Changing the System: How to Run a Successful Student Government Election

Having run for a second term in  Student Government, Secretary Emeritus Tania Twinoburyo should know a thing or two about what goes into the making of a successful elections campaign – and shares her insights and observations. 

The road to elections is a bumpy eye-opener. I say this because choosing to run for office is not that easy. It may look easy-going from the outside, but the inside’s a whole other story. Running for Student Government as the Secretary Emeritus opened up my eyes to see things in a clearer picture, both politically and socially.

Campaigning for a leadership position requires you to know what your presence, leadership and skills would bring to the Academy, and how you hope to improve and serve the life of the student body, better than the previous set of leaders.

I believe that what is most difficult about running for office is coming up with an effective manifesto – and not just one that you think will get votes from the student body.

‘Listening to the manifestos delivered, seeing what the student body wants and having a successful campaign are all ingredients that make a successful election stew.’

Campaign times are very interesting times here on campus, as you need to gauge your audience and your opponents. Listening to the manifestos delivered, seeing what the student body wants and having a successful campaign are all ingredients that make a successful campaign stew. However, the one thing that you should avoid is to focus too much on what your opponent is doing, as you end up losing focus on what you want to do.

An Effective Strategy 

We had about a week to campaign and my stategy was to focus more on telling people that change takes time; it is a process. I did this because, having served in Student Government, I have experienced how things may not always turn out as wanted, and that a lot of things take time to effect. However, if you have a clear strategy on how you plan to do something and a time frame in which you want to do something then you’re most likely to be more successful. As someone once said: “Hold the Vision. Trust the process. Change takes time, but you will always see the beauty at the end.”

The key to a successful campaign is being true to yourself. If you are true to yourself, others will see that too. If you are not honest with yourself and your potential, people will pick it up. Even if they do not, and you actually win the election, you are bound to have a tougher time because you did not clearly think things through and you were not honest with what you can and cannot do.

Know your vision, make sure it is practical. Create a Roadmap for yourself. This entails knowing your student body (the people you would like to lead), do research on the things you would like change, test the feasibility (Is it practical?) And make sure YOU CAN DO IT.

The New Student Government, inducted at assembly on Monday, 23 April, comprises, from left: 

Pape Abdul (Entertainment Rep), David Tago (Clubs and Society), Jesse Mwangi (Treasurer), Ayotomiwa Akinyele (Academic Rep), Tania Twinoburyo (Chairlady), Adnan Shafi (Chairman), Dorcas Mendin (Secretary), Kiinga Kiki (Sports Rep), Gerry Migwi (IT Rep), Ubongabisi Asuquo (Student Wellness Rep).