MAY WE NOT BE DAMNED: AN ELECTION TO REMEMBER
Editor’s Note: Rachael Idowu is a pen name for the writer. The Opinions expressed in this commentary are his/her own.
The drama, the politicking, the switching of loyalties, the propaganda.
These words are not enough to encompass the award-winning drama that has taken place in Alexander Brown Hall’s electioneering process over the past few weeks. With events too numerous to mention, this year’s election was all the more important for two major reasons:
– Not a few Brownites felt that the performance of the Executive Council over the course of the last administration and culminating in the Hall Week was below-par, especially considering the fact that it was the Hall’s 60th. Brownites did not seem to want a repeat of the poor publicity, poor turnout and seemingly lacklustre approach this year.
– The sheer number of contestants this year was unprecedented as seventeen (17) contestants eventually contested for 10 offices. Reports have it that there would have even been 20 aspirants if not for the stepping down of two Hall Chairman aspirants and a Social and Buttery Minister aspirant.
Delving straight into the more “controversial” stories:
A. THE HALL CHAIRMAN
I daresay that if 95% of Brownites were asked a mere 8 weeks ago about who they thought would emerge as the next Hall Chairman, without blinking, they would have said either Abdulbasit Fehintola or Silas Okafor. Very few would have given Folajomi Isa a solid fighting chance (C’mon, FJ vs his class rep vs the Information Minister). But this young man was not in the least deterred by the odds as he embarked on a rigorous one-on-one campaign while undertaking what is probably the second-most diverse use-of-media-campaign ever seen in ABH. (from videos to beautiful designs and even a ‘morning cry’). Folajomi Isa quickly rose to become a strong contender for the throne and as luck (on his side) would have it, he eventually emerged as the only running aspirant and the eventual winner of this election.
If his actions are as half as good as his campaign, ABH is in for a very interesting year.
B. THE FEMALE AFFAIRS MINISTRY
How do you travel to Lagos for your outside posting for a month prior to the election without leaving any obvious preparation behind, come back and still beat an opponent who has a strong numerical claim by virtue of being in MBBS?
Apparently, Anastasia has the trick on lockdown as she won by more than 30 votes in an election that most people anticipated would be more tightly fought. Kudos must be given to Anastasia for grabbing her room-to-room campaign, screening , press-night and manifesto by the jugular while Mobosola could have seemingly taken an election which had two relatively new and neutral political entities (and thus, a whole neutral electorate to impress) more seriously. Who knows, the results might have been closer?
C. THE SPORTS MINISTRY
How do you separate two equally good and popular footballers in their own right; both stars in their own department and equally beautiful plans? Apparently, by more than 100 votes.
Before going further, kudos must be given to Dapo for running the most encompassing, varied and interesting campaign ABH has ever seen. A multitude of beautiful posters which addressed each and every aspect of ABH Sports, Brownites were wowed by art which would have undoubtedly swung more voters in saner climes. His aspirations were also boosted by his experience as Sports Secretary of UADS. However, this was not enough as Paul Edet still came out as winner by a convincing margin, perhaps pulling heavily on his status as ABH’s star footballer and a resident in G block to boot.
Nevertheless, doubt till remains in some Brownites’ minds as a good sportsman has never been equal to a good sports administrator (Case in point, Ope Ala et al).
It is up to Paulo to dispel people’s fear.
D. SOCIAL AND BUTTERY MINISTRY
Was there any post whose campaign was funnier or less clear-cut? From Amala and Ewedu to sandwiches, this election had it all. At a point, Brownites were starting to wonder if there was more to the office than was visible as aspirants kept popping up faster than pimples on a teenage boy’s face. Eventually, Onyeka, Ige and Lemon were the final men standing as Ige eventually emerged winner by two votes.
One of the class-splitting elections, the only notable point from this election was Ige’s relentless in-your-face approach to the election, from multiple GIFs to flyers, banners and multiple posters, perhaps borrowing from his experience as Sports Secretary, UIMSA.
E. INFORMATION MINISTRY
Another class-splitting election that was literally decided by ONE vote, this pitted Feranmi Omitoyin vs Sam Olateju in what was an uneventful election until the Manifesto night. Perhaps as a result of the sale of COMUI pins, Sam was able to catch up on Feranmi’s advantage as UIMSA’s Assistant General Secretary and due to a few strategic variables, emerge as winner.
A. ARE ABH’S ELECTION PATTERNS BETTER THAN NIGERIA’S? I DOUBT
For a Hall which supposedly comprises of some of the brightest minds in the country and is also supposed to be a hub of positive change for this country’s future, the electioneering process was not exactly what to write home about.
From blind loyalty to “Na my guy”, “She’s in my department”, “She’s my friend”, “He’s my classmate”, I daresay that most Brownites’ minds on who to vote had been made up before the screening, press and manifesto night. These are three avenues in which the mettle of candidates should have been properly vetted, their plans properly dismantled and then enlightened decisions made on the best minds to be at the helm of affairs for the next year.
This “Nigerian behaviour” even extended as far as bashing the screening/press night results which did not favour their favourite candidates and personality attacks on various platforms.
Blind solidarity is the beginning of the end of any body and if we carry on in this regard, I fear for a time when we would be opportune to snatch ballot boxes and mass-thumbprint results without fear or trembling.
B. FOR ALL OUR CLAIMS OF UNITY, ABH IS STILL SPLIT
I can safely presume that one of the objectives of ABH’s current accommodation structure is to promote healthy integration of the various arms of the healthcare profession. It deeply saddened me to keep hearing recurring statements like “He’s one of our own” “She’s in my department”. What right do we have to bash NMA vs JOHESU for seemingly juvenile behaviour if in our infancy, we are taking this approach to “baby” politics? As a whole, we need a radical change to our mindset if in the future, the current crop of students is to be greater than the sum of its parts and move Nigerian healthcare.
Either due to the sheer number of candidates or the amount of emotional investment into this elections, different factions have sprung in this hall which are not good for the hall’s welfare in the future. The onus lies on the Executive Council to transcend barriers of loyalty, friendship and department, bring everyone into the fold and craft a stronger ABH for the good of all.
D. G BLOCK = ABH’S KANO
No need to spread on this point.
If you want to win any election in ABH, you must win G Block.
For the love of Alexander Brown Hall