Fiscal Stewardship and Student Impact: Reviewing the Treasurer’s Tenure at UIMSA

      The role of a treasurer is pivotal in any organisation, and the University of Ibadan Medical Students Association (UIMSA) is no exception. Because she manages funds, the treasurer’s actions directly influence the association’s ability to fulfil its mission. 

    When most UIMSA executives were sworn in on the 20th of May, 2023, the treasurer’s seat was left vacant as no eligible UIMSAITE ran for the post. However, on Saturday, June 3, 2023, Miss Folashade Olajuwon was co-opted into the office. This article aims to objectively review the treasurer’s tenure, scrutinising the decisions and their outcomes that have shaped UIMSA’s trajectory over the past tenure.

     Because she was co-opted, she doesn’t have a manifesto. However, before her co-option, she sent a letter of intent, including her plans for the coming tenure. Her plans for the tenure were listed in the said letter. It is noticeable in the letter that she did not mention any innovations she wanted to bring. In the first part of the letter, she wrote that she intended to fulfil all the responsibilities of the treasurer as stated in the constitution. According to the constitution, the duties of the treasurer include:

  • Shall be responsible to the Executive Council for the disbursement of the approved

expenditure of the Association.

  •  On request by the ordinary members of the Association through their Class Representative, shall make available the latest report of the audited account of the

Associations’ finances as presented to the Senate within two weeks of such a request.

  • Shall keep records and custody of all receipts of withdrawal, payments, and statutory

books of accounts as may be directed by the auditors of the Association.

  • Shall also perform all the functions as are from now on assigned to the Treasurer under

other articles of the constitution and by the Executive Council.

A member of the executive council and members of the finance committee confirmed that she had fulfilled her constitutional duties when she was required to. Upon inquiring Folashade about the second part, which stated that she had to make the audited account of the association’s finances available if requested, she answered, saying she did not have to because none of the reps asked for them. She did the bare minimum expected of any political office holder throughout her tenure and fulfilled her constitutional duties.

   Moving on to the second item on her statement of intent. She promised to ensure transparency and accountability in the office. Speaking to her, she explained that the transparency she meant was regarding money disbursement and other finances made on behalf of the association. To achieve this, she explained that she had provided four financial reports during the tenure, all scrutinised by the Senate and affirmed correctly.

    She also promised to change the signatories on the account as soon as possible. While this writer could not confirm precisely when she changed the signatories to the accounts, finance committee members confirmed to the UIMSA press that the signatories to the accounts were changed early enough at the beginning of the tenure. 

 Another of her duties involved ensuring the UIMSA venture employees were adequately monitored. However, this was a role she did not have to see through, as she noted that the association was kicked out of the secretariat. Hence, UIMSA ventures were terminated prematurely.

    Lastly, the statement of intent included the promise to ensure e-receipts and manual receipts were made available to the association members upon payment of dues. While this writer confirmed that Folashade did this to the best of her efforts, publicising the receipts collation through broadcast messages sent through the office of the PRO, there were still some discrepancies regarding the collection of the UIMSA packages. 

     The discrepancies were in two forms: those who paid UIMSA dues on time and couldn’t receive UIMSA packages and those who paid their UIMSA dues much after the payment deadline and, as such, could not collect their packages. 

    Concerning the first one, in an anonymous interview with UIMSA press, a UIMSAITE complained about that despite paying their dues as far back as the 2nd of July, 2023. They could not receive any packages with the rest of the financial members in her class. 

     In the interview, they confirmed that they did receive their receipt acknowledging payment of their dues; however, when a Google form was sent to their class from the treasurer to collate the list of those who paid their dues, they could not fill it. The UIMSAITE then claimed to attempt to reach out to the treasurer about the issue but was not able to get any response from her. The UIMSAITE also noted about ten similar complaints in their class.

    After contacting the treasurer for her story, she apologised to the “concerned people.” Moving on, she explained that the Google form was sent out in the middle of the tenure and that there was never a time when the Google form link was closed.

       She also claimed to reach out to all the majority leaders to request that they share the Google form link with their coursemates. She explained that the Google form became necessary because the association’s Futterwave account was problematic, preventing her from accessing the list of UIMSAITES that paid through the portal.

      When asked about potentially ignoring the messages of people with complaints, she said, “I’d like to apologise to them; I know that I try to respond as quickly as possible. However, sometimes, my human eyes miss some messages. She also tried to make it known that this was not always the case by adding, “There were people  who filled the Google forms with their bank transaction receipts; I did not ignore them.” 

      Aside from this issue, there was also the issue of the members who paid their dues late.

Speaking to the UIMSA press, the treasurer said the constitutional deadline for due payments was eight weeks into the tenure. However, this date was extended to March 15. This writer was able to confirm that the extension of the deadline was duly publicised in a broadcast message from the office of the PRO.

When asked if anything would be done about those who couldn’t receive their dues,packages? she said, “If they paid after the deadline, I don’t see the need to. However, suppose it’s for those who did not get it despite paying early in the tenure. In that case, I’ll be willing to hand over the contents of the Google form and the lists sent to the reps to the next executive council.” adding that the next treasurer can always confirm with the statements of accounts.

 To conclude, while Folashade’s time received mixed evaluations, her efforts demonstrate a strong foundation of honesty and attentiveness. As UIMSA moves forward, future treasurers must build on these practices and improve the processes to ensure that all members feel equally represented and serviced by their elected authorities. This tenure has highlighted the necessity of adaptation and clear communication in governance, which are required for any student association’s long-term success and cohesion.

Moboluwarin Ogunleye. 

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