…Says many youths mistakenly view politics as a profession
In the realm of Nigerian politics, the journey of Honourable Timileyin Oyeniyi stands as a testament to the transformative power of youth engagement and dedication to public service. From his early days as the Public Relations Officer of the student union at Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, to his pivotal role as a personal assistant to a senator, Timileyin has navigated the intricate pathways of politics with unwavering commitment and passion.
In this exclusive interview, we delve into Timileyin’s experiences, tracing his evolution from student politics to becoming a key figure in the political landscape of Osun state. He shares insights into the essential role of student unions in shaping future leaders, discusses the challenges faced by young politicians today, and highlights the crucial significance of effective media and public relations in political campaigns and governance.Excerpts
Could you tell us more about your role as the former PRO of the student union at Osun State Polytechnic, Ire? What were some of your key responsibilities during that time?
An average individual would easily grasp that the primary role of a Public Relations Officer (PRO) within any formal institution is to enhance the institution’s image and project goodwill to the public. I fulfilled this role for 14 months, in addition to my constitutional responsibilities. My main duties included conveying information about the policies and activities of the union to the polytechnic community, as well as managing the flow of information on campus and its surroundings.
You seem to have a deep passion for public and media relations. How did this passion develop, and how has it influenced your career choices and achievements?
I honed my skills in Public and Media Relations within the classroom, utilising study materials and receiving guidance from remote mentors. PR and media have become integral to my identity, as they’ve guided me into the realm of mainstream politics, and have opened significant doors for me in my political career.
Your involvement in politics appears to be significant. Can you share some specific instances where your political participation had a direct impact, especially in the victory of your party in the last election?
Following a commitment from the candidate who was running for governor at the time, now the current Governor of the state, regarding youth inclusion in governance, I actively campaigned alongside him throughout the entire state. My role was to represent the youth and advocate for the “Imole agenda” to reach every youth constituency in the state. Our message was well-received, and as a result, the youth now hold strategic positions in various branches of the government in Osun state that exceed our initial expectations.
Transitioning from student politics to becoming a personal assistant to a senator is quite a leap. What inspired this transition, and what do you find most rewarding about your current role?
I’ve obtained my current position through dedication and professionalism, and what I find fulfilling about it is that it’s preparing me for prospects in public service.
Considering your experience, how do you think student unions contribute to shaping future leaders, particularly in politics and public service?
I serve as a prominent illustration of student unionism. Like many prominent figures in Nigerian politics today, I believe that student unionism serves as a foundational platform for individuals seeking to test their leadership abilities and commitment to public service. At times, engaging in student unionism can be more demanding in terms of delivering results, as it involves working with like-minded peers who frequently scrutinise and question your actions, whether they are active or passive.
As someone deeply involved in the political landscape, what do you believe are the most pressing challenges facing the youth in politics today, and how can these challenges be addressed effectively?
One significant obstacle confronting young people in politics today is their tendency to enter the field without studying the intricacies of politics. Many youths mistakenly view politics as a profession rather than recognising it as a crucial platform for addressing societal issues. To address these challenges, we can promote re-sensitisation, advocacy, and the reorientation of youths through government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In your opinion, what role does effective media and public relations play in the success of political campaigns and governance? Are there specific strategies or approaches you find particularly effective?
The role of media in political campaigns is indispensable, as it serves as the primary tool for influencing voters in their decision-making process. Media plays a crucial role in helping the electorate gain a clear understanding of a political party’s manifesto and a candidate’s agenda.
Over time, employing appealing and persuasive strategies and approaches through the media has proven to be effective in achieving desired outcomes.
Being a personal assistant to a senator must involve a wide array of responsibilities. Could you share some insights into your day-to-day tasks and the skills you consider essential for excelling in this role?
Today, I multitask as I extend my duties beyond my office, taking on various legislative responsibilities such as motion and bill drafting. The required skills are diverse, with a strong emphasis on computer proficiency, public speaking, leadership, and a good understanding of protocols.
There are issues surrounding your graduation from Osun state Polytechnic, what are the issues, and how are you able to overcome them? We often refer to “job hazards,” but in my case, I’d call it an “activism hazard.” Today, people have a clear understanding of my beliefs and values.
Let it be on record that I successfully completed my graduation and fulfilled the mandatory NYSC program. Currently, I’m pursuing a degree in Mass Communication at FUOYE. Thank you.