hUe-IMSA, A Colours Show: A Closer Look at Nwagbara’s Presidency

‘The telephone rings. It is one of your friends. You know your friend’s voice. You hear the sound of the voice. You can tell if your friend is sad, happy, excited. The sound is the colour of the voice. Each voice has a special colour. It tells how you feel.’

Running with the tagline: ‘Your Voice, My Voice’, the Nwagbara presidency has definitely not been lacking in echoes.

Riding on the back of history, buoyed by a stellar track record within and beyond the Association and with legacy beckoning, the ‘New Dispensation’ executive council was elected just under a year ago and who better to use as a touchstone for appraisal of the administration than the Chief Executive, Miss Jaachimma Oluwabunmi Nwagbara.

With the canvas of the association mounted on the easel of the faculty, college, university and indeed, the world at large, we have come to appreciate the tints, bright colours, pastel pigments, shades and shadows that our president has helped curate.

The president (and her team) scored some points and made good progress but was equally challenged by the uncertainty occasioned by the strike action as well as the peculiarity of the administration, for good measure.

What were your expectations for this presidency? How would you rate the performance? By how much are your opinions influenced by the undertones?

Subsequently, we will be attempting to holistically assess the president’s performance with her six-point manifesto and constitutional duties as the palettes to see if and how well she has been able to come good on her campaign promises.


This administration has its financial books in decent shape.

On the home front, the leasing out of ‘UIMSA Ventures’ has guaranteed a stable source of income for the association. The administration has also enjoyed the backing of alumni and corporate bodies from different generations and stations – including the Damien Foundation, among others.

To help collect and sort data, the Alumni Resource Committee was constituted at the behest of the President to help create an alumni database for easy access for sponsorship, fundraising and mentorship. This is expected to be a continuous process, and being in its pioneer phase, it did not necessarily meet all expectations but it certainly pushed the association a step further in that regard.


The President as well as this administration has always restated the commitment to academics of members and has backed up the talk with orientation programmes and mock examinations for classes taking professional examinations, with a sizeable amount of participants as well as aid to challenged students in the areas of health and finances. The calendar has not quite allowed for professional exchange by our members but the administration guaranteed support, should such opportunities be available.

The president has regularly interfaced with members of faculty on the Committee on Curriculum Assessment, Research and Development(COM/CARD), consolidating on the efforts of the previous administrations and all is in order in that regard.


The President saw to the renewal of the Ibadan Medical Specialists Group’s (IMSG-UK) commitment for support to students.

She also arranged for fee waivers for members with health challenges in partnership with the affected members’ friends, colleagues, representatives, the sub-deans and the hospital’s management. Asides from this, she has made support available for physical and mental health interventions based on the relationships with the staff adviser and the College Counselling Unit.


Most notable here is the grant for medical students to fund their projects to the tune of $2000. It has been in the works for a year. The intended plan to have students understudy senior registrars for research was put on hold due to the change in leadership of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) and uncertainties surrounding the feasibility of the project.

Capacity Building

The President ensured that members are prepared to be 21st-Century Doctors with webinars including Careers Outside Medicine discussing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the nexus between medicine and tech, Skills Training with Jobberman exposing members to tips for landing and acing interviews, handling job applications, etc.

Also, the President’s desire to have quality representation among the national, regional, continental and global medical student organisations has been largely satisfied as ‘Standing Directors’ and central executives are now within the membership of the Association, across board. It is also worthy of note that the President is on oversight duties to the president of the Nigerian Medical Students’ Association (NIMSA) in the Monitoring and Evaluation capacity.

Communication and Representation

The Association began work with courtesy calls to members of faculty with direct influence on the student body and they made sure to relay sensitive information concerning requirements, opportunities and expectations to the UIMSAites. Most recently, with the health week, dates were carefully picked in discussion with the support of the vast majority of the students for suitable, inclusive resolutions. In cases where accountability was compromised, the president ensured that sincere apologies were tendered.

A major concept of Vincent Van Gogh’s colour theory is the ‘relativity of colours’ where the world-famous painter posited that the effect of a colour depends on those around it. This, coupled with the president’s commendable management of people and resources, has seen her pass on valuable lessons, guidance and expert advice from her wealth of knowledge and experience in her four(4) years of service to members of her cabinet.

On the flip side, one of the demands of the office of the president is that he/she ‘shall coordinate all aspects of the Association’s activities’. The failure of this administration to put out any of our signature publications reflects badly on the president, for one.

Compromise, communication and understanding have also enhanced a smooth working relationship with the Congress, Senate, other organs of the association and indeed, the entirety of UIMSAites. The President also hosted events, culminating in the just-concluded health week and while they were not without shortcomings, she successfully pulled them off. Just so this is no echo chamber, here are some reactions of UIMSAites across the six(6) classes on the presidency.

Anonymous (100L Class)

‘Jaachi was an amazing president. Under her leadership, we experienced unprecedented growth and success; there was this new sense of innovation that came in- the health week being a notable example… I can affirm she worked consistently hard to ensure that everyone in the association was carried along and had a voice in decision-making. After she was elected, she didn’t go ghosting, she was readily available when necessary. Our events, e.g. the Fresher’s welcome, were awesome and she showed up alongside other executives- that’s care and support . She tried her best with her team and they delivered as promised. I’d rate her a 9/10 president’.

Gerald Olokungbemi (200L Class)

‘As a DE student, this is my first full year under an administrative tenure so, to be honest, I don’t really have a template for comparison. As regards the performance of the immediate ex-president of the association though, I’d say she did fairly well. I remember some of her promises during her press night and having checked, I think she did right by majority of them so I reckon that’s a plus. I actively participated in the most recent health week and I would like to say it left very much to be desired in terms of execution of the plans laid out, there was hardly any event that didn’t have one hitch or the other. I do realize that it’s in the constitutional duties of the vice president to be in charge of the health week; the president, however, is expected to supervise/oversee the activities of the VP, so I’d hold that against her. All in all, I’ll score her a 6.5’.

Emmanuella Asogwa (300L Class)

‘Well, it was really amazing having a female being the president of UIMSA, for the first time. It became even more interesting seeing that majority of her executives were females. Jaachimma is a woman of courage, character and charisma and I would say I honestly admire her lots. I’m grateful she led us in the past year. Leadership is not easy and a leader who is able to lead a group without an excessive act of forcefulness is an excellent one. I can’t say I know all that went on in her tenure but I can say she was excellent in getting all the excos to discharge their duties and was very well loved. With that, it wasn’t difficult for her to get people to get things done. Taking this into consideration, I would say she relatively had a hitch-free tenure. However, there were things I believe weren’t well planned. In order words, I could say they were done to fulfil all righteousness. Not mincing words, I could point directly to the welfare given to my class during our MB;BS part 1 exams. Many were a bit dissatisfied. On an overall rating, I give her 8/10’.

David Akoki ( 400L Class)

‘Jaachimma’s emergence as UIMSA’s President was remarkable up from the campaign till the last day. The administration delivered quite impressively on its promises to UIMSAites. The programmes held during the tenure were impactful. My only grouse, really, was that there really wasn’t a lot of interaction with the College management on behalf of the students. It did not seem like UIMSA had a role in that regard. Regardless, the administration ran smoothly and it’s a 7/10 for me’.

Precious Ajibola ( 500L Class)

‘I’d like to commend Jaachimma for a job well done. I believe the tenure was without drama. I have no negative comments, particularly because I know how demanding and unrewarding the work is. I also think it is commendable that she and her team were able to achieve a lot in the short tenure. Overall I’d rate her performance a 7 over 10’.

Funmi Adelakun (500L Class)

Though it was a brief tenure, we were exposed to a number of research and capacity-building opportunities that have had a great impact on us. We are thankful for the chance to gain knowledge and skills that will help us in our future careers and endeavors as doctors. The experiences, for example, from the ‘research clinics’ have practically helped me and so many others in knowing the basics of research. The other part I would have expected more from the administration is the health week. To me, it lacked the expected publicity and participation. The usual classical UIMSA health week was not well portrayed… the energy and enthusiasm were on the low. They could have done better. However, the tenure was kind of peaceful apart from the palava from sports during the health week and I felt, as the President, she should have addressed it in a better way. If I were to grade her on a scale of 10, being the first female UIMSA President and with all the exploits she has made, I’ll rate her 7/10.

Conclusively, colour is the most relative medium in art. As such, it is only normal that our vision be tainted by perception and perspective, among others, meaning that what some would consider to be a kaleidoscope of beautiful colours would be considered a bland, dull representation for others and we encourage you to sound off in the comments what it has been for you.

As the curtain falls on what has been a most momentous phase in the annals of our history as an Association, we all can agree that history will be kind to this crop of leaders and our president, no less, therefore, we congratulate all involved. We have had a new she-riff in town and it has been a pleasure.

Tolulope Odueko

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