On Vice President Yomi’s Various Promises and Performance 

The 2022 UIMSA Election is one to remember for a variety of reasons. For one, it produced the Association’s first female president in over sixty-plus years of existence; the outcome of a keenly contested all-female affair. Also, there was the timing of the election itself a few months into what would turn out to be an eight-month-long strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities. And then, there was the sole aspirant – and in some cases, uncontested – nature of the race for most of the offices. 

For the office of the Vice President, in particular, only one aspirant emerged; then 400-level student and outgoing Sports Secretary, Fola-Oyetayo Olorunyomi. Prior to Election Day, she had been involved in a controversy involving changes to her time of appearance at the Electoral Screening which sparked a reprimand from the Electoral Committee itself and concerned UIMSAites. So much so that she officially withdrew her candidacy. However, two days later, she announced her re-entrance and eventually emerged as the Vice President at the polls. As we draw close to the end of the tenure, it’s important to assess her performance so far in comparison with what was promised in her manifesto. 

As is the norm with aspirants vying for posts within UIMSA, Miss. Yomi began her manifesto by listing the constitutional duties of the Vice President. This trend honestly needs to die a quick death; especially because quite a few aspirants include these just to make their manifestos appear bulkier. In her case, it meant that the Community Health Awareness Program which is a constitutional duty, was mentioned twice but the second time as one of three sections of her manifesto. 

The first of these three sections was Welfare under which she outlined three primary areas of concern; a need for holistic wellness amongst UIMSAites, financial difficulties faced by UIMSAites, and a need to promote the relationship between the Clinical and Pre-Clinical arms of the Association. To achieve the first (holistic wellness), she was to explore a relationship with ASIDO Campus Network with the possibility of incorporating them into class talks. However, nothing of the sort took place. Most of the contacts UIMSAites had with Asido were via classmates who were members. Also, she promised to send messages to UIMSAites via email during exam periods (with the help of the Assistant General Secretary). To her credit, she did send out emails However, poor publicity meant that, until they were reached out to by the Press, a considerable number had no idea of the existence of these emails. There’s also the fact that some classes like the 100 level class wrote exams within that period yet got nothing. Or perhaps, ‘exams’ there only referred to professional exams. Lastly, there was to be the provision of exam packages, a mentor-mentee program through the SDO Preclinicals, and the distribution of e-copies of the UIMSA constitution. True to her word, the exam packages were delivered to the 2k17, 2k18, and 2k23 classes (albeit late in the case of the 2k23 Class). As for the Mentor-Mentee program, it was a core campaign promise of the SDO Preclinicals, Olu-Adegbola Folusho, and as such can only really be assessed under his office. The e-copies of the constitution weren’t sent but according to her, this was because the Congress already ensured that Congress members shared the updated version with their respective classes. 

On the subject of Financial Difficulties, Miss. Yomi promised the creation of an Alumni Relations group whose focus would be on creating an alumni database with the short-term goal of receiving financial support for the association’s activities and for UIMSAites, and the long-term aim of developing relationships with these alumni. And to be honest, this was a really good idea considering the potential it holds. However, although work commenced, and a group was created, the Alumni Relations Committee could only generate a small database, mostly from recent years. In the Vice President’s words, “We were able to do that (creation of the database) to some extent however it was insufficient, considering the large number of alumni that we have; going by the number of years the association has existed versus the number we were able to get. It was easier to get for more recent years”. She also mentioned that she had to refer to the Ibadan College of Medicine Alumni Association for data most times, and that “we (the Alumni Relations Committee) did the most that we could do and the next tenure will continue in that regard”. While this might sound tenable, it also raises questions about what approach was taken in sourcing the information. Was the process considerate of other platforms asides from LinkedIn and Google? Was the committee created large enough for such an undertaking? Could there have been a more efficient approach? Especially considering the fact that our more recent alumni – many of whom have been approached in recent years – would probably have some form of donor fatigue.  

For the last section of her Welfare plan, promoting Clinical-Preclinical relationships, Miss Yomi promised; to hold some activities on UI campus grounds to improve even further the participation of Preclinical classes, class visits to the Pre-Clinical classes, and a progress report to UIMSAites with a feedback/survey form to help executives improve in the second half of the tenure. Of all three, however, only the class visits took place, and even this barely counts as the fulfillment of a ‘plan’ seeing as these visits are the norm within UIMSA. There were no activities held on UI grounds that didn’t already take place there normally (eg. Orientations). None! Not even during the health week were certain sporting activities could have benefited. Also, there has neither been a progress report nor feedback survey as of the time of this article and seeing as how little time is left, even that would be of no use. 

Moving on, the second portion of her manifesto was tagged ‘Social Activities’ and was split into two; Health Week and Movie Night OR Excursion. Under the Health Week subsection, she promised to organize the best health week yet while a poll was to be taken to decide which UIMSAites preferred between a movie night or an excursion. There was no elaboration on how exactly the former was to be accomplished, and perhaps this was a telltale sign of what not to expect i.e. the best health week yet.

To begin with, the issue of lateness in the commencement of events was recurrent all through the Health Week (Symposium, IMSG Quiz Final, Movie Night, and Dinner). In her defense, that of the Quiz was due to not having enough hands on deck to facilitate and the lateness of the quiz master. As for Movie Night, not only did it begin late, but a considerable number of people had to sit in uncomfortable positions just to watch their movie, while others – including this writer – had to watch in a hall where the movie was about forty minutes in. It was an unmemorable experience, to say the least. There were also some who couldn’t watch the movie at all until the next day; effectively ruining any plans they might have had. In explaining the reason for this, Miss. Yomi mentioned that “Information about the movies that would be showing on that day was not provided until about four days to the event. A lot of people had paid for the movie by then and we could not keep track of how many people were going to see each movie”. According to her, this led to a situation where FilmHouse (the cinema) was unable to spare an extra screen. Worthy excuses? Absolutely not! For one, keeping track of the number of people that paid was not an impossible task since a Google Form was used in the ticket-purchase process. All that had to be done was to utilize that in combination with the number of tickets left for an estimate of the number of seats needed. The Form would also have shown the volume of people that wanted to see both movies, and this number should have then been sent. Also, ticket sales should have been concluded a lot sooner as this would have given a lot more time for both parties to prepare. All of the blame can’t be apportioned to the VP; after all, there was a Movie Night Sub-Committee Head who can objectively be said to have failed in their duty. 

Lastly, the lateness at the Dinner was attributed to ‘double-booking’ by Manhattan Hall. But even this points to a failure to constantly reach out to vendors and other service providers. 

Still, with regard to the Health Week, there was the problem of finance. The VP can be said to have done her best considering the underwhelming performance of individual subcommittees in terms of fundraising. Still, there was – and still is – a need for proper assessment in the planning of these events. Certain activities eg, the Rally could have given way, and even supposed mainstays like the Dinner could have done with downsizing. There’s simply no point in celebrations if deficits are all that’s incurred afterward. 

It’s important to note -once again- that in the previous administration, Miss. Yomi served as the Sports Secretary and oversaw a UIMSA Ulympics marred by bullying and general misconduct. This is because in quite a few sporting events leading up to the Male Football final this year, which took place during the Health Week, there had been incidents of the same behavior culminating in a final that ended with no winner. And contrary to her statement that all of the above occurred “despite attempts to curb them”, there was little to nothing done this year by either herself or the Sports Secretary to prevent the repeat. 

The third and final portion of the VP’s manifesto was the Community Health Awareness Programme (CHAP); although, only the World AIDS Day CHAP was outlined in detail in the document. Here, Miss. Yomi promised to have a social media campaign, radio talk, art competition, and community health awareness exercise as part of the program. She was only able to fulfill the first and last of the aforementioned for the World AIDS Day. There have also been three other CHAPs so far, including the Tuberculosis Awareness Month organized during the Health Week which constituted an outreach at Alenshiloye Market and an appearance by two members of the CHAP committee on BCOS (Broadcast Corporation of Oyo State) to raise awareness on Tuberculosis. Perhaps, this could have been replicated had there been better leadership of the other Health Week subcommittees and better monitoring of these subcommittees by the Vice President, herself. 

Overall, based on what was promised and what has been delivered so far, Miss. Yomi’s performance can be best described as fair. Just fair. In the coming year, we can only hope that whoever occupies the office of Vice President next has the interests of UIMSAites at heart, and beyond saying so, can actually prove it. 


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