Victor Ika is an undergraduate student at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Eastern Mediterranean University. He is also the current Nigerian Student Society President of EMU. As well as new educative programs and the ongoing entertainment organisations, Ika expressed that while he is in office, one of his main focuses is on the welfare of Nigerian students during their stay in North Cyprus, which means accommodation and food. “Very soon we are going to put up an announcement for the food bank”.
Why do you think it’s important that there are student societies in EMU?
Well, I believe that societies are put in place by the International Office to help in not only bringing students from the same country together, it also helps the International Office as well to reach every student. So if each country for example Nigeria has a group where they meet together, it’s easier for the International Office to have effect on all the students than trying to get across to them individually. So societies help clusters to bring us together as people from the same country and helps our bond as well as help the International Office to relate to our issues that may be peculiar to Nigerian students and not peculiar to a non-Nigerian students, so mainly it helps the International Office relate to us better based on what we need directly.
What do you think the Nigerian Student Society contributes to the life of the Nigerian students at EMU?
The idea of the society is to serve as a link between the Nigerian students and the University. So if the Nigerian students have a need or need something in particular pertaining to maybe our financial issues back in our country or any social issues, the Nigerian student society serve as a body that connects or conveys those needs to the International Office. We also help to try to bring Nigerian students together, try to solve disputes, try to help in the welfare of students, who needs it when it’s necessary.
What inspired you to be the President of the Nigerian Student Society?
For me the biggest inspiration for wanting to be the Nigerian student President is you know just being tired of how the society was viewed, being tired of how we were addressed, being tired of how we had lost so much respect in the eyes of the school. So that urged me to step up and try to repair that relationship and as well try to help the few people I could help in their life after school very importantly. And then given the fact that welfare was very much neglected we have tried to do as much work as we can to improve welfare for the few that we can.
Is there anything you feel you can do more to assist the Nigerian students before leaving office?
Yes we are working on more welfare programs to see how we can help, because in the end, aside to the educational programs, we also want to make sure that there is a welfare well-being that is present, you know people are well, have enough food to eat and have a roof over their head, so we are looking for how we can secure accommodation for people, you know, a little unit of accommodation, space in a house as well as enough food to last for a while, while they try to get themselves together. So we are working on all of that for now and very soon we are going to put up an announcement for the food bank.
What difficulties do you experience being the current Nigerian Student Society President?
The major difficulty I will say is diplomacy, first of all if you are going to lead a society, there are going to be a lot of ideas, there are also going to be oppositions so you have to be diplomatic with everybody and the people who you are in charge of, you have to be diplomatic with the university as well. So it puts you in a very tough position most of the time, you know you have to take hard decisions, you have to let go of some certain things because now you have to put the interest of everybody and try to wave them. So for me that’s like the most difficult. Secondly it’s very hard, over the last few years, it’s been quite hard to get people involved with the activities of the NSS which is due to a lot of reasons. Many people have lost interest, many people just don’t want to be part of it so for us that’s just like the second difficult thing, but we are doing our best to get people interested in the society and of course, to be part of it.
So what changes do you think/feel you have made as a student society president?
Well first things first, when we came in there was a very complicated relationship between the Nigerian Student Society and the university, so what we have tried to do is to restore that relationship, to restore trust between us and the school first of all and now we are trying to start education based programs, we are trying to connect the students in a more educative way I would say instead of just entertainment. We are used to a lot of entertainment which is good, but then we are trying to go the other route, trying to bring out more educative programs, trying to connect us on a different level like before so I feel we have made a significant change with how the school look at us now as a society because of the changes we have made and you know our effort in trying to bring students together and to think beyond what they see inside us.
So can you please state the duties and responsibilities you have as a president?
First of all, you’re the number one student who gets to be called if anything goes wrong in the society so if there’s an emergency, you will get to be the first person who receive the call even if it’s the middle of the night. The first duty is you are responsible for all Nigerian student that is the first duty being the president means I am responsible to keep the peace within and among Nigerian students, and am responsible for the welfare of Nigerian students as well so if anything goes wrong with any Nigerian student anywhere, I am responsible for that. So that’s pretty much the duty of the president.
Is there anything you would like to say about the team of the Nigerian Student Society?
I want to thank all my team members, without them this wouldn’t have been possible and I want to thank the International Office for their continuous support as well and also Nigerian students generally who voted for me and gave me an opportunity to be their representative, and I look forward to a successful last few months in office.