NIDO Ireland Chapter Election Dead on Arrival over Constitutional Issues: 5 Out Of 14 Contestants Fail Minimum Requirements

Can a non-resident, allegedly charged for social welfare fraud be eligible to contest NIDOE election?

There seems to be no easy way out for the crisis rocking the Nigerians In Diaspora Organization, Republic of Ireland chapter as their election billed for Saturday 14th December, 2019 ended in chaos.

The AGM which hitherto started peacefully, later degenerated to arguments as some members of the

organization accused the outgoing Executives of highhandedness and breach of the constitution.

The outgoing Chairman, however, expressed that his intention was geared at leaving the association in

the hands of capable hands irrespective of the incoherence in the constitutional provision. Dotun

Adegbesan stated that, constitution was made for man and as such could be amended to suit man’s

purpose.

It is noteworthy however, that irrespective of intent of the current Chair and by extension those of his

executive members; it is fundamentally wrong to boycott the provisions of the legal instrument of an

organisation which empowers and binds the day to day running of the organisation on the basis of

personal opinion. Especially when you have benefited from same provisions; having completed a 2 term

tenure in which these “perceived wrong” provisions should have been amended. Those were the words

of the opposing members.

In a letter signed by the supposed opposition to the outgoing Executives which includes: Peter Ebelegbe

(Vying for the position of PRO), Zephrynus Okechi Ikeh (Vying for the Chairmanship position), Mrs. Ursula

Nwosu (former Secretary and wife of the founder of NIDOE) among others, an alleged fraudulent

misconduct and violation of the company’s constitution was reported to the Garda, CRO, Diaspora

Commission and the Directorate of Corporate Enforcement where investigation is ongoing with respect

to breach of rights of members under company’s act as well as other breach of the constitution which

led to a five count allegations.

In same vein, we do have to highlight that issue as to constitutionality also arose during the course of

making resolutions during the AGM meeting. At this point, the issue bothers around the membership

status of some Nigerians who were attending the meeting for the first time. These set of people who

were referred to as “observers” made claims that they are entitled to cast vote at resolution and

election owing to the fact that they have paid their annual subscription to NIDOE’s bank account. Hence,

they rely on Article 24 of the constitution which stipulates that one becomes a member when the

subscription is “immediately payable”. However, Article 12.2 of same constitution provides for

registration of membership in terms of filling an application as well as the payment of the subscription

fee as the prerequisite for membership.

In another revelation, our TellAfrica correspondent on Diaspora matters gathered that 5 out of the 14

contestants vying for various positions were said to be ineligible and not qualified to contest in the

election by virtue of NIDOE’s constitution. Only persons who have been physically and financially

committed to the NIDO cause for a period of two years are eligible to hold any elective position.

However, the eligibility of contestant is expected to be confirmed by the members of the Electoral

committee led by Mr. Timothy Adejumo.

According to our sources; Esther Onolemenmen (aspiring Chairman), Mallam Ali Usman (aspiring Vice

chairman), Sekinat Debola Abdul Ibiyeye (aspiring PRO) and Olalekan Oludunmade (aspiring IT officer)

made their intentions known to become a member of NIDOE in the month of July/ August / November

2018 ( Global Development Forum London and Vienna AGM 2018 events) respectively) while they may

not have completely fulfilled the 2 Years constitutional requirements, there is no gainsaying in the fact

that they tremendously supported NIDOE’s activities in the past year. We however gathered, that they

do not meet the specific local attendance requirements at meetings but are financially committed.

While Pamela Toyin (aspiring Social Welfare Officer) may have been a member by attendance for the

years required by the constitution, however, she was not a paid member of the association in the past

years, invariably, she may have made the requisite payment when she decided to contest. It was also

alleged that, Toyin Pamela has a visiting status in Ireland and at some point have been charged to have

committed a social welfare fraud against the Republic of Ireland. Therefore, a non-resident cum social

welfare offender may not be deemed fit for purpose.

Considering the aforementioned allegations, the onus therefore, is on the Electoral Committee led by

Timothy Adejumo to certify members in the best interest of the organisation and report findings in good

time before the election date.

The composition of the electoral committee was another challenge raised by some members who

believed that it does not represent the federal character of Nigeria. The committee was made up of 4

Yorubas (male) and 1 (female) from Delta State who resigned from the duties. Ema resigned based on

the allegations that the committee was fraudulent in the process of carrying out their duties.

In lieu of the AGM and election, the outgoing Chair having presented his final report declared the

meeting inconclusive.

Other matters arising after the aborted meeting includes the two known factions lobbying members

support in view of the way forward. While the outgoing Executives are rooting to now set up a

Constitutional review committee who shall deal with the anomalies and controversies in the

constitution, the other faction disagree with the motive on the grounds that their term of office was

deemed over on the 14th of December and as such do not have moral and constitutional justification to

call for any administrative changes henceforth. They also provided an alternative resolution to the stalemate, which is the call for intervention of Her Excellency, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic

of Nigeria in Ireland. A letter requesting a congress of all members led by the authentic company

Directors in person of Mr. Waheed Mudah, a Solicitor of repute and Mr. Anthony Ogochukwu and the intervention

of H.E have been sorted in order to wade the imbroglio.

While addressing resolving issues that threatens the peaceful coexistence of NIDOE, the CEO of

TellAfrica who is also a member of the association, Gbemisola Bisi-Taiwo noted as follows:

“Mr. Adegbesan deserves to be given a triumphal exit considering some of his laudable feat as the NIDOE

Chair in the past 4 years. Although, he may have his unique personality which may not be acceptable to
all just like everyone, cos we are not perfect.” She also reckoned that there is disparity with respect to

interpretations of the constitution and as such believes that it will be beneficial for members to have an

equilibrium point devoid of selfish interests as they resolve the differences.

Also in a bid to resolve the differences, Waheed Mudah, one of the company’s Director in chastising the

outgoing Acting Secretary (also aspiring Secretary) questioned the validity of the method of thumbs up

and down arguably used on a social media platform to effect the magnitude of change required by the constitution.

“Are you and others just going to amend an organization’s constitution just to accommodate your

current desires? Where is that done? What should happen the next time another executive committee

have the urge to ram their views on other members? Should they also emulate the precedence and

organise a constitutional amendment committee to amend the constitution within two months? Please be

very careful and go back to the same constitution for education on its amendment” the learned fellow

stated.

At the end of it all, we have some mind blowing questions that need be resolved in order to have a

progressive NIDOE:

1. Should the outgoing executives be allowed to constitute a constitution review committee now that their term is over?

2. Should members resort to intervention of the Ambassador/ Congress to have all issues

resolved?

3. Should the electoral committee be allowed to discharge their inconclusive  duties?

4. Whose duty is it to certify that all contestants are eligible to be our representative?

5. Should we allow the 2 years rule to stop members in active capacity and willing to serve NIDOE?

6. Should a non-resident or alleged social welfare offender be allowed to contest in NIDOE

election?

7. Is the non use of Federal Character for the selection of officers acceptable considering the

diverse ethnicity of Nigeria?

The ball is in our court as Nigerians in Diaspora here in Ireland to decide the way forward for us and our generations to come. This is a moment where you cannot afford to be anything but OBJECTIVE.

We look forward to your comments as we find a lasting solution for NIDOE.

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