Consequent upon an Igbere Welfare Union meeting scheduled on March 6, 2021 (which eventually held), Mr. Peter Ekekwe who was expected to attend the meeting declined but instead wrote an Op-ed article where he narrated the reasons why he refused to attend. In concluding the article, he addressed himself as Peter Ekekwe, “Former 1st Vice President of IWU”
When pressed for clarification by concerned citizens of Igbere at the Igbere People’s Forum, he insisted that he has resigned from his position in IWU. To buttress his proclamation of resignation, he went ahead and defined the meaning of FORMER, by quoting a dictionary which defined the word as:
1. having previously been a particular thing.
By implication and going forward, Mr. Peter Ekekwe will no longer sit in any IWU meeting as an Executive member. However, has the right to attend as a regular (floor) member. This status may change if he is elected for any other position in any election organized and held in an IWU General Meeting according to IWU constitution. Here is the opinionated article written by Mr. Peter Ekekwe to that effect.
“PURPORTED IWU MEETING OF SATURDAY 6TH MARCH 2020: WHY I WILL NOT ATTEND.” – By Mr. Peter Ekekwe.
“On the afternoon of March 3, I got a text message inviting me to an “Emergency General Meeting ” of IWU.
I was taken aback because I was aware of the “ADVICE” by ICCON (Igbere Clan Council of Ndieze) that a meeting be held in April. I was further surprised that the President did deem it fit to have first met with his executive so that any matter presented at the purported meeting would have the stamp of the executive. In the absence of that meeting the President cannot by any law or regulation be addressing the general meeting on the propositions of his executive.
“My surprise was heightened by fact that the meeting was being convened without recourse to ICCON (which has tried to help return to sanity to process), to the Presidents and Secretaries of the Branches, autonomous communities, and the Age Grades. Given that the tenure of our Executive ended on the night of 31st December 2020, any meeting in my view called without the involvement of these groups is a nullity, as lawyers say. These groups constitute the “Congress” ( the general house) and viewed especially from the perspective of the sole agenda of the meeting, their non involvement makes the meeting a mockery.
“Secondly, if Igbere were to meet to constitute an Interim Government , it is required that the former Exco should present her report card to the house. As the 1st Vice President I was not aware that any such report had been prepared. Assuming one was prepared, common decency required that all members of the past executive should have copies, especially when no meeting of that group had met. We had managed the affairs of IWU for 4 years without a budget or approved program, so it is, in my view, important that we let the people know how we achieved this miracle.
“As an Executive we have collectively failed the people . The present unavoidable crisis is a pointer. But it is never late to attempt to make things right. Convening a proper meeting as required by the Constitution would be a good place to start. The ADVICE of ICCON to convene a meeting in April was a life line for the defunct Executive to save face and spare Igbere further confusion. Unfortunately we chose otherwise. I have therefore elected to stay away, believing that sooner than later the right moves will be made and Igbere will be back on track.
THE WAY FORWARD
“To get back on the track, it is important we understand how we got into this mess. The situation we find ourselves in was avoidable if the Executive understood the essence and importance of collective governance/ democracy.
I have heard some people say that the present constitution of IWU is the reason why we have this crisis. This is far from the truth. The constitution is not perfect and this crisis magnified that imperfection. Truth is that there is almost nothing we did in the past 4 years that was based on the constitution. We threw it aside and did what we considered right in our own thinking.
“Some members of the Exco saw what was happening and spoke out but they were ridiculed and abused by a vocal few. While this was on, a good majority adopted the “siddon look approach” – a key reason Igbere isn’t where she should be.
“How on earth could a corporate organisation be managed for 4 years without ONE Annual General meeting? The AGM is the Supreme Council of the Union and in 4 years we held none. It (the AGM) approves projects and budgets for each year, yet without holding an AGM, we embarked on the rehabilitation of the Post Office, RENTED an office for the vigilante (when we had 3 good rooms that could serve the same purpose at no cost), “surveyed” ISSI, and embarked on the fencing of same. We even sold store spaces at Ebele!
“Which organisation will survive when in 4 years you couldn’t hold at least 4 Executive Council meetings (the constitution provided for at least one every two months)? The treasurer relinquished his position temporarily because he was kept in the dark about income and expenditure.
“In my view, we were programmed to fail, not by the constitution but our management style. It was an “I the Executive instead of We the Executive “. A few instances will suffice. The survey of ISSI, determination of fencing cost, rehabilitation of Post Office, approval for joint development of Ebele and most glaring being our inability to hold election in December 2020. Let me elaborate on this.
“On October 3, 2020, the President was advised on the need to set up an Electoral body to conduct elections in December. His reply was “Obū ihe anyi bia ikpa”. That response was the reason we didn’t have election in December. All attempts to convene a Central Executive meeting on December 31, to address the way forward was ignored. The outcome is staring us in the face.
“Mistakes, grievous mistakes have been made, but then that it is part of growth. We cannot dwell on the mistakes, but should take the lessons there from and move on.
“The starting point (AND THESE ARE PERSONAL AND SOME BORROWED IDEAS) should be the convocation of a Congress driven by the Age Grades, Branches , Isiogo’s and Nde Eze. The Congress should set up an Interim Executive, maybe with 6-12 months mandate.
“For elections, we may consider a modified Electoral collage approach. In this the Communities will nominate their representatives. The representatives will elect officials into the various positions themselves. It is important that either the Interim Exco or the new Exco should undertake a review of the constitution to strengthen certain areas.
“The success of IWU is the success of Nde Igbere.
“If after reading this, you think I have wasted your time, please accept my apologies. It was not intended to be so.
God bless Igbere.”
Former 1st Vice President IWU.