After 3 months of ”watchful waiting”; ABH Ventures remains perpetually comatose


By Chinedu Nwaduru, ABH PRESS

One of the basic laws in economics is The Law of Demand and Supply- which describes the increase in the price of highly demanded goods. So in essence, if a particular commodity is in high demand- then the price rises.

But what becomes the case when there are no goods to demand for in the first place?

Such has been the pitiful story of the once flourishing business ventures of the Alexander Brown Hall. Strolling down memory lane in 2017 and the early parts of 2018 – the nostalgic feelings when one could walk into the ventures to purchase almost every needed item for daily living, toiletries, canned foods.m is one that is almost fresh in mind. I remember walking in there to purchase every single item I needed for my Igboora posting, likewise so many of my group mates at that that.

It was not an uncommon sight to see the now Dr Damilola scampering around the ventures to ensure that the shelves were constantly stocked with commodities for the daily consumption of residents of the hall. It was a pretty interesting year for the ventures and members of the committee; and a very annoying time for Brownites who had to struggle with fellow Brownites and outsiders who came to pick a thing or two. I remember a friend complaining about the numerous persons at the ABH Ventures, so much so that he was hoping that a notice will be pasted to bar non-Brownites from using the ABH ventures. Even the 58th Hall week was a beneficiary of the Ventures’ magnanimous purse – as she was one of the sponsors of the Hall week.

These were the good youthful days of the ventures – where she reigned supreme almost pushing Al-Falah, Faaf stores and other retail shops into obscurity. Fast forward a couple of months, and ABH Ventures has fallen into a state of coma without any hope of coming back.

What is then the problem?

Following the By-Law signed by the Hall Assembly two years ago that put the ABH Ventures outside the office of the Financial Secretary, and by extension- the hall Executive Council ; members of the Ventures Committee are saddled with the responsibility of sourcing for funds for the venture.

Speaking with the Chairman of the ABH Ventures, Mr. Ayodele Odedara, he spoke about the gross lack of funds to sustain the ventures:

“The problem with the ventures is the fact that we don’t have a sustained income to boost the shop. So at the start of the tenure, the Executive Council sort of “lends” us an amount of money, which is used to stock up the ventures. Then we have to gradually pay them back. So rather than use money gotten from sales to replenish sold goods, we use it to pay back the hall executives. So there’s really no capital to stock up”

With this in mind, one may then begin to wonder what the problem was exactly. Recall in the previous tenure where for a period it seemed as though the ventures was standing on its feet – and then in the later part of the tenure, it became to experience the same crises : first the insecticides left the shelf and never came back, then went the canned foods (Corned beef, Sardines, Sweet corns etc), then the light bulbs, and the noodles.

Over time, many have attributed the unstable state of the ventures as one with multifaceted challenges

First came the issue of theft. The ventures started complaining of unbalanced sheets and finances. This could have stemmed from the irregularity of the sales persons (which was not stable then) necessitating the need for the ventures to be run by medical students who also needed to go to school – to the point that we had days when the ventures were locked because the person on shift was not back from school with the key.

So here’s the elephant in the room: should the ABH Ventures still be handled as a separate affair from the office of the Financial Secretary and by extension the Executive Council?

What then: Moving Forward

This is not the fault of the Ventures Committee nor the Executive Council. Saddling a committee with the task of sourcing for finances to fund the ventures with little or no assistance from the Executive Council is really not one to yield much. The idea of the By-Law in its initiation was flawed and needs to be revised by the Hall Assembly – else we might as well sell off the space out to a business owner – an ice-cream owner, or a pepper-soup joint. If the Executive do not wish to add the Ventures to the list of their projects – then finding an external source to fund the venture, in terms of partnership or sponsorship may just help the situation

Clearly, the idea of setting the Ventures as a separate committee has proven to be not the cleverest idea- maybe at the time of initiation, it was – but clearly not anymore.

Making it a separate committee outside the Executive Council removes any form of willpower or support from the Council towards her – especially in terms of finances, seeing as the Executive Council may not be compelled to actively pump funds into a project that they may not necessarily have to account for at the end of the tenure.

The truth remains that if ABH Ventures hopes to beat her competition (which she has not succeeded in doing this year) – then she must find a permanent source to funding to replenish her shelves at all times.

Brownites should not have to be tortured with buying expired “galas” or purchasing half-bitten, rodent infested beverages and biscuits; and sometimes have to wipe the thick layer of dust of the Pringles’ cover due to neglect.

The ABH ventures needs a permanent solution to her funding problem – a lasting solution that will serve to improve the Internally Generated Revenue of the Hall.

Until then – she will perpetually remain comatose, and no amount of watchful waiting or sub-therapeutic financial infusion will revive her back

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