The inside scoop of Muyiwa Oki’s journey to become the next RIBA President

The following article has been written by Muyiwa Oki to give a first-hand and transparent account of the first two weeks of his campaign to become the next RIBA President.

Campaign check… Hustings 1/ 2/ 3 

I am standing for the RIBA President following a grassroots lobbying process, led by my peers – a community of architectural workers, to speak up for the future architect in this election. To give voice to a large section of our community who feel disenfranchised and under-represented.

I am campaigning for raising education standards and implementing new transparent and democratic engagement models within the RIBA. To focus on the future architect, promote transparency & inclusion, and build the skills for a digital future. I will be documenting the campaign process in collaboration with the Architecture Social focusing on the events that took place and any key takeaways.

Candidates announced

Monday, 20 June 2022, marked the RIBA announcement of the three candidates standing for president in this election cycle. There was a big rush for me to get on the ballot the week prior, to get the required 60 nominators of RIBA chartered members confirmed. The delayed RIBA announcement scheduled for 12pm moved to 5 pm, which left my article: There was this opportunity to actually do things with the BD looking a little premature and could have ended up in the bin. If for whatever reasons I was not announced as a candidate – not a good lewk.  A key takeaway is to have an excess of nominators to cater for a 50% cull rate when verification takes place.

A key takeaway is to have an excess of nominators to cater for a 50% cull rate when verification takes place.

The candidate’s announcement was followed by three quick-fire RIBA organised hustings “debates”, starting the following day Tuesday 21 June. This year, the debate format was an X-factor style rather than a Question Time. If you manage to join any of the three events, you will recall each candidate given their respective 20-minute timeslot. Five minutes for your opening address (your x-factor song) and the following 15-minutes for questions from the audience only (judges deliberation). 

With this format, there are no prepared questions, so my responses to judges’ questions were dynamic in nature. Saying that I did prepare for questions around specific themes. The RIBA election team will be posting online a single husting event, this will be the final in-person event, held on the 27 June. Watch this space for an update.

Key learning during this process is that public speaking skills need to be polished through dedicated practice. There is an ‘ABCD’ guide to delivering a good opening address. Get in touch with me to learn more. 

Campaign vs hustings

Hustings (noun) the campaigning associated with an election.

With the RIBA election team clarifying the difference between hustings and campaigning within the election rulebook, I am slowly appreciating the power of a good network. 

Campaigns are allowed from submission to the close of the poll. However, hustings and election meetings are restricted, as, under the official Election Rules, no hustings – outside the RIBA organised ones, can be held once the poll has opened on 28th June. 

Unfortunately, this discriminates against less well-known candidates. My constituency is disengaged RIBA members which is the segment of the profession least likely to tune in to the online hustings organised by RIBA.

With this, I have come to realise that part of being good at your job is the connections you have. For me, these connections are the reasons I managed to campaign with daily events in the diary to promote myself as an individual in the context of a RIBA president candidate for 2023. 

  1. Diversity issues podcast  (better name pending) – with Andrew Teacher at Blackstock consulting. My friend Andrew who runs a strategic consultancy and property PR company focused on communications, strategy, and research. My podcast episode will be out soon. It goes without saying, good external mics, make good podcasts. For this reason, this episode was recorded in person. 

In the meantime you can listen to another great episode about Real estate needs more ‘cognitive diversity’, Canary Wharf group. Listen here: https://lnkd.in/e-Cx7Rys

  • Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) radio, with my friend Mark Raymond at the University of Johannesburg. We talked about the value of architecture in contemporary society, the future of architecture practice and my journey in architecture so far. Podcast out next week. 
  • United Voices of the World – Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW) meeting – an in person meeting with the section of architecture workers, to discuss how best to develop a watertight policy, that will give me a clear mandate for change. 
  • LONDOWN podcast with Opencity. How do we commit to transformation within Architectural Practices? Sit down with me at the OpenCity Podcast to find out. Listen here: open-city.org.uk/the-londown

Takeaway #1 – There’s an ABCD guide to delivering an X-factor song/ speech.

Takeaway #2 – Planning and dedicated practice is key to proper execution.

Takeaway #3 – Don’t forget to have fun.

Thank you Muyiwa Oki for your insight on the first two weeks of campaigning. Don’t forget readers that the RIBA election is open for vote – find out here.

Muyiwa Oki

I am interested in the intersection of architecture and technology and aspire to work with cross-functional teams to craft products that enrich people's lives.


I have a particular interest in closed-looped systems and innovative circular economy schemes in the built environment.

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