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REPORT OF THE EVENTS LEADING TO THE 29TH OF AUGUST 2020 OKPE UNION NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING AND WHAT TRANSPIRED AT THE MEETING.

 

The following account of the events leading to the National Executive Council Meeting of the Okpe Union of 29th August, 2020 and the actual meeting is not the minutes of the meeting but a more comprehensive near verbatim account of the meeting so that members of the Okpe Union the world over can appreciate the difficult situation that Okpe Union is facing. We of the Secretariat of the Union urge you to patiently go through what we have put together below, and find the resolutions reached at the NEC meeting in the last part of this account.

 

On the morning of August 5th 2020, the President General of the Okpe Union called me, the General Secretary of the Union on phone and asked me to send notice of meeting to

members of the National Executive Council of the Okpe Union for 29th of August, 2020. He also instructed that I ensure the preamble of the notice contain the phrase “directed by the President General” so that all NEC members would understand that the directive came from him; and that I first send him the draft of the notice for his approval before I send it to other NEC members. I did as he directed and forwarded the notice of the NEC meeting only after he had approved it that same day.

 

A day after, I called PG regarding a  draft Agenda for the meeting if we could devolope it and forward to members of the NEC. He told me that was not necessary but he would call me some days to the meeting to give instructions as to the content of the agenda for my production of copies for the meeting. By Monday 24th, less than a week to the 29th of August meeting, the PG had not called me. I therefore put calls across to him which he did not pick. I had to send him a text the following morning Tuesday 25th containing a draft agenda and followed it with an explanation that he should consider the content and instruct me accordingly. That Tuesday morning, he had also not picked my calls. He neither acknowledged the receipt of the messages which I had repeated and also forwarded to his second number. By the evening of the Tuesday, I had to forward the draft agenda to the Assistant General Secretary to also attempt to reach the PG. He advised me that since the PG did not pick my calls, I should continue with the text messages followed by calls. I repeated this processes all to no avail.

 

By the morning of the 29th of August, 2020, the day for the NEC meeting, while waiting for the monthly environmental sanitation period to lapse so that I could be on my way from Sapele to Orerokpe for the meeting, I received a text message from the PG indicating a change of venue for the meeting from the Udogun Hall, Orerokpe which was the venue contained in the notice of meeting, to Multi-Purpose Hall, Orerokpe. I had thought that there must have been another programme fixed for the Udogun Hall venue which must have necessitated the change of venue. This was however not the case as I discovered when we drove past the Udogun Hall that there was no ongoing programme nor apparent preparation for one there. I headed straight to the new venue to find out that only two members were around as well as two personnel of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) . I had prayed and hoped that the PG would be punctual that day so as to enable him go through the draft agenda before I would go to print it for distribution to all NEC members. After waiting till 11.30am, I had to leave the venue to get to a business centre to print the draft agenda. By the time I returned, the PG had just arrived. I went to greet him and presented the draft agenda to him but he directed that I keep them for a moment and that he would call me for it at the appropriate time. He beckoned on his son Efe to “bring the things”. The son then went out and returned with a “carton”  of bottled water. The PG requested for those that live in Orerokpe to go and bring plate that he needed to conduct entertainment of presentation of kola nuts before the meeting would commence. The Financial Secretary, Mr. John Esedafe then rose and told the PG that he was going home to get the plate that would be used for the presentation of the colanuts.

 

At this time, the Deputy President General 4 of the Union, Mr. Bernard Adibor rose and addressed the PG and the house that the time was already far spent partly because of the environmental sanitation whereas there are very important decisions that were needed to be taken as the tenure of the current national executive was coming to an end. He suggested that the entertainment should be done after the meeting and that previous NEC meetings had not involved such entertainment. The PG responded that culture must be observed.

 

We waited until the Mr. Esedafe returned from his house with a plate. The National Spokesman Mr. James Itebu was mandated by the PG to perform traditional presentation of the kola nuts and money as well as the customary support from members.

 

THE MEETING PROPER

 

ITEM 1: OPENING PRAYER

 

After the entertainment, the PG called the house to order for the meeting to commence. He called on the National Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Atarhe Abuh to lead the house with an opening prayer.

 

After the opening prayer, I, the General Secretary went to meet the PG with the printed draft agenda which he had asked me to put on hold earlier. He told me that he brought printed copies of an agenda he had prepared and explained that his was more comprehensive and that the only issue not contained in his own was the setting up of the electoral committee, and asked me to use a pen to add it to the last item on the one he brought. I complied and he directed the National Provost, to distribute only that one he brought to all members.

 

The following were the items contained in the draft agenda which I had sent him 5 days earlier and printed, which he rejected:

 

NEC MEETING DRAFT AGENDA(29TH AUGUST, 2020)

  1. Opening Prayer
  2. Minutes/Adoption
  3. Matters Arising
  4. Fixing of General Assembly
  5. Electoral Committee
  6. Finance

7 . A.O.B.

  1. Adjournment/Closing Prayer

 

The one he brought out and asked the Provost to circulate contained the following:

 

  1. Opening Prayer
  2. Roll-call & Apologies
  3. Report of the Meeting held at instance of National Executive

Members of Okpe Union at Orodje Palace, Orerokpe 29th January, 2020.

  1. Okpe Union 90 Printing of Okpe Union wrapper by Lagos branch.
  2. Report of crises at Okpe Union Sapele
  3. Okpe Union land at Orerokpe. Case in High Court, Orerokpe.
  4. Report of Review of Okpe Union Constitution.
  5. Proposed AGA, 2020 (Asked me to add Electoral Committee with a pen from the draft Agenda I submitted).

9  A. O. B.

  1. Closing prayer

 

Information is the House:

 

At this point Mr. John Esedafe, the Financial Secretary rose to address the house. He said there is a petition before the house which involved the position of the General Secretary. That Mr. Patrick Apiamu had written a letter to the NEC that Sapele LGA Branch had suspended the General Secretary from that branch and that should affect him and prevent him from acting as the General Secretary for now. The PG responded by saying that the meeting should get to that item on the agenda first before he should bring up that matter.

 

Observation about the Draft Agenda:

 

The Assistant General Secretary, Mr. Friday Ekemefe then made an observation. He said before the draft agenda should be accepted as the working agenda for the meeting, it had to be adopted by the house as it had just been distributed. The PG asked him to sit down and wait till any item is being discussed.

 

ITEM 2 : ROLL CALL

The National Provost submitted the attendance list which contained 17 members present with the National Treasurer, Chief Biokoro sending apology that he would be absent(he later came late).

 

ITEM 3

REPORT OF THE MEETING HELD  AT INSTANCE OF NATIONAL EXECUTIVE

MEMBERS OF OKPE UNION AT ORODJE’S PALACE, OREROKPE ON  29TH JANUARY, 2020.

 

The President General asked the General Secretary, Akpederin Kingsley E. Esq. to read out the minutes of the January 29th 2020 settlement meeting held at the Orodje’s Palace and presided over by the Orodje. After the GS read it to the house, the PG asked for reactions about the level of compliance with the resolutions contained in the minutes.

 

The resolutions were: Plaintiffs/Claimants in the court case to withdraw the case from court; status quo in the union before the events that led to the court case be maintained; a committee should be set up to review the Okpe Union Constitution; the Union Board of Trustees should be constituted; Definite Date should be fixed for Annual General Assembly; Sufficient notices should be given for meetings; Okpe House in Lagos is the property of Okpe Union Worldwide and not Lagos Okpe Union: Lagos to handover all documents relating to the registration of the Union with the Corporate Affairs Commission and the approved building plan; and members of the Okpe Union should be united and work as a body in order to achieve the aims and objectives of the Okpe Union.

 

  1. Handover:

The Deputy President General 3(DPG 3) , Chief Tom Anirah stood and asked the Deputy President General 1(DPG 1), Mr. Patrick Akpotor when he would hand over the Lagos Okpe house to the National Headquarters.  Mr. Akpotor replied by saying that it was not a personal issue.

 

The National Publicity Secretary asked that before the issues in the Palace meeting minutes should be discussed, those who attended should tell the house if the contents reflect what was discussed and agreed there. Mr. Akpotor responded by saying that his own comments in the meeting were not reflected and that the contents actually goes beyond the issues contained in the court case which the claimants/plaintiffs made as contained in what the High Court statement of claims which Secretary to the Udogun read at the meeting. The Deputy President General 2(DPG2) , Mr. Omamurhomu Ayaruja pointed out that on the issue of the Lagos House, there is a constitutional provision which gives control of Okpe Union properties located in a branch or region to that branch or region. So there will be need for constitutional amendment which was one of the resolutions at the meeting if we all agree that it should be effected.

 

The PG then said that he was ruling on the matter as follows:

 

” That handover notes be handed over by Lagos Regional Headquarters within one month relating to the following:

  1. Handover notes since  November, 2016.
  2. Documents relating to the registration of the Okpe Union with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

iii. Approval Plan for the Okpe House in Lagos.

 

Mr. Akpotor reacted by saying that when he gets back to Lagos, he shall call for a meeting of the former EXCO members then and the present ones so that the issue will be addressed. He however said that on the issue of the incorporation documents of the Union, this NEC had severally deliberated on it and that the PG, Chief Onome who served as General Secretary between I990 and 1995 had told this house that he did not see the certificate of incorporation during his tenure. Mr. Akpotor concluded by saying that when Chief Onome left Lagos, he himself left with all documents of the Union without handing over to anybody. He therefore wondered why a matter we had all concluded in past NEC meetings that we needed to complete the process which had started with CAC to apply for certified copy of the certificate of incorporation is being brought back again. He said how would somebody be using lamp to find what he can clearly see very well?

 

  1. Board of Trustees:

The PG told the house that as one of the issues in the minutes of the settlement meeting was Board of Trustees of the Okpe Union, he asked the house whether we should go ahead to nominate members for consideration by the General Assembly for approval. He said to him, he has report to give and so members should come up with nominees. At the end, nine Okpe personalities were nominated for seven board of trustee members provided for by the Okpe Union Constitution. The last two would replace any of the first seven who declines.

 

  1. The Other Issues in the Settlement Minutes:

 

The PG ran through them and said for status quo, the General Secretary, Barr. Kingsley Akpederin is already performing his duties, and that the other matters were more of advice.

 

He therefore asked that we move to other items on the agenda. He then introduced the issue of Okpe Union at 90 Wrapper Printed by Western Region Headquarters, Lagos.

 

ITEM 4: OKPE UNION AT 90 WRAPPER PRINTED BY LAGOS.

 

The PG presented to the house a wrapper which he reported was printed by Lagos Regional Headquarters to mark the 90th Anniversary of the Founding of the Okpe Union. He said they did it without the approval of the National Headquarters in violation of the Okpe Union Constitution since they used the logo of the Okpe Union. He said members should react.

 

The National Publicity Secretary asked if the PG could show the house which Article of the Okpe Union Constitution such action violated. The PG responded by referring members to Article 29 C of the constitution which provides as follows:

 

29(C)

” Press Release

No Regional Headquarters or branch shall cause to be publicised in the press, radio, TV or sočio media any matter of a national nature affecting Okpe Kingdom without prior consent of the National Headquarters. Any Regional Headquarters or Branch found guilty of this offence shall be liable to a fine of not less than NGN20,000 (Twenty Thousand Naira)”

 

The National Publicity Secretary responded to this by saying that the meaning of Press Release is so clear that it does not cover printing of wrapper being discussed. DPG1, Mr. Patrick Akpotor on his own part disclosed to the house that he informed the PG in a phone call discussion about the plan of the Lagos regional headquarters to mark the 90th anniversary as well as the printing of the wrapper.

 

The PG replied to both comments by saying that he has several lawyers as friends and as such he knows about interpretation of legal provisions. He also told the house that the DPG1 never discussed the matter with him as he had claimed. The DPG3, Okakuro Anirah said that ” the beating of a thief who acknowledges and pleads is not as severe as the one who argues” He said if DPG1 apologises, the matter would be easier to resolve. After several arguments, the DPG2 Mr. Ayaruja rose and said that in Okpe culture, the younger person in dispute with an elder is hardly adjudged as innocent and the elder guilty. He therefore persuaded DPG1, Mr. Akpotor to render an apology. Mr. Akpotor thereafter rose to tender an apology relating to the printing of the wrapper without the approval of the National Headquarters.

 

The PG in response to the apology proclaimed a ruling that “henceforth, no branch or region should use the logo of the Okpe Union in such a way without the approval of the National Headquarters of the Okpe Union”.

 

A Brief Altercation:

 

As the PG mentioned the next item on the draft agenda, which was “Report of Crises at Okpe Union, Sapele”, the DPG 2, Mr. Ayaruja asked for permission to say something. He pointed out that if the NEC meeting continued at that rate, the most important item on the agenda which is the last one would not be discussed. He noted that by Article 25 of the Okpe Union Constitution, we were expected to set up a five man electoral committee and fix the date for the General Assembly of all branches and affiliates since the tenure of this executive ends on the 17th of November this year. He pointed out also that by Article 24 a (3), the General Secretary requires at least 60 days to send notice of General Assembly meeting to all branches and affiliates before the meeting date. He moved a motion that all the other matters in the agenda be stood down until the 8th matter which is Proposed AGA 2020/Electoral Committee is dealt with.

The PG responded that the matters in the Agenda must be followed the way they have been arranged. This generated some arguments after which the PG had his way.

 

ITEM 5: REPORT OF CRISES AT OKPE UNION, SAPELE.

 

The PG brought the attention of the house to some petitions which he said reached him from the former chairman of Sapele LGA Branch, Mr. Patrick Apiamu. He said the petition is about complaint by the former chairman that the electoral committee which the Sapele LGA Branch set up to conduct elections into the branch executive overstepped its powers as they fixed another date for the elections after the COVID 19 lockdown had made the first date for the elections impracticable. At this point, the Assistant General Secretary, Mr. Friday Ekemefe raised up his hands and said “observation”. The PG replied by saying that the PG cannot be observed. He proceeded to read two petitions to the house, one signed by the former Chairman of Sapele LGA Branch, Mr Patrick Apiamu and the former Secretary, Mr. Iwaya, while the second petition was signed by the Mr. Patrick Apiamu and the DPG 3, Okakuro Tom Anirah. The two petitions border on the election of the new Executive Council of Sapele LGA Branch which took place on the 5th of July, 2020 and their subsequent swearing in. The PG also reported to the house that on receipt of the petitions, he set up a three man investigative committee to look into the matter headed by the  National Organising Secretary of the Union, Okakuro Flag Odiete and that the committee had submitted its report to him. He also proceeded to read the said Committee report which recommended that the new executive of the Sapele LGA Branch should not be recognised. The PG then called for reactions.

 

DPG 3, Okakuro Tom Anirah stood and gave details of what happened. He explained that the former Sapele LGA Branch chairman Mr. Apiamu and the Secretary Mr. Waya wrote a petition to him personally and also called the PG to intimate him of the problem of election in the branch. The DPG 3 said the PG then mandated him to intervene into the matter and resolve it. DPG 3 continued his narration as follows:

 

It was on the strength of the PG’s directive that I invited the petitioners and the electoral committee headed by Hon. Patrick Ovwile to my house. The Mr. Patrick Apiamu had accused the electoral committee of illegally collecting monthly dues from contestants that were owing the branch and that the electoral committee fixed another date for the election after the first date could not hold because of COVID 19 instead of coming back to the general house to get another date. The electoral committee on the other hand explained to me that they received the financial records of all the contestants from the Mr. Patrick Apiamu, the former chairman of the branch containing how much each contestants was owing in monthly dues. The electoral committee chairman said that at the screening of the candidates, those who were owing paid the various amounts to enable them to be cleared. They said they therefore collected the money on behalf of the branch. On the issue of the date fixed for the election which was 5th July, 2020, I advised them to go to the general house to hold a normal meeting and fix another date. However to my surprise, on the day of the meeting, Mr. Apiamu called me on phone when I was at Chief Obule’s place that the house decided that the election hold against my advice. He said there were thugs brought to the meeting. That was why I joined the Apiamu to write one of the petitions.”

 

Chief Anirah, the DPG 3 concluded by saying the matter must be fully dealt with.

 

The Assistant General Secretary, Mr. Friday Ekemefe was then recognised to speak. Firstly he observed that the Secretariat headed by the General Secretary have not received any of the petitions that the PG read to the house. He said that as the constitution provides that the Secretariat has the responsibility of correspondence of the Union, it means that those petitions have not been brought before the house as non of us evven has copies of the said petitions that the PG read to the house. Secondly, he pointed out that as the Mr. Patrick Apiamu, the former chairman of the Sapele LGA Branch was not a candidate in the election, he does not have any locus standi or right to petition against the election. He concluded by saying that it is the NEC that has the powers to set up a committee that will give the NEC a report and that the committee set up by the PG is not for this NEC but to only advise the PG. It means there is no report before the house, the Assistant General Secretary concluded.

 

The General Secretary, Akpederin Kingsley then rose and pointed to the house that he himself is a member of the Sapele LGA Branch. That if the DPG 3, Okakuro Anirah wanted to act in good faith, how could he (Akpederin) not be told of or invited to the private meeting he invited the electoral committee  for in his house? He questioned why a private meeting would be assumed to override decisions taken by the general house. He also told the house that it was the electoral committee that fixed the first date for the election which could not hold because of the COVID 19. The general house also simply by motion accepted what the electoral committee did and asked them to proceed with the election. He pointed out that the walking out of two or three persons does not invalidate elections. The General Secretary then asked the PG about the report of the electoral committee on the Sapele LGA elections which the Sapele LGA electoral committee had brought to his house in Warri. As the PG denied not receiving it, the General Secretary told the house that the electoral committee also brought a copy of that their report to him as General Secretary to present to the NEC. He therefore presented it to the PG who then read it to the house.

 

In that report, the electoral committee gave details of how the DPG 3 invited them to his house on the 4th of July 2020 to convince them to cooperate and allow a shift of the election date from 5th July 2020. But that they however responded that the general house would decide finally. At the general house on the 5th of July, 2020, the general house presided over by the former chairman, Mr. Patrick Apiamu, resolved that the election should go ahead which saw the former chairman, Mr. Patrick Apiamu stage a walk out along with four others. The report of the electoral committee also contained the record of the votes scored by the respective contestants as well as report of the swearing in of the new executive which included two former executive members.

 

In his contribution, DPG 2, Mr. Ayaruja blamed Okakuro Anirah for signing a petition with the former chairman of the Sapele LGA Branch as it robbed him of neutrality. He also noted that since some members of the former executive were elected into the new EXCO and as some other members of the former executive like Prof. Kenneth Eni who was the former PRO of the immediate past executive was part of the election, it was clear that the election were properly conducted. He also wondered what the interest of the former chairman of the Sapele LGA Branch was as he was not a contestant in the election.

 

DPG 4, Mr. Bernard Adibor contributed by asking the Organising Secretary, Chief Flag Odiete who was chairman of the committee set up by the PG if they invited the newly elected EXCO of the Sapele LGA Branch. Chief Odiete replied that they did not. The DPG 4 then remarked that the PG’s committee had a predetermined report in his own opinion.

 

At this point, the National Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Atarhe Abuh was recognised by the PG to speak. She said that the report of electoral committee read by the PG was quite detailed and credible. She therefore moved a motion that the NEC recognise the newly elected and sworn in Sapele LGA Branch executive and called on all members of that branch to unite and work with them to move the branch forward. The motion moved Mrs Abuh was seconded by DPG 4 Mr. Bernard Adibor.

 

The PG immediately said that the house should be made to vote on the report of the committee he set up to investigate the Sapele LGA Branch crises. There was immediate uproar. The General Secretary told the PG that there was only one motion on the floor without a counter. The PG told the General Secretary cynically to come and sit as the President General.

 

The DPG 2, Mr. Ayaruja then asked the PG to allow him say something. The PG obliged. He said that many of them came from far to the NEC meeting expecting that important matters will be given priority. The PG hushed him and demanded that he immediately withdraws that statement. Mr. Ayaruja continued but PG shouted “shut up and sit down.”

 

At this point the PG called Efe his son who was sitting at the back of the hall a bit far off and signalled him to lock the windows of the hall. The son brought in two other young men who joined him to commence the locking the windows.

 

DPG 3, Okakuro Anirah then stood up and said “you mean I will invite people to my house, we agree on something and I entertained them lavishly and they will go and do another thing?” He then walked out of the meeting.

 

The DPG 2, Mr. Ayaruja then asked the PG “what do you want?” He responded, “you people must allow me have my way!” Mr. Ayaruja then said, “if it is voting that can make you allow us to make progress, then let us vote”.  The PG then asked “where is Oren Chief Anirah?” DPG 2, Mr. Ayaruja again told the PG that we should vote. The PG replied “we cannot vote again as you people have closed the meeting”

 

The PG called his son Efe again to carry his “things” and he rose to move out of the meeting.

 

MOTION FOR DPG1 TO ASSUME THE ROLE OF PRESIDING OFFICER.

 

As the PG left the meeting, the DPG 2, Mr. Omamurhomu Ayaruja rose and  said that “as the Okpe Union Constitution provides that in the absence of the President General, the Deputy President General 1 shall preside, I hereby move that the Deputy President General 1 Mr. Patrick Akpotor now assume the position of the presiding officer of this NEC meeting.” The Deputy President General 4 of the union, Mr. Bernard Adibor then rose to second the motion.

 

The DPG 1, Mr. Patrick Akpotor, then immediately called the house to order. He asked the General Secretary what the next item on the agenda was. The General Secretary noted  that there was a motion earlier which was seconded that the fixing of the date for the Annual General Assembly and the setting up of the electoral committee was of paramount importance and should be treated first. The DPG 1 then asked what date the tenure of this NEC ending? The GS answered that it is 17th of November, 2020. The DPG 1 then asked that members check the calendar to determine the Saturday before that 17th of November. The Assistant General Secretary, Mr. Friday Ekemefe responded that it was 14th November, 2020. At this point, the Mr. Friday Ekemefe then rose to move a motion that the next General Assembly be held on the 14th of November, 2020. The National Youths Coordinator, Comrade Mary Pender rose and seconded the motion that the next General Assembly be held on the 14th of November, 2020. Thereafter, the DPG 4, Mr. Bernard Adibor pointed out that considering the way the President General attempted to forcefully close this NEC meeting with his boys, and as the Okpe Union Constitution provides that the General Assembly can hold in any part of Okpeland, he moves that the next General Assembly meeting holds in Sapele. Comrade Mary Pender seconded the motion that the next General Assembly holds in Sapele.

 

The General Secretary then said that the setting up of the electoral committee is imperative.

 

At this point, the President General Okakuro Robert Onome walked into the hall with some fierce looking young men. He, the PG, came straight to warn the General Secretary. Two of the boys went straight and accosted the DPG 1 who was presiding. One of them told the DPG 1 that he knows him and that he is from Egborode. The DPG 1 then asked him to just allow for the rounding off of the meeting. The second young man protested vehemently and said everyone should leave the hall now. There were other invaders who had now locked up all the windows of the hall. The DPG 1 then rose and said it is important that there be a motion for adjournment. DPG 4, Mr. Bernard Adibor then hurriedly moved a motion for adjournment with the National Publicity Secretary, Mrs Atarhe Abuh saying “seconded” as the PG directed the “thugs” to remove the chairs and the tables to the corner. It was on that violent note that members of the NEC of the Union moved out of the hall, effectively bringing the meeting to a close.

 

THE RESOLUTIONS:

 

From the foregoing, the following resolutions were reached at the National Executive Council Meeting of the Okpe Union which held on the 29th of August, 2020.

 

  1. That the Lagos Regional Headquarters transmit to the current national leadership of the Okpe Union handover notes within one month from the date of the NEC meeting which held on the of 29th August, 2020.

 

  1. Nine Okpe personalities were nominated for possible approval by the General Assembly of the Okpe Union after their consent is obtained as Board of Trustees members of the Okpe Union.

 

  1. That the approval of the National Headquarters is to be obtained by any branch or region of the Okpe Union before they can use the logo of the Okpe Union.

 

  1. That the new executive of the Okpe Union, Sapele LGA Branch is recognised to move the branch forward.

 

  1. That the 2020 General Assembly meeting of the Okpe Union shall hold on the 14th of November, 2020 at Sapele.

 

SIGNED THIS 2nd DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2020.

 

The Okpe Union Patriots Calling!*

 

*TOWARDS A SMOOTH TRANSITION AS THE* *TENURE OF THE CURRENT NEC OF THE* *OKPE UNION WINDS DOWN.*

 

The current National Executive Council of the Okpe Union was inaugurated on the 17th of November, 2016 for a four year tenure. It follows the tenure of the current *NEC* lapses on the 17th of November this year 2020.

 

By the Constitution of the Okpe Union, three months to the expiration of tenure, the NEC is directed to set up an Electoral Committee and also fix a General Assembly meeting of all the Okpe Union branches for the purpose of the election. By the provisions of the Constitution, the General Secretary shall send notices for the General Assembly at least sixty (60) days to the date of the meeting.

 

For the purpose of complying with the above provisions, a NEC meeting of the Okpe Union held on 29th of August, 2020. During the meeting, there were some disagreements which reportedly led to the President General to walk out before the end of the meeting. The PG however claims that his moving out meant the meeting had ended. The other group claimed that to avoid a constitutional crisis, they refused to end the meeting as they moved that the next highest officer of the Union acts to preside over the NEC meeting in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

 

Considering the all important need to ensure a smooth transition without a constitutional crisis which the failure of the 29th August 2020 NEC to fix a General Assembly date would have resulted, the move by other NEC members to continue the meeting and fix a date for the *ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY* meeting for the 14th of November, 2020 is commendable. It is unfortunate that the reported subsequent disruption of the meeting by thugs prevented the NEC from additionally setting up the Electoral Committee.

 

For a successful transition after the expiration of the tenure of the current National Executive Council of the Okpe Union on the 17th of November, this year 2020, we recommend the following:

 

  1. That all branches and Stakeholders of the Okpe Union participate in the Annual General Assembly meeting slated for the 14th of November, 2020 at Sapele, Delta State.

 

  1. That since the Constitution of the Okpe Union provides that the General Assembly is the Supreme organ and highest decision making Organ of the Union, it should ensure that a workable transition template which includes the setting up of an Electoral Committee as well as an Interim Administration for a short period before the national elections, is put in place.

 

  1. The Okpe Union Patriots are of the view that the above positions are the only feasible way forward now to avoid a constitutional crisis as the constitutional three months for the setting up of an electoral committee as well as the sixty days period for the notices of General Assembly meeting has already elapsed. Our position that the November 14th Annual General Assembly date at the Okpe Hall, Sapele be complied with is imperative as the provisions of the Okpe Union Constitution have been complied with and notices have reached the branches within the sixty days required by the Constitution.

 

All hands must be on deck to ensure the survival and sustainability of the Okpe Union which our forefathers fought for and established as one of the earliest ethnic Unions in Nigeria in 1930.

 

Long live the Okpe Nation!

Long live the Orodje of Okpe!

Long live the Okpe Union!

 

Signed:

 

*The Okpe Union Patriots* ,

*17th September, 2020* .

 

*CALL FOR SUPPORT OF ALL STAKEHOLDERS AND MEMBERS OF THE OKPE UNION FOR THE 2020 ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE OKPE UNION* .

 

On the 29th of August, 2020 at the National Executive Council meeting of the Okpe Union, certain decisions were reached that are imperative to be implemented for the survival and stability of the Okpe Union. By the provisions of the Okpe Union Constitution, the General Secretary is named specifically to be responsible for the implementation of General Assembly and NEC decisions of the Okpe Union.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, *Article 16 iii* provides as follows:

 

iii. GENERAL SECRETARY

The General Secretary shall be the Chief Administrative Officer of the National Executive Council (NEC) of Okpe Union and a signatory to its accounts.

(a) To supervise all administrative activities of the Union

(b) Conduct and direct the correspondence of the Union and cause to be issued notices of meetings of the General Assembly, National Executive Council and all other meetings as may be determined from time to time.

(c) Keep or cause to be kept all records of proceedings of the General Assembly, National Executive Council as well as other records of the Union.

(d) Render a written Annual Report of the activities of Union to NEC.

(e) Ensure the implementation of the decisions and directives of the General Assembly, National Executive Council and ensure that all units of the Union carry out their duties promptly and efficiently.

(f) Consult the President General in the discharge of the duties of his or her office.

(g) Carry out any other duties as may be assigned to him or her from time to time by the President General or the National Executive Council.

(h) The General Secretary of the Union shall be the custodian of the Common seal of the Union.

 

On “f” above, I have reached out to the President General several times since the last NEC meeting for the purpose of consultation as required, but I have got no positive replies from him as he insists that his moving out of the last NEC meeting meant it had ended. This is despite the fact that the constitution of the Okpe Union provides for deputising by the Deputy President General 1 who duly presided over the remaining parts of the NEC meeting of the 29th of August, 2020 where the decision was taken. I have also consulted with other members of the NEC.

 

For more clarity as to the constitutional provisions regarding the Annual General Assembly of the Okpe Union, the union’s constitution provides as follows:

 

*ARTICLE 11*

i…. shall be the supreme and highest decision making organ of the Union.

  1. The General Assembly shall hold once a year at a designated place in Okpe Kingdom by NEC and shall be presided over by the President General

iii. Decisions taken at the General Assembly shall be binding on all branches and their members.

  1. The General Assembly shall be made up of the following:
  2. National Executive Council members
  3. Board of Trustees members
  4. Branch and Regional delegates
  5. The Youth Wing and Affiliate bodies.

 

*ARTICLE 24*

Annual General Assembly:

  1. The Annual General Assembly shall be held annually at a

designated place in Okpe Kingdom

  1. The Quorum at the Annual General Assembly shall be 2/3 of the branches invited.
  2. The General Secretary shall give notice to members Sixty (60) days before the AGA, indicating the agenda, time, date and venue.
  3. Each Branch shall send maximum of 5 (five), not less than 2 (two) delegates to the AGA.

 

Dear members of the Okpe Union, as the tenure of the current National Executive Council ends on the 17th of November this year 2020, and as we currently have less than 60 (sixty) days to that date for a General Assembly Notice to be disseminated before the tenure said tenure lapses as enshrined in the constitution, no meeting of the current NEC can validly change the date fixed by the 29th of August 2020 NEC meeting of the Okpe Union.

 

My dear Okpe compatriots and members of the Okpe Union all over the world, as the constitution has singled out a specific officer, the General Secretary, to be responsible for the implementation of General Assembly decisions, National Executive Council decisions,