Beyond the Soundbite: Evaluating the Performance of the Indy Hall Excos in the 2021/2022 Session [Part II]

With manifestoes and campaign promises as the basis for scrutiny, the first part of this analysis evaluated the offices of the health commissioner, the sports commission, and the house secretary in the incumbent administration. This sequel continues on this path; it juxtaposes the performance of the Public relations officer, the social and buttery commissioner, and the finance commissioner against their plans and vision for the hall, prior to assuming office. Finally, this piece will touch on some possible redundancies in the administrative compositions with performance and manifestoes and the premise for the evaluation.

How true to the plan have these officials been, and how accountable have they been to Katangites, over the last few months?

Jimoh Toheeb Akinwale and the Notable Absence of a Social Ambience

To start with, the only relevant promise (both written and spoken) that the S&B commissioner made to Katangites was to guarantee food quality and better Cafeteria services to Katangites. According to him, he would – through his good relationship with the administrators of the butteries – negotiate for a better service for all Katangites. Keeping the almost palpable flippancy in the manifesto aside, let’s examine execution.

For one, an interaction with some of the staff in the cafeteria reveals zero knowledge of any conscious effort from the Hall executive to influence their services. Also, for regulation to be effective, there has to be a body in charge, and it has to be periodic to establish compliance. However, as far as the hall is concerned, there are no known structures – official or otherwise – that see to these. If these structures exist, neither the “administrators of the two butteries”, the store owners nor the fourth estate is aware of its existence. 

Considering the office and the brevity of the constitutionally allocated responsibilities, you may be tempted to excuse or lack of substance of the S&B’s manifesto plans or administrative duties. After all, the S&B’s major duties are the hall week and social events in the hall. However, the office has not delivered much even with constitutional duties as an evaluatory yardstick. By the constitution, the S&B is expected to be in charge of Hall’s buttery and Kiosk. He is mandated to lead Hall’s drama group and be in charge of social activities in the hall. While the drama group, buttery, and kiosks are structures that are out-of-vogue, the office has not taken any significantly innovative step towards social activity in the hall. Pending the time we wait for the week, there is no excuse for the lack of ideas. What about Talents and talent discovery in the hall? What major social activity does the hall have aside from Hall Week? How consistently have we had bonding occasions like Common pots and Ewa nights, especially relative to the past administrations? 

Isa Praise and the Communication Lapses of the incumbent administration 

For an office charged with communications, accountability, and image-making, there are some crucial elements missing from the performance of Isa Praise this session. Up until now, some of his pre-office promises are yet to be executed, and some of his constitutional duties suffer a lack of attention. Take for instance, he categorically stated that the hall would publish a magazine during his administration. Mind you, the Magazine project falls right up the alley of the fourth estate. However, up to date, there has been no communication about the magazine, and there seems to be no concrete plan to deliver on this promise. Except there is a different criterion for evaluating feasibility, it’s seeming a little late to deliver on this promise, don’t you think?

In the same vein, the PRO promised the hall a Whatsapp TV dedicated to showcasing talents and spotlighting achievements in the Independence hall. However, there is no information about the existence of such “Whatsapp TV” for Indy and Katangites. The PRO did continue the Indy radio initiative as he promised, and at different times has had individuals from different places inform Katangites about different things. However, there seems to be a recent lack of consistency (or is it total neglect?) of the Radio. Also, even during the peak of the radio’s fame, not a significant part of the airtime went to talent discovery and spotlighting in the Hall. 

The plan to keep students up to date about opportunities adds right to the list of poorly executed promises. For one, this would have been very beneficial to Katangites if executed properly. Properly in context means, consistently and strategically across major group pages for Katangites. However, the reality is quite antithetical. There are no traces of such from the public relations office or his committee. This lack of execution extended to the “feedback” innovation Isa Praise promised in his manifesto. In his plans for “openness and Accessibility”, Isa Praise promised Katangites that he will receive suggestions and complaints from residents through feedback boxes. He stressed taking advantage of the existing structures and creating digital ones to complement them. However, the feedback and suggestion boxes in the hall currently are the poster objects for out-of-service items. Rather than take suggestions, the boxes serve as the abode for insect and moth colonies; insignias of a lost cause. The probability of a digital alternative may come to mind here. Maybe the hall has a digitized feedback medium. However, the press has looked and there is none at the moment. Finally, considering the bias the executives have against the fourth estate, one may begin to wonder if the “feedback” rhetoric was real or just another fancy idea to garner votes. 

Digging further down, Isa Praise has displayed some level of nonchalance toward his constitutional duties as well. Constitutionally, the PRO is mandated to be the chairperson of the Hall’s literary and debating society. At the very least, he should oversee, contribute and if possible provide publicity to the Indy Hall L and D. However, he has demonstrated a considerably flippant attitude towards Literary and debating in general. Isa Praise has not been very consistent with the L and D meetings for one, and his contributions – on behalf of the executive body too – are below the bare minimum. 

Not to forget too, there are many instances where the Administrator General himself has had to make announcements on the Hall’s PA system. At some point, it would be very plausible if – instead of the PRO’s voice– Katangites start to attribute the PA system and publicity to the Administrator General. This begs a lot of questions, prominent of which is that of how much Katangites consider accountability and commitment as criteria for the Public relations office. If this office is not committed enough to perform its duties and responsibilities, what is the guarantee that the administration is truly accountable to Katangites?

The Finance Commissioner and the Disregard for Reality 

For execution, It is important that there is a melting point between ideation, innovation, and what is realistically possible. The finance commissioner may have been too enthusiastic about the office or totally negligent of feasibility when he made promises during the campaign phase of the election cycle. The Press remembers – quite vividly – his insistence on the reality of execution despite tell-tale signs that point otherwise at the last Press night. Did the Finance commissioner finally come to terms with reality? Did he give up on these grand ideas? Has he decided to execute the plans in an alternate timeline?

Looking back, the finance commissioner insisted on including a digital and innovative way of the due collection into the mix. According to him, his expertise as a front-end engineer gave him assurance of the feasibility and effectiveness of this new application. True to the thought process behind this idea, digital collection may have made due payment transparent and seamless.

However, as far as due collection is concerned in the hall, nothing has changed. Katangites have had to play to the tunes of cash flow, bank networks, and the National financial economy more now than ever. In the same vein, the finance commissioner referenced revenue generation from advert placements and banners in the hall; a project just outside his alley. From the get-go, it would have been feasible to generate such if the hall had a committee of people that saw to the collection. However, this plan seems to have died at the execution stage. There is no documented process of applying for advert payment or remitting money to the hall, whether as a financial project or as a partnership between the office of the PRO and the finance commission.

Similarly, Katangites were supposed to have access to information about fund flow in the administration. Ogunremi Samuel promised to make these details publicly available to ensure accountability in hall projects. Neglecting the technical difficulties inherent to this promise, Katangites have not had any whiff of this in execution. Furthermore, the Finance commissioner promised to execute something right outside the range of his office. According to him, he would bring up digital acquisition programs to Katangites. The plan was to leverage the expertise of other Katangites and professionals from outside the hall. Quite ironically, Indy hall has – at no point in the session – had any skill acquisition program courtesy of the finance commission. It will be advantageous to all if, with the little time left, the finance commissioner makes a move to implement the feasible ones among these plans. It may not be entirely too late to initiate plans for a digital skill acquisition program in partnership with the relevant parastatals. After all, these promises are never forced out; they were the basis for election. The office can still make good on them. 

Finally, since Hall week is not here yet, there is hope that the Finance commissioner will make good on his trade-fair promises. Hopefully, the weekly schedule is adjusted to make a successful trade fair feasible. Otherwise, his administration would have been based on failed and poorly executed promises.

It is true that different factors may have contributed to the failure to execute, but where is accountability in the system? What is wrong with communication? Where is the enthusiasm that we saw during the Campaigns?

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