During our interactive session with the Lagos State Command of SARS on Wednesday, 7th October, 2020, information and campaign posters of a secretly scheduled, unadvertised election for the 14th of October 2020 at the MMIA Chapter, wafted through the environment of interaction at the Ikeja headquarters of the Police Command.
The reactions that trailed the leaked information were that of the condemnation of Tony Iju and Co, and their arrogant display of contempt for subsisting court orders and judgments, and importantly, viciously trampling on the provisions of the Supreme Constitution of ANLCA 2008 (as amended), by usurping the duties of the Board of Trustees (BOT) and Association Electoral Commission (ASECO). NECOM has no business conducting elections into chapters. That is within the purview of the BOT, through directives to ASECO.
Permit me at this juncture to take the minds of the members of the MMIA Chapter (aka One Big Family chapter) by recalling that elections were planned for five tenure-expiring chapters in the Western Zone, scheduled for the 3rd of December 2018. Nomination fees were paid and forms picked, filled and returned before the published date for submission of the nomination forms by contestants for the various offices.
Before all these happenings, there were deliberate plans to punish all the executives of Western Zone, with the exception of MMIA, for voting against “them” at the NECOM elections of 8th March 2018 at Enugu. There were so many subterranean moves and intrigues to recruit unqualified, unregistered members of the chapters, by circumventing the role of the Chairmen of the chapters in compiling their Chapters register.
There were protests from Seme Border and KLT to the National Secretariat. Those who wielded the levers of power then, in absence of Tony Iju who was preoccupied with his campaign for a federal seat in the National Assembly, discountenanced these agitations and protests from some of the Western Zone chapters’ executives.
In order to consummate their devilish plans, with the then ASECO in active connivance, they decided on their own to postpone the elections into the Western Zone Chapters and instead, scheduled an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, first on the 10th of December 2018 and later, changed to the 17th of December 2018.
Decisions from that meeting sacking all elected executives in the Western Zone (Never heard of this kind of brigandage and mindless behavior before), and appointing administrators (unknown to ANLCA’s constitution) in their stead, started a series of court cases.
First was FHC/L/CS/2155/2018 which was intended to arrest the very unfair and unjustifiable decisions of the NEC in Abuja on 17/12/2018, was granted on 28/12/2018 by Justice M. S. Hassan – that status quo ante bellum be maintained by all parties in this suit, pending the determination of the motion on Notice.
Tony Iju and his co-travelers continued to treat that Order with levity and impunity till date. Even his attempt to reverse those obnoxious actions undertaken by some of his colleagues in NECOM, in consonance with three BOT members (as they were then known) on the 25th of November 2019, was half hearted, as the main spiritual and physical backers of Tony Iju were up in arms with him, immediately after that ill-fated outing.
Actions thereafter continue to show Tony Iju as spineless, uncoordinated, without an iota of courage and honesty, thereby plunging all of us into a needless crisis till today.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa delivered a landmark judgement in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1274/2018 on the 11th of October 2019 – and this was about five weeks before the NEC meeting in Lagos which reversed the decisions of the NEC/jamboree held in Abuja on the 17th December 2018.
In that judgement, and instructively too, Justice Aikawa declared that: “I hereby declare that it is only when CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) gives its assent upon application by ANLCA that any appointment of a trustee can be valid”. This declaration has rendered completely useless all the activities carried out by that BOT – which certainly included all chapters’ elections and, especially the NECOM elections that took place in Enugu in 2018.
The fact that some of us have decided to carry on, irrespective of the implications of Justice Aikawa’s far reaching judgment, does not mean that some of the people can fool all the people all the time. And that is why this timely warning is being sounded loudly and clearly, here and now to MMIA Chapter members: DO NOT FALL FOR THE FOLLY OF THESE DECEIVERS, IN THEIR DESPERATION TO EXTORT YOU.
Simply put, per ANLCA’s Supreme Constitution 2008 – NECOM does not have any powers to conduct any elections into any Chapter of the Association. It is solely the Board of Trustees – BOT’s responsibility through the Association Electoral Commission – ASECO. Anything to the contrary is illegal, unlawful, null, void and unsustainable.
If Kano and Abuja Chapters allowed themselves to be deceived, inspite of the subsisting court orders and judgements restraining conducts of elections, then they should take the blame for their financial and moral losses, when the chips are down.
According to the declaration by Justice Aikawa – those elected into the BOT in Warri on the 13th of February 2014, remained unrecognized as BOT members, unless and until so recognized by the CAC. And now, the BOT with names of eight members of nine, except Tony Iju, has been registered with a certificate of 16th January 2020 carrying all eight names of the members of BOT, implying and following the judgement, that January 2020 commences the tenure of the BOT elected on the 13th of February 2014 in Warri.
As it therefore stands today, the BOT is the only lawful organ of governance existing in ANLCA today. This reality was driven home severally in the past. But, the block-headed pretenders to power chose to ignore this, and by extension, they deliberately threw away several opportunities to arrive at political solutions to peacefully settle the unnecessary crisis in ANLCA.
Without doubt, “they” have suddenly realized that their game is up. They can no longer continue to deceive the people. The people/members of ANLCA are now over enlightened about the goings-on.
No wonder, most contestants that have been preparing for the secretly scheduled elections for MMIA on the 14th of October 2020 at Durbar Hotel, Lagos surrounded Tony Iju at the venue of the interactions with the Police in Ikeja, to ask him serious, probing questions about their fate, in the light of the revelations on the status or competency of the proposed elections, and the probability of getting their paid nomination fees back, without recourse to the earlier ones paid.
Tony would have played on their intelligence to wriggle out of their midst. MMIA members must read ANLCA’s Constitution carefully and properly to especially note that it is only the BOT, through ASECO that can conduct elections in ANLCA, and not NECOM. Justice Oguntoyinbo in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/599/2020 has affirmed that the BOT as it stands today, is well constituted and nobody should debar them from carrying out their statutory responsibilities, as enshrined in the Supreme Constitution of ANLCA 2008.
In furtherance to the above, all members of MMIA must take note that Justice Rilwan Aikawa – the same Judge that delivered the 11th October 2019 judgement in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1274/2018 – has gone ahead to order that all NECOM officers should stop parading themselves as such, “until the hearing and determination of the interlocutory injunction”.
Since that order was given on the 28/8/2020 in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/921/2020, these evil-minded people have gone berserk, damning all known decency and carried on parading themselves with impunity in the Press, even having the effrontery to conduct elections in Kano and Abuja on the 23rd and 24th of September 2020 respectively, and went ahead to publish same in the social media. All these are acts that are capable of causing a breakdown of law and order.
But for the resilience, patience and tact of the Western Zone executives and members, “they” would have long been forgotten, rather than allowing them to be humiliating, embarrassing and continuously throwing tantrums at us, the decent and law-abiding majority in the Western Zone of ANLCA. Their cup is certainly full now and something must give, soonest.
On the 19th of December 2018 – barely two days after their ill-advised jamboree in Abuja, elections were held into Apapa, KLT, MMIA, Seme Border and PTML Chapters in Villa Park Hotel, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos.
The five recognized BOT members conducted the elections through ASECO led by Chief Obi Chima with Ashiwaju Bolade Oladipo as Secretary, and other members.
Importantly, Tope Akindele was the only one that remained behind with his supporters to contest the elections, and he was thus elected and so declared chairman, returned elected and he took the oath of office, which he was not allowed to exercise till date. Other members that came for that election from MMIA were ordered to leave the venue by Tony Iju and Aloy Igwe. That unfortunate move has thrown MMIA Chapter into a seemingly intractable crisis of dire political and financial consequences.
In Suit No. LD/8053MFHR/2019, Tope Akindele was ordered installed as Chairman of MMIA, this was vehemently resisted with everything available to “them”, including brandishing an appeal that was never pursued to its logical conclusion.
So, my dear great members of “One Big Family” of the MMIA Chapter, I want to passionately appeal to you not to allow your good selves to be deceived and led into an unsustainable election by those who do not have the locus standi to conduct elections, by selling the false idea that the BOT does not exist. Truth is that only the BOT of ANLCA as presently constituted vide the January 16th 2020 Certificate of Registration that is known to law.
Let us all queue behind the BOT to resuscitate the other organs of governance and properly reset the foundations of ANLCA again.
Members of the MMIA Chapter should all be reminded that the BOT made a publication in the Punch of 30th September, 2020 at page 38 in which they exhibited the court order restraining NECOM officers from parading themselves as such, and also displaying some contemptuous outings by Tony and Co.
This, to a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria and members of ANLCA, is enough “word for the wise”. Stay clear of trouble, please.