Greetings to the good people of Igbere Ebiri. We may have all witnessed, read and/or heard what has been going on regarding Igbere Progressive Association International (IPAI) since July 2016. It is sad to note that the trust, equity, honesty and acceptable moral values which IPAI was founded as stated in Article I of the IPAI constitution, has been eroded.
For the records purposes, it is imperative to inform Igbere people that I served Igbere community through IPAI with all my might, resources and knowledge. I served in various capacities including but not limited to the following:
- Secretary of IPAI (2007 – 2011),
- Vice President of IPAI (2011 – 2013),
- Publicity Secretary of IPAI (2013 – 2016),
- Financial Secretary of IPAI (2015 – 2016),
- Editor and Publisher of IPAI Program Magazine (2009 – 2016),
- Founder and Developer of IPAIINC.ORG (2007),
- Webmaster of IPAIINC.ORG (2007 – 2016),
- Pacific Coast Chapter President (2007 to Present),
- Elected to serve as the Vice President of IPAI (2016 – 2019), but now resigning.
Needless, to say that I worked and served IPAI in various capacities without minding who takes the credit. I was a member of two local chapters (Pacific Coast and DC-Maryland and yet very active in both of them at the same time (financially and in service). While serving in my official capacity, I worked well with every other executive member and in most cases had to step in to fill in the gap when any IPAI officer was incapable of discharging their duties. I helped every Igbere person who contacted me one way or the other. On the other hand, a few Igbere people also helped me somehow.
I attended all IPAI conventions with exception of 2005, when it was just an inaugural meeting which resulted in selection the name IPAI and then setting up the defunct Caretaker Committee.
Many of us who helped to establish, build, nurture and promote IPAI can no longer do so in good conscience because of the recent events regarding 2016 IPAI election and its aftermath. My reasons for resigning as Vice President Elect and dissociating from IPAI are listed below:
- According to the Independent Panel (IP) set-up by the Board of Directors, the 2016 IPAI President Election was manipulated to produce a pre-determined outcome.
- Based on the IP findings, the mandate given to Chief Esse Esse by the people after the first election was essentially taken away from him unduly, without permission and in violation of the IPAI constitution by the electoral committee. SEE THE FINDINGS OF THE IP and item #3 reads as follows: “There is no constitutional justification for the removal of 4 votes cast for Chief Esse that put him at 28 votes to 24 votes for Elesie and resulted in the so-called illegal tie declared by the Electoral Committee that called for unjustified Second Presidential Election for the following reasons: (READ THE INDEPENDENT PANEL REPORT).
- As if that was not enough, even after a thorough investigation and report by the Independent Panel, some members of the Board of Directors deprived Chief Esse of the mandate legally given to him by the Igbere people who voted during the election.
- The Board of Directors Decision vote, where one of the Board voters Mr. Saul Onyeuku (former IPAI President) who was found culpable by the Independent Panel cannot represent me and the good people of Igbere. The IP report states: “Mazi Saul Onyeuku, a member of the current IPAI Board of Directors, who was quoted as saying, “never Esse, anybody but Esse” (Esse’s Petition, September, 18th, 2016); who, despite the fact that he is currently serving as a board member of the IPAI Board of Directors that elected to CONSTITUTE and INAUGURATE an Independent Panel to seek ways to find a peaceful and uniting medium for IPAI, did not respond to any of the “Fact-finding Requests” sent to him. Mazi Saul Onyeuku, in behaving in this manner, demonstrated lack of RESPECT FOR THE SAME IPAI BOARD OF DIRECTORS he is a member of; projected his abject rejection for peace and unity among IPAI; he displayed an unmitigated arrogance toward IPAI constituted agents and willingness to foster disunity, discord, and factionalism in the IPAI.; these attitudes, if allowed in our midst, will destroy the unity of IPAI.”
- A situation whereby one of the ‘defendants’ (Mr. Saul Onyeuku) in a case becomes a Jury and Judge in his own case is absolutely unacceptable to me. For those who don’t know or chose to ignore it, there is what is called ‘conflict of interest’, and that is why honorable judges recuse themselves from sitting and rendering judgement in cases that involve and relate to them one way or another.
- If the kind of injustice meted against Chief Esse by the Electoral Committee and the Board could be tolerated by some members of the association, then there is no hope for the masses who just wanted to be part of IPAI in order to contribute their token towards the development of the Igbere community via the association.
- If the former Board of Directors Chairman Chief Mike Awa would refuse to testify in a case he witnessed and played some role as identified by the Independent Panel, and that is alright with the Board of Directors, then there is no hope for justice and equity in IPAI. The IP Report states as that: “Chief Mike Awa: IPAI former President and past IPAI Board Chairman, who was accused of having “… literally usurped the duties of the electoral committee by making himself the moderator on the election floor” (Exhibit 12); who refused to respond to the IP “Fact-finding” request or defend his action prior to and during the 2016 NY elections;”
- If the former Secretary of the Board, Attorney Chukwu Oko would refuse to testify in a case he witnessed and played some role as identified by the Independent Panel, and that is alright with the Board of Directors, then there is no hope for justice and equity in IPAI. The IP Report states “IPAI Members, Including Former IPAI Presidents, and 2016 Electoral Chairman and Electoral Committee Members, who Refused to Respond to IPAI Independent Panel’s “Fact-finding” Request Letter(s): 4. Chief Chukwu Oko”
- If some members of the Electoral Committee especially the Chairman Chief Eme Onyeuku who conducted the 2016 election would refuse to testify in the case as stated by the Independent Panel report, and that is alright with the Board, then there is no hope for justice and equity in the association. The IP Report states as follows: “Chief Dr Eme Onyeuku: The Chairman, Electoral Committee, who was in charge of (conducted) this disputable, questionable, contentious, and IPAI-divisive election; whose junior brother, Saul Onyeuku, former IPAI President, vowed, saying, “never Esse, anybody but Esse.” (Exhibit 5)”. NOTE: However, I MUST commend one of the electoral committee members Chief Elijah Kalu who testified when the Independent Panel sent him an inquiry, about what happened while the Electoral Committee was conducting the election.
- If the Board of Directors members who voted to sustain the status quo by ignoring all the evidence enumerated on the Independent Panel Report which found that Chief Esse Esse clearly won the first election and therefore has the right to run the association as executive president, could ignore those evidence, then there is no hope for justice for the masses.
- If Chief Esse Esse would be punished for respecting the decision of IPAI Constituted authority in this case Electoral Committee by participating in the second election as directed and unduly forced by the same Electoral Committee, and that is alright with some members of the Board, then there is no hope for justice in IPAI. The IP Report states: “Determination of the First (1st) Election Result: Following the meticulous review of the facts and statements (accounts) from various people, who attended the IPAI, 2016 Election; along with careful considerations of multiple unusual occurrences and circumstances; preceding, surrounding, leading, and eventually culminating in a questionable, disputed, and underhand-maneuvered IPAI 2016, Presidential Election outcome, the IPAI Independent Panel (IP) determined as follows: (a) That Chief Esse Esse, clearly emerged as the winner of the first (1st) IPAI 2016, Presidential Election, and (b) “there was no reason not to announce the 1st election. The 2nd election was not necessary,” the chairman said, representing the position of the IP members based on facts presented to this meeting for deliberation (IPAI Independent Panel Meeting Minutes of January 22nd, 2017, p. 6.)”
- The IP Report contains at least 4 violation of the IPAI Constitution and yet the Board ignored them all. That confirms once again that there is no more hope for justice for the masses in IPAI.
- As it stands a dubious system has been instituted and now endorsed by the Board to produce a president, and so there is no more hope for justice to the masses.
- If one member of the Board of Directors Mr. Saul Onyeuku who was found culpable by the Independent Panel, refused to testify and yet was the jury as well as judge in his own case, and that is alright with some Board of Directors members, then there is no hope for justice and equity in IPAI.
As someone who loves my home town Igbere dearly, I will continue to support Igbere community through other endeavors and avenues. It must be noted that resigning from IPAI does not mean abandoning Igbere. So, equating the two concepts is either plain ignorance, or an effort to lure folks by tricks into accepting impunity in an association that is supposed to stand for justice for all.
Resigning from IPAI is a matter of principle, preserving and maintaining one’s integrity. IPAI could have chosen to be known and referred to as ‘Igbere Welfare Union (IWU)’ and yet they did not, but instead chose to be known as Igbere Progressive Association International thereby distinguishing itself from IWU. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in removing oneself from an organization where members no longer have full faith, trust and confidence that they will receive fair treatment and justice.
We all know that every one of us may do something positive for Igbere without involving another person talk less of a group if the person chooses to do so. We do not have to belong to IPAI in order to be seen as loving, supporting, and helping Igbere community. Our individual records are there to speak for itself.
Furthermore, for the records, before the aforesaid election, I had NO problems or issues with both candidates Chief Esse Esse and Mr. Elesie Eke. We interacted well and cooperated well with one another while serving in the Executive Committee. Both of them informed me about their intention to run for the President and I told them what I thought about it.
Personally, all I care about is to let a fair and just system produce a President and other officers of the association. Now, we all know that did not happen because both the former President Mr. Saul Onyeuku and former Board Chairman Chief Mike Awa, some Electoral Committee and Board members abused their authority, and at the same time they wanted all of us to swallow it and keep on pretending as if nothing happened.
I (Ukaegbu Ukaegbu) cannot in good conscience continue to be a member of group whose Board of Directors base decision on sentiments instead of facts, truth, evidence and what could be considered as reasonable compromise. Whereas the “NEVER ESSE” syndrome pronounced by Mr. Saul Onyeuku and bought by Chief Mike pushed them to violate IPAI constitution in order to achieve their aim, the “IT MUST BE ELESIE” syndrome propelled some Board members to push him down our throat, by throwing away basic objectivity, thereby causing irreparable damage to IPAI.
More importantly, the Board’s rejection of the last motion presented by the former Board Chairman Chief Daniel Eke which states “annul the election and allow our constitution to help us decide the next line of action”, tells me that some members of the Board were bent on divisiveness as they operated on full scale sentiment mode.
I salute the courage of some members of the Board such as Chief Daniel Eke, Engr. Peter Imaa and Chief Emma Uche who made every effort to find a compromise. In order to maintain their integrity they have resigned from the Board and also both Chief Daniel and Engr. Peter Imaa have publicly announced their resignation from IPAI.
To our great people of Igbere, who elected me to serve in various capacities, I thank you so much for the confidence vested on me.
To the Pacific Coast Chapter members, because Pacific Coast was registered as a separate entity (Non-profit charitable organization) but decided to align with IPAI, I will address you separately regarding my position about the alliance.
To those who no longer feel comfortable with having Igbere issues discussed in public domain, let me remind them that Igbere issues have been on public domain called Internet since at least 2007, and that all correspondences of the defunct Caretaker Committee have been posted on the IPAIINC.ORG since 2007 and many of them occupying front page position on the website. Internet and social media will never go away and so Igbere issues must be posted and discussed in public domain because Igbere is not a secret society but a community whose citizens are located in all parts of the world.
I believe that all Igbere citizens deserve to know the truth and facts surrounding all issues and so that is what I will continue to help in making it happen. In other words, I will still be publishing stories and updates about Igbere people and issues relating to Igbere using every possible media.
In due time, I will let Igbere people know my responses to all the inquiries which I received from the Board since they began sitting and requested for petitions to address 2016 IPAI Convention issues. That would help to answer some frequently asked questions sent to me by IPAI members and Igbere people at large.
May God continue to bless Igbere Ebiri.