*BOT kicks Ejike Asiegbu out of office
By Ogbonna Amadi & Benjamin Njoku
As you are reading thisÂ report, the Actors Guilds of Nigeria, AGN, is on fire. Reason, Board of Trustees of the body led by its chairman, PrinceÂ Ifeanyi Dike, on Monday, kicked the embattled president of the association, Ejike Asiegbu, out of office, saying he is â€œillegally occupyingâ€ the seat of the president of AGN, despite the fact that the two tenures he was allowed by the guildâ€™s constitution had long elapsed.
But in a swift reaction, the embattled president who appeared unruffled, dismissed the threat, describing the originators as â€˜desperadosâ€™.
â€œLet them come and take it if they so desire the seat. Iâ€™m not bothered either.Â They are desperados. I donâ€™t have time to go to court. I am not even losing my sleep because of the threat.
â€œAll of them are in soup. If they have appointed people to take over from me, let the people come and assume office. I am waiting for them. Let them come and take over. This is neither the first nor the second time they areÂ attempting to unseat me to no avail,â€Asiegbu fumed when Showtime Celebrity contacted him.
Also, venting his anger, former president of the body, actor, Zack Orji, in his reaction, described the boardâ€™s decision as being hasty. He blamed the board for its inability toÂ exhaust all available opinions before moving to kick the president out of office.
However, in spite of Asiegbuâ€™s unperturbed attitude, and Zack Orjiâ€™s position on the matter,Â a caretaker committee to be headed by actor Kanayo O. Kanayo and Mr. Bimbo Manuel as the Vice-President was on Monday constituted by the board to pilot the affairs of the guild for the next sixÂ months tenure with option of renewal.
Following this development, the embattled president of AGN stands suspended from the body together with his national executives.
At its extra-ordinary meeting,Â Â held on the same Monday at the guildâ€™s head office in Surulere, Lagos, where the suspension was announced,Â members of the board in attendance, directed Kanayo to assume office with immediate effect.
The conspiratorsÂ cited Asiegbuâ€™s inability to conduct an election to usher in a new administration to pilot the affairs of the body, as part of the reason he was sacked from office.
In a resolution signed by three out of five members of the board, including Prince Ifeanyi Dike, Mr. Emmanuel Oguguah and Mr. Murphy Stephen, dated 15th of June, 10-points agreement were adopted.
Some of the adopted points read as follows: â€œConsidering the fact that the tenure of the present president of the guild, Mr. Ejike Asiegbu, has expired and he has failed, refused or neglected to conduct an election to usher in a new administration to lead our noble guild;
â€œAcknowledging the position of the registered board of trustees as the custodians of the constitution of the guild;
â€œAccepting the fact that a proactive measure must be taken by the board of trustees to restore confidence in the guild by appointing a care-taker committee to run and oversee the affairs of the guild;Â â€œThe board of trustees hereby resolves as follows…:â€
According the resolution, other members of the care-taker committee would be appointed in consultation with the board of trustees.
â€œDuring the six months tenure, major decision of the care-taker committee of the guild should be in consultation with the board of trustees.
â€œThe new care-taker committee must work to build alliance, peace and unity amongst all interest groups and fractions within the guild in addition to workingÂ assiduously to reposition the guild to achieve its previous glory.
â€œThe committee must audit the accounts and properties of the guild and render a proper documentation of all registered members of the guild. It must, as a matter of urgency, take immediate possession of the properties of the guild.
These appointments take immediate effect, even as the de-facto president, Mr Ejike Asiegbu, and his entire national administration, are hereby suspended for reasons which are obvious.â€
Ejikeâ€™s tenure of controversy
It would be recalled however that before now, crises had been rocking the actorâ€™s guild over what the members described as Asiegbuâ€™s sit-tight syndrome.
Early this year, the bulky actor was dragged to the Federal High Court at Oyekan Abayomi Waterfront, Ikoyi, by some aggrieved members of the guild to answer questions on his insistence on â€œillegally occupyingâ€ the seat of the president of AGN, despite the fact that the two tenure he was allowed by the guildâ€™s constitution, had long elapsed.
Reports had it that the outing at the court was just to open the case, which is expected to generate enough fireworks to bring back real action to the apparent lull that had strangulated Nollywood for a while.
Unrelenting in theirÂ bid to unseat Asiegbu as president, in 2007, a group of state chairmen, led by Lagos State head, Remy Ohajianya, attempted to impeach the embattled presidentÂ while he was away in France, where he went to attend the annual film festival, in Cannes.
In what he described as a counter attack, Asiegbu gathered his forces to stall the move of the Lagos State chairman. He was reported to have cancelled meeting of the Conference of Chairmen conveyed by Ohajianya, which to many, did not deter the actors who appeared bent on removing the national president.
Overtime, while Asiegbuâ€™s administration lasted, accusations and counter-accusations had trailed the affairs of the actorsâ€™ body. At one time, Asiegbu was allegedly to be high-handedness. He was also accused of mismanagement of the guildâ€™s funds.
Ejike and the Zimbabwean fraud connection
The latest power tussle, Showtime Celebrity gathered, is not unconnected with an unclear transaction, which Asiegbu was alleged to have made, using the name of the body with some marketers of Nigerian movies in Zimbabwe.
Top Nollywood stars react
While mixed feelings have continued to trail the crisis as it deepens, we bring to you reactions of some top actors and stakeholders in the industry.
BOTâ€™s decision too hasty â€” Zack Orji
BOTâ€™s decision was too hasty.
They did not exhaust all available options before taking that decision. I have given my candid opinion to the BOT chairman, Prince Ifeanyi Dike.
The role of BOT is simply advisory and I canâ€™t remember anywhere in the constitution which empowers the board to take such action. Some few years ago, I was invited as a stakeholder to be part of a team to mediate between Ejike Asiegbu and BOTâ€™s crisis, where an MOU was signed stating BOTâ€™s role.
And I also remember that BOTâ€™s role was strictly spelt out in the MOU as advisory. They were also warned not to meddle in the affairs of AGN.