by crossriverwatch admin
Mixed reactions have continued to trail the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, Cross River chapter elections for its executive members which held yesterday in Calabar.
Members began to assemble around Jevic hotel, the venue for the election at about 2pm, the time scheduled for the election, but no official of the Actors Guild of Nigeria Electoral Committee, AGNEC was on hand to clear members into the premises of the election which was under the strict watch of Nigeria Police who refused actors entrance into the venue following suspicions that the election may witness a breakdown of law and order.
AGNEC members including the Chairman of the electoral committee, Mike Adem; Secretary, Ifiok Wisdom; and member, Agnes Udoh in the company of a representative from the guild’s national executive, Edak Etoti, finally arrived at 3:40pm at the peak of an upheaval amongst actors.
The actors were in a hot exchange of words with the Policemen who were keeping watch over the venue insisting on gaining entrance into the venue of the election.
Shortly after the arrival of the members of electoral committee, other members crowded the entrance of the venue in an attempt to restrain the vehicle that brought them from gaining entrance into the venue and attempted to force the AGNEC members out of the moving car.
As the chaos lingered and was getting more rowdy, more security agents were invited to manage the situation. Eventually the entrance was opened and members moved in to take their seats.
Just when the election was to commence, a faction of members regrouped across the road, opposite the venue of the election with one of the chairmanship aspirants, Eric Anderson seen addressing them and then shortly after members of the faction were also seen taking turns writing on a sheet of paper.
Our reporter was told by some of the electorates namely, Othniel Nathaniel and Kanu Okpo, who claimed to have been convinced to participate in writing their names on an un-titled paper thinking it was the attendance list for the election only to be intimated later that it was agreement of members to boycott the election.
Before the commencement of the election, AGNEC secretary, Ifiok Wisdom read the names of aspirants who scaled through the screening process during which he declared one of the chairmanship aspirants, Eric Anderson unfit to stand in for the election on the grounds of having pending indictment while as former AGN, Cross River Chairman.
He said Eric was also fingered for electoral misconduct.
The AGNEC secretary read the disqualification notice to the electorate before the commencement of the election.
After the manifesto presentation which lasted for about an hour, elections commenced and actors began to vote.
The general atmosphere during the voting process, our reporter observed, was peaceful and apart from the position of Chairmanship that was being contended for between Eric Anderson and Monica Udofia before the former was disqualified, other aspirants were returned unopposed.
The total number of voters, who turned out to vote, was 14 out of 41 members who were initially cleared as revalidated members of the guild in accordance with the electoral guidelines while at least three members were alleged to have been involved in forgery of Diamond bank tellers in other to be eligible to vote in the election.
Members fingered for bank forgery include Arahata Princess Effiom Akabom with Diamond bank teller number 0889115; and Effiom Effanga with teller number 8860746; while Mattew Bassey with bank teller number 8345370 was alleged to have tinkered with another member, Nsa Ita’s receipt to bear his name.
According to the secretary of AGNEC those members may face strict sanctions after investigation into the forgery is completed, but was not clear if Diamond bank would take up the issue, just as he disclosed that the bank had requested for the tellers of the suspected defaulters.
The election saw Monica Udofia emerging as chairperson; Precious Otu as Secretary; and Marshall Okposun ascended as financial secretary of the state chapter of the Guild.
While Susan Samuel was returned as Treasurer; Anderson Bassey, was returned as Public Relations Officer and Joe Omini as Director of Guilds Services. The position of Vice Chairman, Assistant Secretary and Chief Whip had no contestants.
40 minutes after the elections was concluded, inauguration was conducted for the newly elected executives by Barrister Chrystal Tawo who performed the oath taking ceremony.
During the inauguration, the representative of the Guild’s national body, who also witnessed the election, Actress Edak Etoti, while commending AGNEC for the hitch free election also charged the newly elected executives to take reuniting of members of the Guild as its first responsibility while in office.
In her inaugural speech, the newly elected chairperson, Monica Udofia, who described her victory as having no victor or looser assured members that her administration would carry every members’ interest to heart.
Speaking to our correspondent, some aggrieved members including Emmanuel Effa, Ekpedeme Moses and Iya Orok expressed displeasure with the delay of the election and the way the election was being conducted under strict security.
Also speaking, disqualified Chairmanship aspirant, Eric Anderson said the election did not meet the constitutional requirement that AGNEC must have two national representatives.
Eric said he would question the election process in court.
But in his reaction, the AGNEC chairman, Mike Andem regretted the delay in the election attributing it to suspected security issues that warranted the electoral body to put proper security measures in place before the commencement of the election.
On the issue of member’s grievances about the electoral process, the AGNEC chairman said members were free to make their petitions known through existing constitutional instruments of the Guild.
He however said the election was free and fair election.
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