Following the leadership controversy that has dogged the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) Alumni Association, the Lagos State chapter of the body has expressed worry over the role of the university’s Governing Council and the activities of some alleged “impostors” parading themselves as leaders of the association.
Members of the Lagos chapter have also expressed regrets that the alleged unethical role of the governing council has continued to diminish the dignity of the university, thereby deepening the crisis in the association and encouraging impostors, who seek to perpetuate themselves as leaders of the association without the mandate of the generality of members.
Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the state Chairman, Lagos main chapter of the association, Mr. Orji Udemezue, which a copy was obtained by our correspondent, he raised the alarm over alleged moves by a “fake UNAA” to confer awards on some personalities.
The statement further noted that the group had already collected money from some unsuspecting members of the public in the name of the association in respect of the purported award and allegedly diverted the same.
Thus, Udemezue accused the immediate past President of the association, Ben Okoronkwo of falsely parading himself as President of the association and leading the activities of the fake executive committee.
Okoronkwo, while speaking with NEW TELEGRAPH, however, debunked the claim by the Lagos chapter chairman, describing such allegations as a ‘tissues of lies’ and insisting that he was validly elected for another term as the President of UNAA.
He added that the allegations against his emergence were clearly the antics of bad losers.
However, Udemezue, who further narrated the cause of the crisis and the flawed circumstance under which Okoronkwo began to arrogate the Presidency of the association to himself, said: “Ben Okoronkwo, the immediate past National President of UNAA served a term between 2017 and 2019 with Lagos chapter working closely with him in several ways.”
He added: “In desperation to serve a second term, he (Okoronkwo) deceptively obtained a letter from the university Governing Council mandating UNAA to postpone its elections without any regards to the constitutional independence and the corporate dignity of the association.
“At the UNAA 103rd National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting/25th Biennial Convention, which is constitutionally the highest decision-making organ of UNAA, which was held at Nnewi between November 28 and December 1, 2019, the Convention decided to postpone the election out of respect for the university Governing Council, but appointed an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to conduct UNAA’s affairs pending the conduct of a proper election.
“Despite the constitutional expiration of his tenure as well as the Convention’s decisions, Okoronkwo continued to parade himself as the National President even when 11 out of his 15-member National Officers had complied with the Convention’s decisions.”
Udemezue further noted that while pretending to mediate in the crisis, the governing council was scheming to give unconstitutional privileges to Mr. Okoronkwo in defiance to wise counsels from stakeholders for reasons best known to them.
He added: “It is sad to note that the university administration and the governing council deliberately sought to subject UNAA under their control for whatever selfish reasons.
It is on record that some innovative and transformational ideas and projects offered by some notable alumni in the past to uplift our alma mater were shut down by the university management.”
The Chairman of Lagos chapter, therefore, insisted that the group remains impostors as far as UNAA is concerned and in the eyes of the association’s constitution.
“Following several advice and admonition to the governing council, the UNAA’s Interim Management Committee set up by the 103rd NEC/25th Biennial Convention, went ahead to conduct election in line with its mandate and the constitutional provisions of UNAA in which Lady Linda Agua-Onyekwelu duly emerged the National President of UNAA,” Udemezue stressed.
Also, while further responding to the statements credited to the Lagos branch chairman, described the submissions of Mr. Orji Udemezue as “largely unfounded and mere tissues of lies.”
He noted that Udemezue only heads a branch of the association, stressing that one branch of the association could not dictate to the national body.
Okoronkwo added: “For the avoidance of doubt, I am the validly elected National President of UNAA and this fact you can also verify from the university management.
An election was conducted which was supervised by the university where I was elected. What you are hearing from Udemezue and his associates are the expressions of frustration by a group that lost the election.”