Onabolu takes student election
Tears were flowing and emotions were high at Wilf’s Thursday evening, as Mike Onabolu was named president of the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) for the 2012-13 year.
“It’s still like a dream, you know what I mean?” said an emotional Onabolu, still trying to digest all that has happened. “I wish I could call all my family at the exact same time, and all my best friends, and message them all at exact same time and hug them, all at the same time.”
Clearly overwhelmed with emotion, Onabolu took the time immediately after the results were announced to thank and hug all his supporters. When asked what his plans were for the night, Onabolu said, “When I can’t speak anymore and when thank you isn’t enough, I’m going to see what they [his supporters] want to do.”
“Sleep will be there eventually, for sure,” he laughed.
Second place in the presidential race was Jenny Solda, followed by Laurier Brantford’s Nolan Kreis.
“My campaign team worked extremely hard and we brought forward the campaign that we wanted to bring forward and I’m happy for Mike,” said Solda, moments after the results were announced. “I think it’s a personal growth experience, you learn a lot about yourself and you learn a lot about the people that you trust.”
Kreis, unfortunately, was not present in Waterloo when the results were announced at Wilf’s. After three weeks of extensive campaigning against Solda and Kreis, Onabolu had nothing but kind words to say about his opponents.
“I think they did a great job, I think they should hold their heads high,” he added. “I have so much love for both of them, I wouldn’t have wanted to run with anyone else.”
But it seemed that students had one candidate in mind.
“I think people liked what I was bringing in terms of platform, and they believed I could do this, and they trust me,” Onabolu continued. “And I don’t want to break their trust.”
At the open forum in Waterloo on Tuesday, Zahra Sultani, once a candidate in the presidential race, announced that she was stepping down. But at Wilf’s she explicitly appeared to be pleased with the outcome.
“I am very happy and I’m really glad that it went well and I’m really excited for next year and for Michael because obviously he’s a really good guy, very experienced,” explained Sultani.
However, she does not regret her decision to drop out. “I’m not regretting my decision at all and I’m quite happy with what I did,” she admitted.
Despite the fact that polling was primarily completed online, voter turnout only reached a figure of 31.7 per cent, down from 35 per cent last year. Chris Walker, the current chair and CGO of the WLUSU board, asserted that this is higher than most Ontario universities.
Jesse Finn, the chief returning officer during the election period, believed the election went fairly well, even though some demerits had to be issued.
“I think everyone did a very good job, and again to the students who came out and voted, that was great,” Finn said. He added that while the decrease in voter turnout was a bit discouraging, the difference from last was minimal.
For Onabolu though, his focus as president next year will to make sure that students are satisfied with what he has to bring to the position, ensuring that he’ll try his best.
“I can’t let them down.”
— With files from Linda Givetash