ABH DECIDES 2022: “I DO NOT WANT TO LEAD FROM THE SIDELINES ” – NEWMAN ELIJAH, HALL CHAIRPERSON ASPIRANT
In view of the 2022 election in Alexander Brown Hall, the ABH Press had an interview with Elijah Newman, one of the aspirants vying for the post of Hall Chairperson, to help Brownites get more acquainted with the candidates and their plans for the hall.
ABH Press: Can you give a brief introduction of yourself?
My name is Newman Elijah. I am a 500L medical student in the MB;BS, 2018 set. I am generally someone that loves to lead and act based on love and passion towards everyone. When given an assignment or project, I carry it out to the letter. I am also very friendly and easily accessible to a lot of people
ABH Press: What prompted you to contest for the post of Hall Chairperson?
Looking at the fact that I have been in this hall since I crossed in 2018, having been involved in a lot of activities in the hall and also developing a love and passion for the hall, which informed my decision to serve in the hall assembly as an honourable member and also work actively in ensuring the smooth running of the just completed hall week. These are what prompted me to run for this post.
ABH Press: You have mentioned being a member of the hall assembly, can you mention all the capacities in which you have served the hall?
In this tenure, I have served the hall as a member in the hall assembly, member of digitisation committee in the hall assembly, member of publicity committee, member of fund raising committee and bonfire committee. In the previous tenure, I served as member of the committee in the office of the sports minister. I was also director of the 2018 class performance at the Cultural Night during the recently concluded hall week.
ABH Press: What organizations are you presently involved in and what are your roles in them?
I am not a member of any organisation presently, however I am actively involved in programs and events organised by them such as the Red Cross blood drive where I donated blood, Hamstrings bake sale, JCI, and so on.
ABH Press: What was the biggest challenge you faced in those capacities you have served the hall and how did you overcome it?
One the biggest challenges I faced as a member committee in the office of the sports minister was apathy on the part of Brownites. I tackled this by actively meeting people one-on-one to inform them before hand about the sporting activities. We had an online group on WhatsApp where I sensitised people. On the days of the events I encouraged people to come down and participate.
As a member of different committees for the planning of the recently concluded Hall week, a major challenge was fundraising not starting early enough. I had to use personal funds at some point to support in addition to the funds raised externally.
As a member of the Hall assembly, I observed some members of the executive council were not coherent with the hall, this was a challenge. In order to tackle it, I explained to them that members of the hall assembly were not there to attack them but to foster a healthy relationship to help the growth of the hall.
ABH Press: Seeing as you have never served as an executive in the hall, do you think this puts you at a disadvantage as to being familiar with how things are run in the hall?
I do not think it puts me at a disadvantage. This is because I believe experience comes with service. The more you serve the more your experience builds up. I have served in a number of capacities within the hall. I have also volunteered in other capacities. All these have helped mould me into who I am today.
ABH Press: What are your plans for Brownites if elected? How do you plan to achieve them?
I call it the Feasibility Plan. It’s a 3-point agenda. It entails Innovation, that is, things I am bringing to the table, the Problems I have identified in the hall and proffered solutions to and lastly Maintenance, these are things I have observed in the outgoing administration that I would like to maintain.
One of the problems identified is the degrading state of ABH Ventures. I intend to make the ventures independent of the hall in the sense that it will generate its own money, settle expenditures and bring money back to the hall which is its primary purpose.
For Innovation, I plan to bring the health insurance scheme which is already our right according to the University’s regulations, to Brownites. I have spoken with doctors and other people who have worked on this in times past.
Also, as regarding Maintenance, the current administration had a suggestion box which I would like to maintain, health and financial seminars, COMUI WiFi and so on.
ABH Press: You mentioned that making ABH Venture’s independent of the hall is one of your plans, kindly share how you intend to do that.
I would love to give a full break down on manifesto night but there are very solid and feasible plans on ground to ensure it happens.
ABH Press: What do you think is the most pressing need of Brownites? How do you intend to combat it?
In my conversations with a lot of Brownites, the commonest issues Brownites are most concerned about are water availability, the deplorable state of the dumpsite, ropes not being on their clothing line stands and bed bugs.
ABH Press: What are your thoughts about the recently concluded hall week? Can you rate it over 10?
I think it was good, this being that majority of the plans were carried out although there were some limitations which was majorly funds.
I would rate it a 6/10.
ABH Press: Following your response, the outgoing tenure faced a major challenge of paucity of funds during the planning of the hall week, which led to the scrapping of the ABH Dinner, how do you intend to prevent its reoccurrence?
Again, these are plans I would like to completely divulge at the manifesto night. However, I have spoken to a number of experienced people as regarding this issue and I have been well informed of certain steps to take which I have added to my personal plans to combat the issue if elected.
ABH Press: There has been a consistent plumbing problem in ABH, how do you intend to address this?
The issue with the water has a lot of complexities surrounding it. I, being a member of the hall assembly have heard from the present hall chairperson, the approaches he took to address the problem. I have plans to keep on advocating for Brownites amongst other things. Also, as one my personal traits, I have the ability to talk to the appropriate persons and let them see reasons and the implications of the water problem to Brownites.
ABH Press: As regarding information dissemination between the executives and Brownites, there seemed to be a general delay or lack of it in the outgoing tenure, what solution do you propose?
I plan to release memos to Brownites and paste them on notice boards where they get to know everything that is happening with the hall and the executive council. There will be regular progress reports as well. One of my plans to have regular meetings with Brownites where their voices can be heard.
ABH Press: You have 2 opponents vying for this same post, what gives you the upper hand over them?
I have served in the hall assembly, as an honourable member. I have listened to every single member of the executive council, I have heard their plights, I have noted their challenges and come up with solutions to handle them and prevent their reoccurrence. I served in different committees of the recently concluded hall week, I believe they have fully equipped me as regarding the right steps to take. I also have the ability to communicate effectively with people as I am easily accessible to Brownites. I do not want to be the type of leader that leads from the side-lines, I want to be actively involved.
ABH Press: In one or two sentences, why should Brownites vote for you as their next hall chairperson?
I am ready to work. I am ready to serve. I am ready to be the voice of Brownites, inside and outside of ABH. I have a deep love for the Hall. I will go to the limits to ensure that this hall gets to her place of glory.
ABH Press: Do you have any last words for the ABH Press?
I believe in transparency. I believe the Press has the right to be independent of the executive council. I intend to ensure that happens with the Press, because the truth is there are a lot of things we would be doing and the Press is part of the people that will get these things out there. If elected, I will work with you all to ensure the smooth running of the great Alexander Brown Hall.