NIPR election in Yenagoa was a charade, says Mohammed
By Michael orie
ALL may not be well with the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) as one of the contestants in the recently conducted elections in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, has accused the electoral body of engaging in manipulation in the said election.
The candidate, Yusuf Mohammed, a former member of council, while addressing the media on the outcome of the election, rejected what he described as a "charade" and alleged that a cabal bent on holding down the institute, and which has done so in the past 10 years went contrary to the provisions of the institute’s constitution to elect Alhaji Abdullahi A. Mohammed as president.
"For obvious reasons, we completely reject the concocted results of the elections, not just because the cabal that has held down the progress of the institute for 10 years now played out their hatched plot successfully by selecting their preferred candidates into council so as to continue their heinous strangulation of the institute, but because there was a brazen disregard of the NIPR constitution." he alleged.
"First, Section 4, sub-section 1 (a) of the constitution provides that five of the 22 council members of NIPR shall be appointed by the Minister of Information while 17 would be elected, including the President and Vice-president. The constitution clearly says that the president and his Vice shall be elected when all the 22 Council members sit in a meeting and go through an Electoral College system.
"But in this case, only the 17 elected members elected the president. The simple implication is that the council that participated in the election of December 2 was not properly constituted, so that results can only be null and void and not binding on members of the Institute."
He said that this same group perpetrated a similar act two years ago at the AGM cum elections held in Lafia, Nasarawa State and repeated it in Yenagoa on the day of the election. This failed president had the temerity to sit in the council meeting that elected the new president and vice president and announced that; "we wanted the immediate past vice president to become president and he is president, and there is nothing anyone can do about it."
"Another flagrant disregard of the NIPR constitution is also evident in Section 8, sub-section 3. This section provides that a register of the names, addresses and approved qualifications of all persons registered as PR practitioners be kept at the Institute. It also provides that the register should be printed and published and put on sale to members of the public. These two important provisions have not been respected in the last 10 years and no person registered as PR practitioner has seen any register.
"Similarly, section 4 (1) provides that the NIPR council shall convene the AGM of the institute on 30th of April each year or any such other day… but should not exceed 15 months after the previous AGM. But since 2000, the AGM has held in November instead of 30th April as the constitution provides. The 30th of April date has been conveniently sidetracked to help the cabal achieve its aim of destabilizing the institute."
He said that "at the Lafia election in 2007 and the latest in Yenagoa, many registered members were disenfranchised through the deliberate use of a cooked up list of favoured members for council seats. Therefore, many votes cast were not taken into consideration during the counting. He pointed out that, Lagos State, which has three council seats ended up with only one elected member.
"My grouse therefore is against those who want to perpetuate system which is today gradually killing NIPR. My "crime" is that I have persistently called upon the leadership of the NIPR and their partners in the secretariat to be honest and transparent as preached by the founding fathers of the Institute in order to carry the body to greater heights or at least to the same level as achieved by other professional bodies in the country."
He therefore called on the Minister of Information and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili, PR professionals, leadership of the national assembly and the general public to intervene and ensure that due process id followed.
Contacted to react on the allegations, immediate past president of the institute, Prof. Ike Nwosu said he was in a meeting and so could not answer this reporter’s questions.
In his own reaction, NIPR’s registrar, Mr. Stephen Adebayo, dismissed Muhammad’s allegation, saying he has no basis to complain about the election. According to him, it was the same electoral committee that made him a member of the council in the first palace in 2007.
He wondered why Muhammad would be complaining now over a system he has been part of for a long time.
"Why did he not complain at Nasarawa? Is it because he lost an election? The process that produced the executives was even worse now." Adebayo retorted.
He said Muhammad was part of the committee that brought the Nwosu- led executive into office and so had been part of the system.
On monitoring the election, Adebayo said the law did not make provision for the supervising ministry to monitor the election. "There is no such provision in our law," he said.
On the emergence of a month old member as council member, Adebayo said the law did not provide the length of time a person will be a member before he is elected into the council.
"Once you are a member, you are qualified to contest. Last six years in Gombe, someone was inducted into the institute during the AGM and the next day he emerged as council member."
Adebayo defies Muhammad to seek legal redress since he is not comfortable with the election’s outcome.
Source: The Guardian