ambitions.
- What could you possibly have your Master’s degree in?
My original plan was to have my Masters in O&G (Obstetrics and Gynecology) or Pediatrics. After going through UCH and UIMSA however, my plans have changed. A fire for Public Health has been lit in my heart. I love community service and Public Health is what I will most likely do for my Master’s Program.
- The Pacesetters… what was the idea behind the name of this outgoing administration?
The name of this administration was not even something I coined. It was given by the Executives. I shared my dreams with them and they came up with the name… THE PACESETTERS
- What were the objectives of The Pacesetters?
My major concern before even becoming President was this: Many UIMSAites were apathetic about the affairs of UIMSA. Only very few were interested. Turn outs to organized events were usually so disheartening, we’d have to invite outsiders to our symposia to fill empty seats even. So you can say that my main objective was to arouse and build the interests of UIMSITES in the affairs of UIMSA thus the name, PACESETTERS… we were going to see results that had never been seen. This is not to say however that the preceding administration had not done a good job.
- Give us brief highlights of the achievements of this tenure
All kudos goes to my Executives! Nothing would have been achieved without their ever responsible, loyal and able hands. Let me give brief highlights of what each was able to accomplish during this tenure:
Vice President- Mr. Tolulope Oni
- New means of sourcing for fund
- Getting us sponsorships from numerous partners including One.org, Gionee, HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) and DSI (Darolls Support Initiative) amongst others.
- Getting National Celebrities like Fela Durotoye to appear for our symposia
General Secretary- Mr. Muhammed Bashir Yahya
- Active continuance of Donate a Book project
Assistant Gen. Secretary- Miss. Aminat Ogunfolu
- UIMSA ushering club.
Financial Secretary & Treasurer- Miss. Ayokunmi Ayodele and Miss. Adenike Adejuwon respectively
- New ways of sourcing for fund
- Special ways of handling funds to ease accountability- invoices and record keeping
Public Relations Officer- Mr. Boluwatife Aderonmu
- Launched the UIMSA website
- Link for due payment will soon be made available
- UIMSA Medscion Magazine launched for the first time. Made available in soft copy due to observed wastages over the years.
Sports Secretary- Miss. Modupeola Savage
- NIMSA Games in Ilorin
- Set the pace for functional UIMSA sport teams: football, basketball and chess among others.
Special Duties Officer (Clinical) – Mr. Aderemi Adesina
- Organized maiden orientation program ever held for clinical students
Special Duties Officer (Pre-Clinical) – Mr. Olaoluwa Olorunfemi
- Got sponsorship for Fresher’s welcome: Prof. O. A. Ojengbede
- Film Show for Freshers
- Significant discount at Mama Anat discount for all Preclinical UIMSAites
- Geared interests of Preclinical students in UIMSA’s affairs. Greatest turn-up ever recorded for the health week!
- What were the challenges your administration faced?
The ‘No to 70K/100K’ protest. Till now, there has never been any student protest in the college of medicine. But then, it was what the people wanted. Though it appears as though the protest was futile, never again will the President and General Secretary be absent from any meeting where crucial decisions concerning the College will be made.
Again, due to this protest, some of the aforementioned partnerships and sponsorships were lost.
Lack of due support from the college
- Do you have anyone in mind to take this ‘mantle’ from you?
I will not answer this question directly. All I will say is that I would love for the succeeding President and all Executives of his Administration to have been actively involved in this system. A relative outsider will have no idea of how the system works and might build wrongly on a perfectly laid foundation.
- What advice do you have for the succeeding administration?
Success in politics is not measured by what you do in your tenure alone. Rather, it is dependent on the successive administrations after yours. Keep up the good work.
- To more trivial issues sir, I’ve heard quite a number of ways for describing short people: “short essay, down to earth, brief, concise…” Has your height ever been an issue of concern to you? Did it in any way affect your self-esteem in your years in medical school?
I am neither of all those ones. I am VERTICALLY CHALLENGED!!! *Laughter all the way*
Well, I won’t say it affected me in any negative way per se. From my Primary School years, folks used to say that my deficiency in height was more than made up for in my intelligence level. I knew myself that I was smarter than any average student. People didn’t see the height deficiency… all they saw was the intelligence! They saw the Class Captain, the Librarian, the Head Boy…
Short people are stereotypically funny and characteristically wicked. I was the full-blown latter in JSS1. “Short man Devil” was what my mates used to call me! I hated ladies so much too! They started ‘famzing’ in 3rd term of JSS1 probably when they noticed how intelligent I was.
In medical school, my height deficiency has been more of a plus than a minus:
- It was an attractive factor for people to see the deposits in me. If an averagely-heighted person and I were to accomplish the same feat, I would be showered more encomium than the person because of my height deficiency. People are somewhat amazed that short people can get things done… fine by me! It makes me the cynosure of all eyes; it brings me into the spotlight
- I can confidently say that I am the most popular UIMSA President in UI and College of Medicine. Almost everyone knows me!
- What do you have to say to short people like you sir, who feel inferior and cursed because of their height?
For me, it has always been a matter of internal inspiration. You have legs that are not just long enough- Nick Vujicic, the man born without limbs, still made his life worth the while! Never capitalize on your negatives. There are positives. Find them and invest in them like I did! I noticed early enough my limitations and my strengths. I shut my eyes against my limitations and built on my strengths- intelligence, people skills, leadership skills… Now, my limitations do not even mean anything to me. Matter of fact, I DO NOT WANT TO BE TALLER!!!
I have never had a romantic relationship. My sisters would tease me about my height and advise me not to chase ladies for seemingly obvious reasons. They charged me to work hard and assured me that women would be the ones chasing. On a lighter note, now, I naturally assume that as a lady, you must be less than 21 years of age if I approach you for a romantic relationship and you complain about my height! As you grow older, you’ll see yourself asking deeper questions and looking for different qualities.
Professor Isaac Folorunsho Adewole is just a little bit taller than I am. He was the HOD of O&G, went on to be the VC, and now, the Minister of Health. He could very well become the Governor of his State!
Your height deficiency becomes a significant limitation when you give it too much concern.
- What are your hobbies?
I love to read; I love to meet new people; I love community service.
- I did not hear you list sports among those. Does this mean you don’t like sports at all?
I abhor sports! Ordinary march-past in primary school, I could not do! I tried at football once or twice… the bigger guys would hit me and run me over. But then, I am a football fan! Man Utd. for life!!!
- Can you drive sir?
I cannot drive! I was too short to learn after Secondary School. Last time I tried, I discovered I could see the road now though. So when I can, I’ll learn to drive
- It is rumored that you are on quite a number of scholarships sir. What do you have to say about this?
How could you possibly know that? Well, it’s very true. I’ve been collecting close to ₦700 000 per session since 200L. 6 scholarships in all! I won every scholarship I applied for but 2. These 2 I did not win because there was no allowance for the applicant to be on any other scholarship.
- Did your political involvement in any way affect your academic performance?
Honestly, it affected in both positive and negative ways, the positive being more pronounced. Every lecturer knows me! I set my VIVA questions myself! I would enter into the room filled with lecturers and they would just start laughing. They would hail me and tease “We must not ask you any hard questions o! We know what’s good for us… Oya tell us your favorite topic. What do you wish to speak on?” My 1st MB VIVA, I remember particularly! After choosing and speaking on Cardiac Cycle in my Physiology VIVA, I proceeded for my Anatomy VIVA and in the same vein, chose to speak on the same thing! Cardiac Cycle is not even studied in Anatomy!!! I had the same testimony for my Parts 2 and 3 MBs!
The downside however is that Politics, as influential as it could be, is not meant for the average medical student. Besides UIMSA, I was involved in a whole lot of other associations: NIMSA, IFMSA, IMFC, Red Cross… Like I said earlier, I never ‘stabbed’ in Preclinical school. In Clinical school however, ‘faffing’ was a regular culture!
- What advice do you have for your young colleagues like us who hope to go into politics and do similar and even greater things than you have done?
In my preclinical years, majorly 200L & 300L, I restricted my political involvement to just my class and fellowship. I would advise anyone to do the same. Not until my final year in medical school when I knew I was going to be running for President did I stop being an Executive in my fellowship. I am a big-time lover of God and I take Him very seriously! Basically, my political involvement in my preclinical years was geared towards my clinical years.
Once in clinical school, there’s more than a 70% chance that you will become a medical doctor. This assurance is not there in preclinical school! Hence, this is the time to fully spread your tentacles and involve in anything worth the while.
If you spend all your years in medical school with your head buried deep in your books alone, you will regret it! There’s more to life than making a distinction! Involvement in extra-academic activities boosts your CV and enhances your chances of winning big-time scholarships. Academic performance makes up for less than 20% of the criteria needed for these scholarships. The rest are based on your involvement in extra things! These people want to know that you have invested in the society in one way or the other. Then and only then can they be sure you would continue and do even more if you are empowered.
- In retrospect, is there anything you wish you did better?
*Thinks for a while*
I wish I’d invested more in interpersonal relationships. Like I said earlier, I love to meet new people. Throughout my years of study, I was nominated 9 times for most friendly; I won 7 times! Following up and building intimate interpersonal relationships however, has not particularly been my forte. I have over 7000 unreplied messages from 600+ chats on my Whatsapp alone!
I also wish I’d invested in a romantic relationship! I’d like to say I don’t have any problems! I am completely functional!
I guess I was scared of commitment. But then, I have no regrets at all! A romantic relationship could have possibly been a form of distraction. You never can tell. Besides, I don’t buy the ‘trial-and-error’ idea. I want to marry the first person I date straight! *Laughs*
Time will tell now though. I don’t know for sure when I’ll start dating.
- Do you want to marry a medical doctor like yourself?
Yes, I would like to marry a medical doctor. I would love to marry a professional at the very least.
- On a scale of one to ten, how fulfilled are you sir?
*Thinks for a while*
I’d give myself a 9+/ 95%
You could say I feel much fulfilled!
I’ve never failed any exam till now- Not less than 60 in any of my Part 1 courses (Highest was in Biochemistry, with 74%); I never lost any election; Politics did not ruin my relationship with God…
I’d give myself a 100% but for the protests that occurred! I’ve become everything I envisaged, and more!
Interview anchored by Adepitan Erioluwa
Assisted by Motolani Aremu