ANA CRISIS & ADVISORY COUNCIL INTERVENTION

August 14, 2020

ANA CRISIS & ADVISORY COUNCIL INTERVENTION –
Dear Members of ANA
REPORT ON THE NEWLY ELECTED EXECUTIVE OF ANA
Fraternal greetings!
I am pleased to present this report to you in my capacity as the current Chairman of the ANA National Advisory Council as authorized by the 2012 Constitution.
You will all recall that there was an unfortunate debacle at the end of the last ANA national convention in Enugu, as a result of which the elections that should have produced a new ANA Executive were aborted.
Following this development—a situation quite unprecedented in the history of our Association—the Advisory Council was contacted, through me as its Chairman, to resolve the crisis. This, if I may point out, is in line with our constitutional role.
I immediately set to action, and consulted all the available members of the Council, only to find out, sadly, that none of us was present at the Enugu meeting.
This then obliged me to call for eye-witness accounts from some of those who were there. But these accounts were, perhaps not surprisingly, often contradictory and dilatory, always depending on the roles that each witness played in the confusion.
I was told, for instance, that one of the reasons that the election failed was that the candidates themselves were the ones who chose the electoral panel; that several delegates who were not qualified to vote were admitted into the assembly; that surprisingly, shamefully, money was being used to induce voters; that some people decided to sabotage the procedure by having NEPA switch off the light at a critical moment; etc.
So many stories, so many allegations! The most unpalatable of them had to do however with purported shenanigans regarding the ANA land in Abuja, about which I heard numerous accusations and counter-accusations. There were also repeated, violent threats by some individuals about “breaking up the association” if their wishes were not met.
This went on for a week or so, over the phone and through visits to my house by various concerned members, while I tried to decide on an appropriate course of action. In that interval, the chairperson of the 5-man electoral committee set up at Enugu, followed by two other members, informed me that they had quit.
Finally therefore, given these circumstances, and after much time-consuming discussion to and fro among ourselves, the Advisory Council decided that the best way forward was for us to organize a completely fresh referendum, in order to give everyone a fair chance.
But this was easier said than done. The first obstacle was to raise a panel for this exercise. Almost everyone of the people suggested was a partisan, and those who were not declined to participate for certain personal reasons. (Prof Ezeigbo, for instance, who had been chosen at Enugu to chair the emergency electoral committee, and had resigned, flatly refused to chair this other one.)
As time was passing, and acrimony was increasing especially in the media by aggrieved contestants, we finally felt constrained to take action to stem the controversy and redeem the association. Hence we decided to quickly set up an election committee made up exclusively of former presidents of the association. Then, when we realized that there was only one female here, namely Prof May Nwoye, we had to appeal strongly to Prof Ezeigbo to join the committee since she was in Enugu and seemed to have been trusted by all parties there.
I have to say here that it was no easy task putting the committee together. Each one was justifiably afraid to have his or her reputation soiled by disgruntled parties. (As you all know, this has been our experience so far, unfortunately). But after much begging and appealing, the following panel finally agreed to serve, just to rescue the association, and as I said, totally at their own expense, without any compensation whatsoever. They are, as follows:
Prof Jerry Agada- Chairman
Prof Olu Obafemi
Odia Ofeimun
Dr Wale Okediran
Prof Akachi Ezeigbo
Prof May Nwoye, and
Prof Remi Raji
They were given the mandate of setting out the modalities for a new election, and then organizing an emergency general meeting to carry it out for us.
Please note that they were not to take any decision whatsoever about the Abuja land that was so much in dispute. While we agreed that the issue was very grievous indeed, our position however was that it should be left to whatever new executive emerged to deal with.
As soon as this decision was announced however, pressures mounted from various parties, some of them accusing me of bias, calling me a “stupid elder”, and all sorts of names. Barrister Maiwada for instance gave me a very long call, ending with the threat not to cooperate with the Advisory Council unless some members of the Electoral Committee were removed, and some others included. Others also came in with their own pre-conditions. But, given the criteria used to set up the Committee, it was obvious that their wishes could not be entertained without our being accused one way or other of prejudice. It was best to leave the composition of the Committee as it was.
Preparations were then begun in earnest for the EGM and the elections. Money as expected was the major problem, since we had no funds whatsoever to carry out the assignment. So, the committee was asked to use its good will to appeal to individuals and private bodies and any other sources it could find to assist in the assignment, while we others sent in whatever we could afford.
This of course delayed things considerably, and before we were ready, two unfortunate things happened—first, the Maiwada group began a massive campaign of calumny and abuse against us, jumped guns, and went ahead to organize an illegal election in Abuja, openly defying the injunctions of ANA’s Board Of Trustees.
Secondly, a terrible epidemic, of unprecedented ferocity, descended on the world, spreading fear and panic everywhere, and disrupting our normal way of life. This Corid-19, as the pandemic has come to be known, shut down the entire country, and brought all activities to a halt.
As a result, it took some time for the EGM/Elections to hold. Indeed, they held at last only because of the political weight and influence of the committee’s chairman, Prof Jerry Agada, former minister of education of the Federation. (As an aside, I want to thank him profoundly for his role and exemplary nobility throughout this whole unpleasant business).
There are more stories to tell, most of them unsavoury, and you undoubtedly know most of them already. So there is little point setting them out again here. Suffice it to say that in spite of it all, our mission has been successfully completed. The new ANA Executive has been elected and duly sworn in now. As already announced, they are:
Camillus Ukah-President(ANA Imo), Maik Ortserga - General Secretary (ANA Benue) Farida Mohammed - Vice-President (ANA Niger), Freeman Okosun - Asst. Secretary (ANA Oyo), Stella Touremi - Treasurer (ANA Bayelsa), Chimankpa Ogbueri - Financial Secretary (ANA Rivers), Matthew Taiwo - Auditor (ANA Kaduna), Wole Adedoyin - PRO South (ANA Osun), Umar Kakamu Aliyu (ANA Nasarawa) - PRO North (ANA Nasarawa), Bentex Torlafia - Legal Adviser (ANA Nasarawa), Charles Iornumbe- Ex Officio 1 (ANA Benue), Odono Matthew - Ex Officio 2 (ANA Ebonyi).
Therefore we, as the National Advisory Council, have fulfilled our duty to you our members, and to our founding fathers. ANA can now resume its forward march.
Thank you very much.
Prof Femi Osofisan
Signed:
Prof Olu Obafemi
Odia Ofeimun
Dr Wale Okediran
Prof Akachi Ezeigbo
Prof May Nwoye, and
Prof Remi Raji