Akin Ajayi is the President of Abeokuta Sports Club, he was elected in January 2017 after the reign of Eng. Mutiu Adebowale popularly known as Mr. Akin who is from the Moonlight section was a former Vice President of the club. He was also a onetime Welfare Officer, Moonlight Section and Secretary, Moonlight Section. He was offered employment as an Assistant Lecturer in 1985 at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta Ogun State, where he rose through the ranks and became a Chief Lecturer in 2013., General Manager, Moshood Abiola Integrated services (MAPINSCO) Ltd.
Member, 10th Governing Council, Member, Academic Board, Member, Appointments, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee, Chairman, Ceremonies and Social Committee Chairman, Transportation Management Committee Director, School of Science and Technology, Head, Pre-ND Programme.
He was elected as Chairman ASUP Ogun, a position he held successfully for three years before he was later elected as Publicity Secretary of the National body of ASUP, a post that made him traverse the length and breadth of Nigeria and relate with influential personalities in government. He is also the President of Senior Staff Club, MAPOLY. In this interview with Bunmi Mustapha, Akin Ajayi opens up on his experience as the President of Abeokuta Sport Club in the last seven months and how he combines his job as a lecturer.
You have been the president of Abeokuta sports club for a couple of months now, how does that make you feel?
I can’t see any difference because I have always been in such position of leadership, I’m just my normal self.
Can you share with our readers your experience since your inauguration?
It has been very interesting, in the sense that there had been some challenges and I have been able to breakthrough those challenges, and it has been an interesting period. My members are very cooperative, both young and old, the other challenges like you know is that we are in the economic recession, so those expected to assist financially have not been forthcoming and we have been very prudent in our expenditure. I have also been able to ensure that there is peace in the club, so many things have taken effect, there has been development.
Like I said during campaign period that we have been working inside the club, that I want to make sure the fence and entrance are befitting, and that I have been able to start work on. Presently we are doing a massive gate, once that is done we will move in.
We have also been doing a lot of maintenance work, because when you go on maintenance, you won’t have much to spend on your development, but we have been able to manage the two, things are going on well, and definitely before the year runs out there will be a lot of changes. Development and maintenance is going to be our watchword because we have to put the structure we met on ground in good shape.
Between members, there is a lot of peace at the club, people feel free now to move around, the complaints from them not knowing those who are in the club have become something of the past. We have also improved on the security, people don’t just come into the club now, and we will continue to improve on it as we are bringing a lot of strategy, so that those who want to come into the club will be those who are invited and not just those who want to come in. As you know that Abeokuta is turning into an ultra cosmopolitan city so we have to quickly embrace security.
Would you say being the President of Abeokuta Sports Club has changed you or taken away some things about you?
Yes it has, I like going out, but I don’t like being loud, when I go out I want to go in quietly, catch my fun, enjoy myself without people knowing am there. But now being the president, even when I want to leave the club to attend a function, I cant go alone, some members have to follow me there, and immediately I get there it is always like, he is here , that has taken my privacy away from me, which I am coming to terms with because it is somehow when you go into a place and everyone is welcoming you, it is not my thing at all. I just want to catch my fun quietly and leave. It is also a full time job to run a club of this nature, because we have not really employed those who can manage the club, so we work directly with our workers.
My co-members and myself are involved seriously in the running of the place, if we had been able to employ capable hands, we will just be giving the policy and directions, but now, we have to make sure they do this and that which takes a lot of time. Every morning I have to be at the club before 8am, and I also have to go to work around 10am, come back here again around 3pm and work till late before going home.
Weekends are for socials everywhere, sometimes I have to travel, and also ensure that members are satisfied whiever function they attend, those who are using your facilities for socials, you have to make sure things are in order in terms of service, and is not easy doing all these, and it is very stressful, by the time you are going home to sleep, you have to wake up and start thinking of what to do the next day, at the same time wake up as early as 4am even if you are going to be somewhere at 12am, I have to tidy up something. It is draining me, but thank God, he has given good health and I believe I will continue to have good health.
You are still a lecturer at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta, how do you combine you lecturing job with being the president together?
Well, when you are a teacher, if you don’t know people, you won’t really enjoy it, you have to love people, you have to love my kind, and that is what will bring out the best in you, since I have been a teacher.
I have always been mixing with both workers and student, and it gives me a lot of satisfaction, because when you teach, you watch someone grows up, someone is admitted and you teach, and when the person is graduating you just look at the person and say I remember when these ones were coming in, then you see them grow up, getting married and you get to any office and see people
I have always been mixing with both workers and student, and it gives me a lot of satisfaction, because when you teach, you watch someone grows up, someone is admitted and you teach, and when the person is graduating you just look at the person and say I remember when these ones were coming in, then you see them grow up, getting married and you get to any office and see people greeting , and you ask yourself where you know them from, and they tell you, you lectured them in a certain year and department.
So, it gives me lots of satisfaction and the drive to continue to do the work, but you know, as you rise, you get less lecturing to do, but you go more into research which makes you limited to the number of students you lecture and come in contact with.
Most times I want to lecture those who come in their first year, but my status won’t really give that to me, but I intend that after maybe two to three years I will make it a rule to teach the younger ones, because that is where the real work is, by the time they grow after two or three years, they know what they want from what they have been taught and delivering it by themselves.
But when they come in, they need direction and you need to mould them to have that culture of reading and researching on their own, and that is where the real fun is because they ask a lot of questions, but by the time they are getting to final year, we ask them questions, they cannot be asking us anymore, and when they ask me question that is when I feel fulfilled.
Combining the two does not really affect me, because of my status in the institution, I teach less, but we do more of research work and administrative work, which is a group thing, so when people are doing research, we exchange ideas, so at the end of the day it is less in activities than when you lecture the younger ones.
Now I attend more meetings, being the general manager of the schools investment company, I have to go out looking for jobs and how to make money for the school, because that is the school IGR and we have to continue improving on the IGR year in year out, but you still have things to do in your department, a lot of meeting to attend to being chairman of committees, so all these things you get tired, immediately I hit the bed, I sleep off and wake up early to start the next day’s work.
The best thing is for you to make sure you relax when you want to really relax, am fitting into it, although it is not easy but I deliver.
Is there a time you look at yourself and say this is too much I didn’t bargain for this?
I want to say that, throughout my journey in life, I never thought I will be in the limelight, like I have been in recent times, I have always looked at it that I want to be a teacher and a researcher, I will just be in the corner at my office, go to class, go to lab and do some work, but as I was growing up, I believe the turning point was my belief that teachers, lecturer are not being well paid, we have to fight for ourselves, and before you know it, I turned into a unionist and I thought it was going to be a small thing.
So before I know it, I became the chairman ASUP and went into national office fighting government to improve on our welfare, so that brought me out and I met a lot of people. So, my social interactions increased and before you know it people were saying I have to continue leading, within the institution, I became the chairman of the staff club, that was how I met myself here because in the club people say I have the character and ability to lead.
I will just say people who believed in me were the ones pushing me, I never bargained for it, my background will not even allow me to be going into all this noise making, because it is a little bit of politics, which we never believe in my family is good for people who want to be themselves, because when you want to go into politics you have to turn yourself into another thing entirely , but I thank God, those who have trust in me and believe in me, I have never disappointed them, and I have always been praying that I will continue to move because of what I have been able to put together, but the real me doesn’t like noise.
What new things and development should we be expecting at the club?
We have so many outstanding sporting facilities that we have not worked on, especially the table tennis complex, I want to complete that. I also want to make sure that the swimming pool will start functioning, we have started it, we will go back to it, and I believe we have done 70 percent of the job, the major reason why we are not in a hurry to complete it is the maintenance, but once we see how we can do the maintenance, we will get back to work, but definitely we will be touching all the sporting sections, we want to make sure they have all the facilities to improve in doing exercises. We also want to introduce the badminton, build a football turf so that those who are still agile will be able to play.
In fact some people want volleyball, we are also trying to see how to do that because we have a lot of youths coming to the club now and we need more of youthful games. We have a lot of work to do, but we want to complete one before moving to the next, we don’t want to just start without completing everything, I believe before the end of our tenure all the sporting sections will be smiling.