On Delayed Receipts And the Need for Transparency and Accountability in the Distribution of Student Packages


Agnes Oyedokun and Opemipo Olukoga

During the previous session, a sense of disappointment enveloped numerous students in the Faculty of Arts who, despite fulfilling their basic obligations, did not receive the expected packages.

Since the commencement of the 2022/23 session, AFASites have been facing one challenge or the other regarding the payment of their AFAS dues. One of these is the difficulty that surrounds the obtainment of the receipts that serve as the proof of an AFASite’s payment. It is common knowledge that during the collection of the end of the session packages, AFASites are expected to tender these receipts as evidence that they are financial members of the association and are entitled to such benefits. In cases where some students were unable to provide their receipts not because they had not paid their dues but because the Financial Secretary failed to issue them, they were denied packages. As the situation continues to stretch far into the session, AFASites are beginning to express concern over history repeating itself to their detriment.

Comfort Nwachukwu*, a  student who was unable to receive any package last session due to not getting a receipt, said, “The Financial Secretary kept delaying and postponing giving me my receipt and this continued until he left the office without giving me the receipt.”

Since this happened last session—2021/2022, it raises a crucial question: Is history repeating itself, leading to student frustration and doubts about the executives’ efficiency? While the specific reasons for the previous session’s package distribution problem remain unclear, inadequate communication and transparency from the executives heightened the frustration. When questioned about the issue, the current executives pointed fingers at their predecessor in the Akoem-led administration, for the widespread package non-delivery. Students were left uninformed about potential delays or problems, intensifying feelings of neglect and disappointment. This communication gap is particularly troubling as it undermines trust in the elected student representatives.

Aminat Adebowale, a 300-level student, complained, “The situation of the pending packages does not actually speak well of the administration in charge. Only half of the packages were distributed, and no information was passed across, either to apologize to us or anything.”

In the current session, some students vehemently declare their refusal to pay or plan to pay late due to the recurring nature of this issue.

Also reacting to this issue,  Daniel Merotolohun* said, “I have been there (secretariat) so many times and they kept saying the receipts have finished. Shouldn’t they have records of the total number of students that paid? I have not paid for this session, though, and it is because of this issue. I even paid for the shirt, I got it.”

This session’s reports of students not receiving receipts after payment raise further questions about what seems to be a systemic issue. Receipts are crucial for students, acting as proof of payment and potentially holding value for future claims or reimbursements. Their absence not only creates a sense of insecurity for students, but also signifies potential inefficiencies within the financial management system and a doubt as to whether students might get their packages or not.

To avoid a recurrence of past issues and restore trust within the student body, the executives need to undertake crucial measures. Addressing these issues effectively requires a comprehensive investigation into their root causes, potentially involving an examination of various aspects of the process. Regaining the trust and confidence of the student body is paramount, therefore, the executives should exhibit proactive and transparent communication by acknowledging the shortcomings of previous sessions and detailing the concrete steps being taken to rectify them.

Nevertheless, when asked about the concerning issue, the Financial Secretary, Iweajunwa Pleasant David, asserted that nearly everyone who has made payments has received receipts, with only a small fraction of about 3/4 individuals being an exception due to their unavailability. He mentioned that he is always present at the AFAS secretariat, expressing unawareness of some AFASites who are yet to receive receipts.

“This is very strange to me because most of the AFASites that have paid have collected their receipts, and those that are yet to get their receipts might be due to one reason or the other, probably missing the schedule. Earlier, I created a schedule to help them know when they can meet me in the office, and most people have followed the schedule. Some call to book appointments with me, to know when I’ll be in the office. So, this issue about AFASites not getting their receipts is strange to me. Sometimes, I am in the office for about four to six hours. I am also a student, a student of one of the most tedious departments. I always have rehearsals, yet I have ensured to not let my busy schedule disturb my official duties of issuing receipts, because that is what I signed up for. There are only about three or four persons who have not collected their receipts due to lack of time or my unavailability. I beg all AFASites who have not collected their receipts to reach out so that they can get their receipts. I already tabled out my schedule, but if they cannot meet up with that time, they should reach out to me and we can schedule a convenient time.”

The feedback from AFASites contradicts that of the Financial Secretary, who asserted providing receipts to almost all who have made payments. It is imperative to address and resolve this issue. To prevent its recurrence, conducting a comprehensive investigation into the root cause is crucial. This may entail scrutinising the logistics of acquiring, storing, and distributing packages, evaluating communication channels used to inform students about potential delays, and examining financial management practices to identify any discrepancies affecting package distribution.

Many students have also raised the need for creation of a feedback mechanism by executives, a medium where students can voice their concerns and suggestions to foster a sense of inclusivity. It demonstrates a commitment to addressing student needs effectively, as well as an availability of a clear outline of the process for receiving packages, including eligibility criteria, timelines, and distribution procedures.

Unfulfilled promises regarding students’ packages highlight the need for improved transparency, accountability, and communication within the student body. By thoroughly investigating the root cause, implementing effective solutions, and fostering a culture of open communication, the executives can work towards ensuring a smooth and equitable experience for all students. Remember, students deserve to have their voices heard and their concerns addressed effectively. By taking concrete steps and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement, the executives can rebuild trust and ensure a more positive and fulfilling student experience.

Editor’s note: Due to requests for anonymity from some sources, some names were changed in the report.

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