By Samuel Essien,
Queens, New York
In a rare show of unity, the Akwa Ibom State Association of Nigeria USA, Inc.(AKISAN) on Sunday, July 26, voted unanimously to resolve its long-standing disagreement over voting preferences. The resolution made it possible to suspend sections of AKISAN Constitution, according to a memo obtained from the National Secretariat of AKISAN. The purpose, as explained in the memo, was “in order to conduct Presidential, Board of Trustees, and any other election using electronic platforms,” including “audiovisuals and video recording.”
In a related motion, which carried unanimously, it was also resolved that AKISAN’s business be conducted “using electronic platforms (audiovisuals and video)” until when it is deemed appropriate and safe to return to face to face business operations. Both proposals, put forward by the incumbent executive, were announced in a July 21 official memo signed by AKISAN National Secretary, Dr. Ekere B. Williams. An emergency general meeting of AKISAN was held via Zoom on July 26 to consider and adopt the two proposals.
Elated with the success of the emergency meeting, Margaret Itauma, AKISAN National President, said during a telephone interview, that with the suspension of sections of the Constitution, a major huddle has been surmounted, because of Constitutional provisions which did not allow on-line voting for the election of officers for elective office.
According to Itauma, the related proposals were offered to suspend relevant sections of the Constitution and to offer members, consistent with COVID-19 safety guidelines, the option of “electing a national president, three board members, and a national auditor, before the end of the term of the current administration in August, 2020. Elections have thus been scheduled for August 22,” says Itauma, whose tenure, while hotly debated, will be remembered for, among others, her bold initiatives, and the restoration of good understanding and close working relation with the home government. “Members of my administration and I are prepared to hand over to the president-elect as soon as he is sworn-in, along with board members-elect, and internal auditor-elect during a virtual formal ceremony scheduled for August 23, 2020,” Itauma added during the telephone interview.
Itauma’s potential successors include, in alphabetical order, Itoro Akpan-Iquot, an IT professional in Atlanta, Georgia; Mfon Anamndu, an IT Professional in Chicago, Illinois; and Dr. Henshaw Mbosowo, a mental and behavioural health professional counsellor and former IT professional.
While the candidates are running neck-and-neck in an informal poll shared with this writer, their supporters have been making frantic phone calls to uncommitted AKISAN chapters in order to take the lead before voting slated for August 22, 2020. Nomination notice for other offices of AKISAN is pending.