It was Sam Walton who said “high expectations are the key to everything”. However, like I did indicate in my write up on my expectations of the Davies Ohene Fobi led administration, and the just ended General Assembly meeting, I did not expect much. And I still stand by that. Find more here: http://ugfile.com/my-expectations-for-general-assembly-meeting-tonight/
That only means it wouldn’t take much effort for the administration to perform very well on my score sheet. With sacrifice, a clear sense of direction, leadership and advocacy, the FPP leadership like Abdul Karim Ibrahim, my colleague aptly christened the era, would just be fine with me.
So to my assessment, I will start from the organization, to the deliberations and the conduct of both the Speaker, key actors like the Treasurer, G.A members and observers as well.
On the point of organization, the General Assembly scored 3 out of 10.
This is for its failure to anticipate a possible black out and prepare accordingly. Against the backdrop that G.A suffered a similar fate in its first meeting and coupled with the fact that the meeting was held at the forecourt of the Union Building led to a below average score.
Attendance was evidently low. Most leading JCR presidents and their secretaries were absent. Scheduling a G.A meeting on a day the entertainment industry had Legon in its hands was off the mark.
“There is no stigma attached to recognizing a bad decision in time to install a better one”- Lawrence J. Peter.
For anybody to score a highly polarized front, skewed far from the interest of students to deeply seated interests is a herculean task. But to make the work easier, I’d start from the conduct of the Speaker first. The speaker initiated a Congressional address for the first time. He reiterated his vision of e-governance/paperless era for the G.A. He also touched on a ceremonial sitting with the alumni and also a visit to the national assembly. His prepared speech was pristine. For which 7 is scored.
Correction of Minutes
The usual typographical errors and omissions were encountered in the minute. The manner however in which the honorable members went about the correction required more corrections than the errors they sought to correct. It is hoped the new media approach of G.A where members have access to documents and presentations in their Google drive accounts will check the needless waste of time over corrections and omissions. On that point, 4.
State of the SRC Address Delivered By President Davis Ohene Fobi
Article 18(1) of the SRC constitution states inter alia:
The president shall, acting on the advice of the Executive Committee, at the beginning of each semester and before the dissolution of the General Assembly, deliver to the General Assembly an address on the State of Affairs of the SRC.
This the president did immaculately. His speech was structured in the following thematic areas:
- Dissolution of Accra City Campus and Distance Education SRCs.
- Courtesy Calls
- Withdrawal from USAG
- Lightening Systems
- SRC Hostel Complex
- WiFi connectivity
- Suspense of Meal Plan
- Trustee Board
- Projects for the Semester
- NUGS Congress
These were elaborated upon with confidence and a sense of accomplishment. He scores 7.5 out of 10 for that.
The president’s responses to questions from the General Assembly were however evasive, blurring the lines of clarity and precision. A classic example was his response to the dissolution of Accra and Distance Education SRCs and also why some students still have to pay for the servicing of the plants.
At this point, fatigue had set in for most honourable members that a good number left.
When the president was asked why Ebenezer Azamati, former deputy speaker of G.A’s allowance which he donated for the erection of sign posts cautioning road users of the presence of students with special needs, the president said he had no idea of any such arrangement.
Nomination and Appointment of Audit Board Members
This board is responsible for auditing and reporting on the accounts of the SRC and all committees. The membership per the constitution should comprise of 5 members appointed by G.A at the first sitting.
Out of the 7 that were nominated, the following 5 were appointed:
- Kwame Awuku- Chairman
- Amoo Kelvin
- Theophilus Nkansah
- Eric Adjatey
- Emmanuel Cobbinah
Leaving out Fedrick Opoku and Eugene Adjei.
Then came the reading of the proposed budget for the first semester by the SRC Treasurer Perry Johnson.
The main challenge with the SRC proposed budget is the wholesale nature in which it was sold to members of G.A. General Assembly members could rant as much as they wanted. They had no option but to accept the explanations from the Treasurer. Contributions from the members did not mean much as not even a single dot was changed on the budget albeit some genuine concerns for frugality and better alternatives.
For example an SRC brochure that often does not number beyond 10 pages is going for GhC4.50. The SRC intends to print 5000 copies. Ordinarily the huge number should mean lower cost per unit. In total, The SRC has gained approval to spend GhC22,500.00 on 5000 copies of a 7 paged fresher’s brochure.
Even when, G.A members offered better alternatives, the Treasurer couldn’t care less.
The allowance for the president and his 3 executives was sacrosanct. When asked to justify why GhC15,000.00 should be given to the executives, the treasurer threw the challenge to his other colleagues. And none better suited like the Secretary rose up to the occasion to justify why students who apply for the SRC Yi Bi Boa Scholarship received GhC365.00 while we blow GhC15,000.00 on our beloved executives who are killing themselves to serve students.
Felicia Agyei cited issues of motivation for the executives as justification for that amount. She wondered why G.A members would not understand since they themselves are given inner rooms at their various halls as motivation for the being G.A members.
Find details of the budget here: http://ugfile.com/we-intend-to-spend-248393-cedis-this-semester-ug-src-treasurer/
It is not clear why most of the JCR presidents and their secretaries decided to boycott the meeting. It looks the case there is no love lost between the executive officers and the executive committee.
Many are those who left G.A meeting thinking of the legislative arm of the student movement as a toothless bull dog, rubber stump and a waste of precious time as not a single change was effected regardless the objections that were raised.
Giving impetus to this observation is the cabal of foot soldering barking dogs whose use is to make the most noise during voice counts from the gallery.
Indeed, General Assembly must embrace “a new era of dignity and respect” as said by its Speaker. For such a thing to happen, the General Assembly must live up to the true meaning of its name- a decision making body, not a decision smuggling body.