The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Lagos State chapter has a new executive council that will pilot its affairs for the next two years.
Members of the new executive council emerged at the branch’s general assembly held on Saturday, August 8. Their election followed the dissolution of the five-person Caretaker Committee that had been running the chapter since January 11, 2020.
At the well-attended meeting, Ifeanyichukwu Avajah was elected Chairman, Brenda Nwafor, Vice-Chairman, and C.M. Okonkwo as the Secretary. Olusanya Anjorin emerged as Financial Secretary, Funke Awodiya, Publicity Secretary, and Solape Adeyemi as Treasurer after her co-option by the Exco and acceptance by the general assembly. Yemi Adebiyi and Linda Edem- Davies emerged as Ex-Officio 1 and 2 respectively.
Informing the public about the changes in its leadership in a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary, ANA Lagos expressed its resolve to take literature to greater heights in the city.
They said, “We will not let you down. No stones shall be left unturned.”
The peaceful conduct of the Lagos ANA elections contrasts with what happened at the 38th annual convention of ANA national held last November in Enugu.
Accusations and counter-accusations of alleged plans to rig by supporters of the four presidential aspirants –Camillus Ukah, Ahmed Maiwada, Ofonime Inyang and Chike Ofililed led to the postponement of the election.
Consequently, an electoral committee comprising Professors Akachi Ezigbo and Remi Raji, Odia Ofeimun, Okeyendo Diego and Yemi Adebiyi was given 180 days to conduct a fresh election at a neutral venue. This has not happened yet because of COVID-19 disruptions.
Despite this, peace has continued to elude the Association as two elections producing two different executive councils have held this year.
Maiwada and Akogun Tai Oguntayo emerged National President and General Secretary of at a convention held in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in March. Others elected alongside them were Professor Ngozi Chuma Udeh (Vice President), Patrick Oguejiefor (Assistant General Secretary), Owupele Francis (Treasurer) and Usho Smith Adamu (Financial Secretary).
The rest were Banma Suleiman (PRO, North), Otunba Dada Korede (PRO, South), Dr Moses Joseph (Auditor) and Isa Ibrahim Dan Musa (ex-officio 2). Twenty state chairpersons of ANA conducted the Abuja election.
However, another election reportedly held in Makurdi, Benue State on July 17. It birthed the Camillus Ukah\Farida Waziri ANA National Executive Council.
The two bodies have since then engaged in a war of attrition, with Ofili and Inyang insisting ANA national has no executive.
It was against this background that playwright and poet, Greg Mbajiorgu, sued for peace in a recent interview with TCN.
He has asked the warring parties to stop fighting over elective positions as well as control of the 36.9 hectares ANA land in Abuja, given to it in 1985 by the late General Mamman Vatsa.
Mbajoirgu said, “It appears the Mamman Vasta’s gift to authors has become more of a burden than a blessing to ANA. The politicisation of our Association today stems from a selfish struggle to control the remnant of the Mpape ‘treasure’. Those icons (Achebe, Soyinka, J.P Clark, etc.) whose accomplishments compelled Vasta to donate the at land to authors are not known for material acquisition.”
Also speaking on the crisis, a former ANA President, Dr Wale Okediran disclosed that efforts were ongoing to resolve it.
“We are talking to the two main groups to cease hostilities. We are not happy with what’s happening. We are one big family, but this is what ambition causes. The elders of the Association are talking to them, and we hope to resolve it soonest,” he said.