On the 4th of May, 2023, Mr Abraham Ajisafe, having picked up the form to vie for the position – unopposed – of the financial secretary for the 2022/2023 tenure, presented his plans to members of the fourth estate and other members of the association. He was duly assessed by the panel on the feasibility of his plans – amongst other criteria to be scored on. Two days later, on election day, UIMSAites considered him worthy to serve and he was voted in. Fast forward to the 30th of March, 2024, he, alongside some other executives, was relieved of his duty as part of the process of dissolution of the executive council, having served the association for more than ten months.

As the regular tradition in the association, the Press is expected to engage in a tenure review, assessing the work these executives did while in office and sharing objective views with members of the association. As a result, this article focuses on the office of the financial secretary held by Mr Abraham from the 20th of May, 2023 to the 30th of March 2024.

According to Chapter 3, Article IX, of the constitution, the financial secretary:
– Shall be responsible for all business ventures of the Association.
– Shall be the chairperson of the Finance Committee of the Association.
– Shall present an account of the finances of the Association to the Senate for each fiscal quarter within a tenure.
– Shall be the chairperson of the Fundraising Committee of the Health Week.
– Shall perform all such other duties as are hereinafter assigned to him/her under other articles of this Constitution and by the Executive Council.

As regards his constitutional duties, he was responsible for all the business ventures during his tenure. He served as the Finance Committee head – a committee of 13 members – and presented an account of the finances of the association to the Senate, quarterly. He also headed the fundraising committee of the 62nd Healthweek in his administration. Reports from another executive confirmed that he performed all other duties assigned by the executive council. It’s safe to say that he duly fulfilled his constitutional requirements.

On his Manifesto
Mr. Abraham summarised his plans with the end goal of increasing the association’s revenue. On membership dues payment, he intended to increase the dues payment by 25% from the previous tenure – where 390 students paid. However, only 368 students had paid their dues at the time of the presentation of his account of stewardship at the Senate. In an interview with the Press, he said he hopes to increase this number to the 390 achieved in the previous administration before the tenure fends. When he was asked why he couldn’t meet his initial target, he referenced the inconclusiveness in the agreement to enforce payment of dues as a prerequisite to writing the medical board examinations. He added that a rumour that this was enforced last tenure increased the numbers because many 400-level students – then 300-level – rushed to pay their dues before they sat for MB1. He also ensured dues payments were a prerequisite to feature in some publications and participate in some activities, although these measures could not take the number above 390 . Seeing how important dues payments are, it’s pertinent to introduce measures that show what defaulters are missing out on.

Still on the dues payment, he published infographics, in the form of coloured pie charts, to attain a considerable level of transparency for UIMSAites to see how their money was spent and how important dues are. He was able to release two infographics before the council was dissolved, but he claimed he’s working on releasing one or two more before the tenure is finally over. Even though some intricate details were left out, it makes sense to give members of the association an idea of how finances are managed. On UIMSA Ventures, he maintained the status quo on the association’s secretariat in the college until UIMSA was evicted from the building. In our interview with Mr. Abraham; he stated that the Provost indicated a plan to use the building for Alumni and that the association tried to write letters to communicate its importance but it was to no avail. The association hopes to get the space back if the Provost doesn’t actualise her plan before she leaves the office.

On production of merchandise, he said work was still ongoing and is expected to be completed in this tenure. UIMSAites got some designs on the 22nd of March, 2024, on the central group and they were asked to pick their favourite via a WhatsApp poll. Mr. Abraham confirmed that they’ve gotten some samples of the merch, and they are planning the shoot that will be used to sell the merch. He said they would attach prices, and begin sales as soon as possible. He also confirmed that members who fully paid their dues would be given a discount when sales began and that every UIMSAite with merchandise issues from the last tenure had been attended to.

On donations from alumni and individuals, he experienced some issues in creating a premium LinkedIn account for UIMSA but got a LinkedIn free trial for a month using his personal account. He was able to reach out to hundreds of individuals, both from the database kept from previous tenures and some other individuals who were not on the list. He confirmed promising conversations with some of them and a newsletter dedicated to them to keep them abreast of what is going on in UIMSA. At the time of the interview, only one newsletter had been sent, apart from the welcome newsletter that every alumnus got. The newsletter is an innovation from his administration. There are plans to incorporate the database of graduating classes every year into the alumni list to form a robust database.

On donations and sponsorships from organizations, Mr Abraham reached out to corporate bodies with proposals from the association but was unable to secure any deal. Thankfully, the President and her Vice were able to bridge the gap with sponsorships obtained through personal relationships. Some other sponsorships came from Healthweek cCommittees, e.g. Coldstone from the Bonfire committee. Administrations can leverage creating long-term relationships with brands so that new administrations don’t have to start from scratch when they need sponsorship. Even though the association didn’t get as many sponsorships as desired, Mr Abraham assured that continuous communication was ensured to build a relationship between the association and these bodies. This would help subsequent administrations with financial requests. Also, members of junior classes were considered in the finance committee to ensure continuity as the senior classes graduate.

Mr. Abraham facilitated a Grant and Scholarship workshop on the 9th of December, 2023. A prerequisite for attending these events free of charge was the payment of membership dues. Members who were still owing dues were levied 500 naira. The event had about 60 attendees both physically and virtually. That may be underwhelming considering the number of students in the association.

The directory of Medipreneurs was intended to be released on UIMSA’s website but at the time of this interview, it is yet to be published. He stated that he was being worked on and that it would be released soon, not on the website but rather as a document.

Away from the plans on his manifesto, he secured a deal for the UIMSA package – to get the flasks at lower prices. The team in charge preemptively ordered more than required at the time (November 2023) to account for those who would later pay their dues.

The major challenges he faced in office were membership dues payment, difficulty in getting retailers to commit to the UIMSA wholesale book project, and loss of custody of the secretariat. He recommended that UIMSA employ stricter measures like collaborating with the college to make dues payment a prerequisite to sit for the medical board examinations. This is to facilitate the fulfilment of payment. While this route has failed to yield results many times before, he claimed it could be a turnaround for UIMSA’s finances.

For the Wholesale Book Project, he recommended that the association sell as a retailer but ensure that they don’t engage in unhealthy competition where they sell books for prices lower than the optimum to draw customers. For the secretariat, he recommended that the association request a parcel of land on lease to build their secretariat. That way, UIMSA doesn’t stand the risk of eviction due to a notice from a higher authority. Also, it can bring economic benefits via rentals. He further explained that the idea should be a long-term project. However, the practicality of this idea remains to be seen. In the interview the Press, he said the Provost wanted to understand why UIMSA had a secretariat in the college but other associations didn’t. His explanation that the building was given out when UIMSA was the only association that existed, further questions the possibility of UIMSA getting a parcel of land. Granting this request validates other associations’ need to request one too. Can the college grant these requests from a number of associations considering that there might be other plans for the parcel of lands available? Or will other associations continue with the alternative they currently employ for the same activities?

In summary, Mr. Abraham fulfilled his constitutional duties while in office. He achieved his plans to a considerable extent, though not totally, and is working on seeing the remaining plans through to the end.

Peter Adeyemo

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