Audit 5: Has Bam Connect Really Connected To His Manifesto?

By: Favour Bamijoko

Olaniyan Ibrahim Olalekan, popularly called Bam Connect has been in the political terrain since his first year, serving in different positions in the Great Independence Hall. Mr Ibrahim Olalekan political expeditions have been limited to the washed out walls of the Great Independence Hall, but one can not deny the steady rise. After serving as a member of the legislative council of the hall two sessions ago, Mr Ibrahim Olalekan was anointed by the majority of Katangites to be a part of the 2021/2022 Indy Hall Executive Council, as the House Secretary.

On 27 March, 2023, an article assessing Mr Ibrahim’s tenure as the House Secretary noted that “a substantial part of the promise was not executed.” Not deterred by that remark, Mr Ibrahim would go on to contest for the office of the Secretary of State on 12 June, 2023. This time around, with an extensive manifesto, unlike the manifesto upon which he vied for the office of the house secretary which was “bereft of details”, according to that same article. Unopposed, he was elected into the office of the Secretary of State and was sworn in on 26 July, 2023. Some 215 days later, we assess the performance of the Secretary of State and whether Bam Connect is really (dis)connected from his manifesto.

First of all, the Secretary of State is encumbered with seven duties according to the constitution of the Independence Hall. But perhaps the most important of them is the taking of minutes at executive council meetings, as well as the keeping of minutes, correspondence and records. Quite a simple but important responsibility.

In trying to gauge the discharge of that duty, Indy Press reached out to two members of the Executive Council of the Independence Hall. While they both pleaded anonymity, one of them remarked that so far he has not seen anything such as minutes from the office of the Secretary of State. According to the anonymous Executive, he said “he doesn’t” release minutes from previous meetings. On the other hand, the second respondent, who is also a member of the Executive Council made a rather disappointing attempt at circumventing the question. In his response, he noted that the secretary of state “does his job well” and any other question, in this case about minutes and record taking, should be directed to the person in question.

These responses, especially the first, indicate that something is not right with the discharge of that duty by the Secretary of State. True to the fact, if there are records of minutes taken by the Secretary of State, the second respondent would have surely found “yes” or any other affirmative response an easy and ready to give answer. 

To clarify things, a connection was established with the Secretary of State. In a frank session, he explained that although he does not account for minutes to the Executive Council, he submits what he termed “resolutions” to the Council after meetings. The reason for the failure to provide minutes is, in his own words, “what we agreed on (at meetings), I drop it as resolutions, I don’t drop it as minutes.” Clearly, this is a variation from constitutional duties, and an invention of a different term.

To take a clear stand, let’s look up the definition of both terms — ‘minutes’ and ‘resolutions’. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, “minutes”, in this context, is a summary of what is said or decided at a formal meeting. While Wikipedia gives a broader definition, defining it as “the instant written record of a meeting or hearing. They typically describe the events of the meeting and may include a list of attendees, a statement of the activities considered by the participants, and related responses or decisions for the activities.” Thus, a minute is a record that contains the occurrence of a meeting, the number of attendees present, contributions and decisions or resolutions reached at meetings. While “resolution”, as defined by the same dictionary, means “a formal statement of an opinion agreed on by a committee or council.” Inferring from both definitions, resolution cannot be said to be a competent substitute for minutes as provided by the constitution of the hall as a minute includes resolutions and other details. More than anything, the excuse of dropping resolutions in place of minutes is an attempt at downsizing of responsibilities. 

Besides, in Article VI, Section II, the constitution requires the Secretary of State to keep minutes, correspondences and records. According to him, the “resolutions” he sends to the executive council are stored onto an archive. However, in response to the question asking him if he could provide any of such resolutions and records of meetings or similar documents within the period of the interview, the answer was a straight “No.” This performance, as regards the Secretary of State’s constitutional duties, leaves much to be desired.


On his Manifesto Mandate 

A careful look through the manifesto presented before Katangites  reveals a two-plan programme. The two plans are divided between Academic and Administrative promises.

As regards the academic category, Mr Ibrahim Olalekan promised residents of the Independence Hall regular academic tutorials and an academic committee consisting of tutors cutting across all faculties. On this account, Bam has fulfilled his promise. At present, tutorials are held within the hall and an academic committee that goes by the name K.R.A.T exists. On this note, we must give kudos to the Secretary of State.

However, he promised virtual tutorials and recorded online classes, but so far, no virtual classes have been held at any point in time. It begs the question; why was provision made for virtual classes in his manifesto?

Still within the ambit of the academic category, Bam Connect equally promised to provide an E-library. According to his plans, the E-library will use “cloud storage” and would be saved on a “google drive”. Reports from a number of residents, especially freshers, were that they were not aware of the existence of any google drive or E-library.

As regards the non-existence of an E-library, Mr Ibrahim explained that “I created a group (Whatsapp) where I drop all those past questions and materials.” According to him, “that’s what I call the E-library.” Perhaps there is another need for definition of terms at this point, and the terms in question are “E-library”, “google drive” and “documents on a Whatsapp group. But, really, is there a need for definition? We all know what a google drive storage or bank is, what a cloud storage is and how, however far you stretch their meanings, they differ from documents sent to a Whatsapp group which has a lesser reach and durability when compared to a google drive or a cloud-based storage.

He went on further to explain why a current google drive does not exist. He noted that he had compiled a “drive” before resumption. However, due to changes in lecturers, they became redundant. Rather disappointingly, the link Indy Press received was not a google drive link, and the site to which the link led to has nothing to relate it to Independence Hall, not to even mention the Secretariat Committee. Thus, it is safe to agree that on that promise, as relating to the E-library (as stated in his manifesto), the Secretary of State is still off the mark, and Katangites are left in suspended limbo.

Let’s flip the page. The next agenda on the manifesto is the administrative aspect of his plans. Under this category, the first plan is the revamping of the secretariat. This plan is further divided into two. First, the establishment of a secretariat committee in order to manage and coordinate the activities of the secretariat.

The second side of this plan is the renovation of the secretariat, a small room in block C, Independence Hall. This renovation is to be achieved, according to his plans, by getting new curtains, and giving the room a face lift. True to his words, a secretariat committee has been created in order to discharge certain responsibilities. This is perhaps half mark on this count. Half mark because whispers of the promise of renovation for the room of the secretariat have faded into silence. No new curtains have been installed as at the time this article was written and any face lift or renovation carried out on the room remains invisible to the ordinary eye.

In explaining the reason for this, Bam Connect stated that “there was a plan to seek money in order to replace the curtains.” However, when the curtains that used to be in the junior common room were removed, it was decided that they should be fixed in the secretariat. “But we could not do any other thing apart from that”, he concluded. Apparently, as it has become clear, there were no concrete plans for the renovation of the secretariat, and Bam Connect is, to a fine measure, disconnected from this part of his manifesto.

Moving on, the Secretary of State also promised to celebrate members of the halls on their birthdays. Indeed, he has extensively carried this duty out. Besides this, Mr Bam Connect promised to create a feedback system. For him, this will be used in evaluating the performance of the executive team. Thus, via this system, the executive team is expected to stay in touch with the realities and demands of Katangites. Unfortunately, there is no trace of the existence of such a feedback system. On this note, we can safely assume that the current executive council is equally out of touch and disconnected from the realities of Katangites  due to the lack of an efficient feedback system.

Ultimately, Mr Ibrahim’s manifesto ended with a promise on career development. This promise is to furnish members of the hall with digital skills such as UI/UX, the use of Microsoft Office and Excel as well as in copywriting. Nevertheless, there has been not the slightest trace of such training. Commenting on this, Mr Ibrahim mentioned that the plan for the delivery of this promise is still underway. Speaking further, he explained that the secretariat committee is currently handling a newsletter and running both plans at the same time will complicate things. On this note, perhaps we should leave it to the ultimate arbiter, time, to determine whether or not katangites will see the fulfillment of this plan.

Although not stated in his manifesto, Bam Connect has made some laudable contributions to the members of the Independence Hall, particularly the freshers. To be specific, the buses and means of transport organized and facilitated by Bam Connect went a great deal to ameliorate the stress bad difficulties freshers would have encountered in trying to commute from the Hall to the exam centers at Sasha and in finding their way back to the hall. Whether politically motivated or borne out of genuine concern is no question in this regard. 

In his manifesto, Mr Ibrahim Olalekan began with a quote from Octavia Spencer; “the way to bring about change is to be proactive and active.” When the Academy award winner, Octavia Spencer made the famous quote, she must have understood her sentence to mean a prompt actualization of goals. However, in this context (as regards the actualization of his manifesto), we can only barely see how the Secretary of State has taken a leaf from the import of that statement. In candid fairness to the Secretary of State, his performance leaves an unfulfilling taste on our mouth. His failure to perform his basic constitutional responsibility — taking and keeping of minutes — alongside a major chunk of his manifesto such as the E-library, the revamping of the secretariat, the feedback system, and, as of now, the career development plan merely gives his performance a pass mark. 

While Bam Connect clearly stated, in his four-paged manifesto document, “I have not come to make promises of how I will build castles in the air if elected.” It appears to us, as the watchmen of the realm, that solid foundations for castles have been laid in the air. For a figure with his credentials — a former member of the Legislative Council, former House Secretary, and a potential candidate for the post of the Administrator General of the hall — it becomes quite uninspiring to have a manifesto begging for fulfillment at such a time only next to the end of his tenure. Although his tenure as the Secretary of State is winding down, Mr Secretary of State must endeavor to actualize his promises within the little time left.

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