Committee Members—Cogs in the Wheel of UIMSA’s Machine?

On Friday, 24th May, 2024, the University of Ibadan Medical Students’ Association’s Senate ratified the lists of committee members for the 2023/2024 tenure. But committee members from the previous tenure remain in a state of limbo, as a practice that customarily signifies the end of their service to the committee is yet to be carried out.

The UIMSA Constitution makes provisions for various standing and ad-hoc committees, through which the day-to-day activities of UIMSA are run. Perhaps to ensure efficiency and accountability, many of these committees are headed by executives. Yet, no Executive—no matter how passionate and hardworking—can discharge their duties excellently as well as carry out their plans, without the dedication and rigour of the common UIMSAite working behind the scenes at committee level.

It is therefore surprising that more than five weeks after the tenure has officially ended, committee members have neither received the customary e-certificate of service to the committee, nor have they gotten any explanation as to why they are yet to receive them. As it stands, committee members do not know if these certificates will be issued. What is even more dangerous, is that a bad precedence is being set, as many newer members of the Association do not know about this custom.

Speaking with the UIMSA Press, Musab from the 2k26 class; a member of the Awards committee and a volunteer for the 62nd Health Week CHAP said, “I am not aware that certificates used to be given at the end of the tenure to committee members. Certificates mean a whole lot to me. Sometimes, looking back at those volunteering activities gives me some sense of achievement. Apart from that, it opens one to prospective opportunities in future”.

Clearly these certificates—unimportant as they may seem—hold sentimental value to UIMSAites. But they also serve a more tangible purpose. A UIMSAite who preferred to be anonymous stated, “I believe certificates serve as proof of participation to organisations. I’ve been discouraged that I haven’t received certificates for my service. I’m not joining committees for the certificates but at least I should be able to show proof if I need to.”

This is not the first time this is happening. On further investigation, the UIMSA Press discovered that the tenure before the last also did not issue certificates to committee members . A UIMSAite who served in the Secretariat committee in the 2021/2022 tenure stated, “I didn’t receive any certificates in that tenure. I don’t know why they stopped giving certificates”.

Almost every time a UIMSA Executive is asked which challenges they faced in discharging their responsibilities; the first response is that committee members were not active. So, why does the Association’s leadership seem to be expressing selective amnesia when it comes to recognising the contribution of committee members who were actually active? Why have committee members not received certificates for their service in two tenures, despite senators and congressmen receiving theirs without fail? The UIMSA Press reached out to former Executives who were committee heads to clarify the situation.

The Sports Secretary, David Akinnusoye, responded, “I think they’re working on it. I would say that the President or PRO are in a better position to respond. But on my part, I ensured that names of members of the sports committee were sent for certification”.

When reached out to, the former General Secretary, Boluwatife Bolatito declined to make comments. The former Vice President—Olamide Jayeoba—however stated, “The designers are working on the design”. When asked if there was a timeline during which committee members could expect to receive their certificates, she replied shortly, “No”.

It is true that the Constitution does not stipulate that certificates should be issued at the end of the tenure. What is also true however—and we often reiterate—is that we are guided by the 3Cs; Constitution, Custom and Common Sense. Not only has it been a custom to issue certificates at the end of the tenure, it is also common sense to recognise the efforts of UIMSAites who have dedicated their time, energy and creativity to the Association.

But of course, the Constitution does not stipulate who will be in charge of disbursing these certificates. And afterall, everyone’s job is no one’s job. The erstwhile Senate Chair, Inioluwa Joshua was able to shed more light, “The certificates are usually designed by an individual selected from the design team by the Public Relations Officer. The last I heard is that it was under design. The certificates should be released within 2 weeks.”

Finally, the UIMSA Press reached out to the former PRO, Folusho Olu-Adegbola. He explained, “The designer working on it is in 2k19; hence the delay. For committee members that needed it for any application, I wrote a letter of recommendation pending the time the certificates will be ready.”

At first glance, this appears to be an acceptable explanation, except that again, the Executive council was dissolved several weeks ago. Senators and congressmen have received their well-deserved hardcopy certificates and plaques over five weeks ago. It appears that the graphic designer in charge of those had completed his commission with enough time to spare for printing. So, why is this not the same for committee members? Are they afterthoughts in comparison to their elected representatives? It is also bothersome it was not considered important to communicate the reason for the delay to committee members.

Thankfully, it seems that the last tenure would not be a complete repeat of the one before it. The PRO stated that committee members would be receiving their certificates soon. But how soon? He could not give a definite time. He however emphasised that the designer had assured him “it would not take long and he would work on it immediately after his exams”.

As committee members await the evidence of their service, we can only hope that they are extended better appreciation and prompt communication in future tenures. They are after all, not mere cogs in the wheel of UIMSA, but the very engine on which the Association runs.

Aisha Ibrahim

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1 thought on “Committee Members—Cogs in the Wheel of UIMSA’s Machine?”

  1. Well done on the article. It is erstwhile noteworthy that Senate and Congress certificates are delivered by their respective leaders. Hence, external graphics designers or members of the respective floors take up the task.
    Committee certificates are usually handled by the executives. Hence, the UIMSA design team being involved.

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