By: Favour Bamijoko
A short walk down the memory lane brings us to 12 June, 2023 — a date that marked the general elections of the Great Independence Hall. After a heavy downpour of promises, plans and proposals from several aspiring candidates, one of whom was Afolabi David (a.k.a Evidence) who was contesting for the post of the Financial Secretary of the Hall, nine of them, including Mr Afolabi David, would eventually be rewarded by the majority of voters as their preferred candidates and on the 26th of July, 2023, be sworn into office. A hundred and ninety three days (as at the time of writing) after the swearing-in, does the Financial Secretary possess any evidence to attest to the fulfillment of his four-point manifesto, not leaving out his constitutional duties? Here, we assess the performance of the financial secretary thus far.
According to the Independence Hall constitution in Article VI, S.V(II), the financial secretary is primarily saddled with five responsibilities. In accordance with the provisions of S.v(II), he shall: (a) be responsible for all financial records of the hall; (b) be responsible for keeping the financial records of the hall; (c) be a co-signatory to the Student Hall’s account; (d) statement of account of the hall at the end of each semester; (e) be responsible for fundraising activities of the hall.
In a brief conversation with the Speaker of the House, RT. Hon. Samuel Olaoye, on the 4th of February, 2024, as regards the financial secretary’s performance of his constitutional duties so far, he, the speaker of the house notes that not much can be said as regards whether or not the financial secretary has taken care of his constitutional duties. He went on to explain the reason for this. “According to the constitution, he is to provide the bank statement of account as well as the analysis of the income and expenditure twice in a session.” The reason for this is to enable the legislative council of the hall to assess how well the financial secretary has duly administered the finances and the financial records of the hall and it was for this reason the financial secretary, Mr Afolabi David (Evidence) was summoned on the 21st of January, 2024. Unfortunately, it seems the financial secretary left a lot to be desired as the Speaker dubbed his performance at the last sitting “below average.” Speaking further, the Speaker explained that the financial secretary failed to provide comprehensive analysis of the income and expenditure of the Hall’s finances. This report from the speaker was further corroborated by another member of the house who pleaded anonymity. As a result of his performance, the financial secretary, according to the speaker of the house, was rescheduled to re-present the financial records at the next sitting of the house on the 4th of February, 2024. Based on this report, as regards his constitutional duties, the financial secretary of the Great Independence Hall has been unsatisfactory.
At this juncture, the manifesto of the financial secretary is worth spotlighting. It is a two-paged document containing a four-point manifesto. His manifesto highlights his plans as regards fundraising, documentation of internally generated revenue, workforce capacity building, and collaborative efforts with the PRO in providing financial literacy. Speaking with the Administrator General of the Hall, Ogunremi Samuel, as regards the involvement of the financial secretary in the fundraising and sponsorship process of the hall, the AG explained that all members of the executive, including the financial secretary have been jointly involved. Moreso, he added that “nothing that involves finances doesn’t go through the financial secretary.” Thus, in a way, the financial secretary has been fulfilling the promise of fundraising.
On his plan towards maximizing and proper documentation of internally generated revenue, the financial secretary noted that he will “implement proper record-keeping systems to capture all revenue transactions” as well as maintenance of “financial records, end ensure the accuracy of revenue reporting.” However, the gym, as well as the junior common room, which he highlighted as sources of revenue for the hall have done little, if not nothing, to help the cause of the financial secretary. The gym, for instance, has been closed down since the start of the session, according to the financial secretary. Meanwhile, the junior common room has not been rented out from the start of the session, as well.
Furthermore, the third plan of the financial secretary is workforce capacity building. According to his explanation, this plan relates to “efforts and initiatives aimed at enhancing the knowledge, skills and competencies of the individuals” within the hall. In addition, the plan includes “offering training sessions and programs designed to equip katangites with relevant skills.” However, nothing relating to this has been seen.
Lastly, the financial secretary promised to work in collaboration with the PRO to improve financial awareness. According to him, this effort will provide “financial updates and valuable insights related to financial management, investments, budgeting,” among others. Besides financial literacy, he promised to raise awareness regarding online learning platforms like Coursera and Udemy. In all of these, the financial secretary has to an extent leveraged on collaboration with the PRO of the hall, Babalola Gideon, in providing financial awareness. Indeed, the financial secretary and the PRO have launched a series of financial literacy awareness campaigns via the social media platforms of the hall.
In a bid to understand why certain promises from his manifesto are yet to be fulfilled, Indy Press contacted Mr Afolabi David for explanations. According to him, although the third plan is yet to be fulfilled, “work is still ongoing on it.” He noted that he has contacted the “coaches that will take a bootcamp session. In spite of this, the financial secretary could not give a specific date when his plans will publicly kick off. When asked about how he has been able to maximize the revenue of the hall, he simply maintained that “the IGR we are generating are being maximally generated.”
On a general note, the financial secretary, on one hand is yet to properly fulfill his constitutional duties, while on the other hand, he has only completed 50% of his additional manifesto. In about seven weeks, the curtain shall fall on this tenure. The question to be asked, as we keep our fingers crossed is: will the financial secretary fulfill all the promises for which he was elected into office?