By BENJAMIN NJOKU
Despite the fact that a lot of accusing fingers have been pointed at him, as the brain behind the crisis rocking the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, since his exit as the National President of the guild two years ago, Ejike Asiegbu has got every reason to put the record straight.
Rather than absolve the blames following the prevailing crisis in the guild, the bulky actor has looked the other way, blaming however the guild’s woes on the Board of Trustees, BoT. According to him, the board apart from being “meddlesome”, it has also outlived its usefulness to the guild. “They claimed, Ejike Asiegbu overstayed in office, but the BoT members have stayed in office for more than 14 years now, and nobody is saying anything about their prolonged tenure.” he snapped.
You have been off the screen for some years now, what happened to you?
Well, being off the screen is a function of if I’m invited to star in a movie. A lot of people believe I don’t have time on my own any more but that’s not true. I might also have been busy with policy making and running of my business.
I’m the Managing Director of Forever Communications Limited, which deals on event management, consultancy and advertising. I’m a media consultant, and I’m also into partnership with civil society groups.
Recently, I was appointed a Special Assistant to Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State on Tourism. I’m a man of many parts. I have a lot of plans in the offing concerning how to revatilise the tourism industry which has been in the doldrums in Abia State. I’m everywhere, trying to contribute my own quota towards the rebuilding of our country.
Above all, I’m a film maker cum actor. My interest lies in film making and whatever I’m doing today, I must not fail to promote and project the nation’s motion picture industry.
Since your exit as president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria(AGN), things have never remained the same with the body; leadership tussle all the way. What do you think could be done to restore peace and stability in the guild?
I do not wish to speak on this issue again, I have moved on. I have a higher mandate I ought to pursue. A lot of people didn’t see the vision, nor were they ready to understand the vision then.
I thank God, you have just said, by implication that since my exit as AGN president, things were not moving as expected in the guild. Without speaking against the leadership that I put in place, may be, they need to set their priorities and get things done in the right way. That’s the much I can say for now.
But you have a chance to clear your name here, because several accusing fingers have been pointed at you, as the brain behind the lingering crisis in the actors’ body?
I think it’s either we have not learnt our lessons or otherwise. If you think, Ejike Asiegbu is the only person who can recount vividly what went wrong in AGN, I have on several occasions put the record straight that I’m not the problem of the guild. We have a constitution and the Board of Trustees under the constitution have no right to establish a caretaker committee.
The constitution of the guild does not allow for that. You are advised to make clarification from the Corporate Affairs Commission, in Abuja.
It’s an AGN’s constitution and not that of BoT. If the people choose to subscribe to BoT’s illegal constitution, then, it’s an aberration, and an indication that we will continue to experience this kind of misunderstanding in the guild.
Beyond this, Ejike Asiegbu was the former president of AGN, and according to the constitution of the guild, he was empowered to conduct an election to usher in a new executives, and he conducted the election that had the representatives from over 26 states chapters in attendance.
If Asiegbu was not empowered to conduct that election, perhaps, those delegates from the states’ chapters wouldn’t have voted at that election. The election, held in Port-Harcourt had the guild’s electoral commission led by veteran actor, Sam Loco. It was only Segun Arinze and Charles Awnuru that contested for the position of the National President of the guild, of which Arinze emerged the winner.
Other executives were also elected. So, if the AGN members decide to dance to the tune of the BoT who brought in an impostor in the person of Kanayo .O. Kanayo, then, it’s an aberration. KOK paraded himself as the acting president of AGN. We can n’t have two national executives under one association.
The constitution of the guild is clear on the issue of how power resolves and election conduct. So, Emeka Ike neither picked AGN nomination form nor did he take part in the general election.
If he chooses to seize power illegally with his cohort, KOK, then, it shows they are non-conformists. It also means they are bigger than the guild, and no individual is bigger than the guild. It’s on record today that I, Ejike Asiegbu conducted an election and consequently handed over the leadership of the guild to Segun Arinze.
Whatever happened after I handed over to Segun is a mis-norm. The authentic AGN election was conducted by myself, every other election after that one is illegal and unacceptable.
I could recall on a number of occasions where I was accused of embezzling the guild’s fund. If at all, I embezzled the guild’s fund, EFCC would have been on my neck by now. But I thank God today, I have been vindicated. When we are building the guild, a lot of these people were busy shooting films and doing other things. I have been most unkind to myself because I stopped acting to build for the industry.
Most of these people were busy working and earning good money, while I was busy spending my own sweat to build the guild for them. I missed productions which was my own choice. Now, having built the guild to an appreciable standard, all these people are coming around to hijack it .
Why are they still involving me in the crisis of AGN after I handed over to Segun, according to the guild’s constitution. Segun Arinze should be held responsible for whatever actions he has taken, since I handed over to him, nobody should get me involved. I have moved on to a higher mandate. I’m a key player in the industry and an elder statesman.
What do you think could be done to bring a lasting solution to the AGN crisis!
The Board of Trustees should stop being meddlesome; they should also leave the executives to provide leadership for the guild and not always interfering with the affairs of the guild. It’s illegal for them to be doing so.
It’s also a wrong thing for AGN members to continue to swallow, hook and sinker anything the BoT tells them. They claimed, I overstayed in office, but the BoT members themselves have stayed in office for more than 14 years now, and nobody is saying anything about their prolonged tenure. They don’t want to vacate their positions and they are also interfering with the affairs of the guild.
That’s one of the major problems confronting the return of peace and stability in the guild. Until the BoT is dissolved, the guild will continue to experience problems.