Some aggrieved members have kicked against the just-concluded elections of new executives of the Nigeria Shipowners Association (NISA).
The aggrieved members have consequently suggested that fresh elections should be conducted according to the laid-down constitution of the association.
Recall that the elections, which held in Lagos saw the emergence of Mr Sola Adewumi as President after defeating Mr. Paul Jegede with a margin of 21 votes to 2 votes.
However, disagreements have erupted among members of the association, especially as regards the credibility of the elections. While some expressed satisfaction and acceptance, others have questioned the mode and validity of the election process.
Speaking with our correspondent last week about the elections, Mr Jegede Paul who lost the presidency described the election has been greatly flawed. According to him, the processes were not in accordance with laid down guidelines in the constitution.
He specifically maintained that nominating people to fill vacant positions not contested for is alien and not contained in the association’s constitution.
Jegede however explained that aggrieved members of the association are not trying to antagonize anybody, but want to ensure that the right thing is done for the integrity of the association. He stressed that the issues will be reconciled, adding that the elections may be re-conducted.
“I do not have any issue in the association or with anybody at all. This is because it is an election. It is either you lose or win. After the election, some of the observers observed that things were not done according to the laid-down guidelines in the constitution”, he said.
Speaking specifically, he stated that: “I believe mistakes were made at that election. It is not in the constitution of the association that if a vacancy is not contested for, that we would call people to put them in those positions. What I thought should have been done is that they are elected temporarily, pending the time another round of elections will be conducted in order to move the association forward”.
Jegede explained that, “people are only aggrieved based on the integrity of the process and not really about anybody. How will they respect you if you don’t respect the Constitution? It took us about three meetings to review and formalize the constitution. So if we spent time changing those clauses, how come you cannot comply with them? We are only saying let us do things rightly and properly so that the world can respect us.
“I believe mistakes have been made and it will be addressed. There is no breakaway. We would correct it, so that people will take us seriously; otherwise they won’t take us seriously. At the end of the day, we would all sit and reconcile our positions. If it means re-conducting the election properly, we would do it. I don’t think there is any problem, there is no break-away. Everybody is expressing their dissatisfaction for the basic mistakes that were made on the election day”, Jegede noted.
Another aggrieved member of the association, Otunba Shola Olatunji alleged that there was a compromise in the election processes and it will be challenged.
Olatunji however explained that the aggrieved members have formed an Integrity Group, not to wreck the association, but to ensure that sanity is restored in terms of governance in the association.
“Election is , whether small or big. Anywhere we have human elements, there will always be issues. All you need to do is manage the situation either from the beginning or at the end of the process. From what I know, the emphasis are on infractions of the processes involved in the election which is very fundamental. If you build a house on nothing, consequentially the house will collapse.
“We are only members of the NISA Integrity Group. We disagree, but we are not attacking any personality. What we are clamouring for is to protect the shipping industry for the benefit of stakeholders. Nobody should wreck the boat, because if they do, it will affect everybody” Olatunji concluded.
In his response, the newly-elected President of the association; Mr Sola Adewumi told Shipping Position Daily that the members who participated and voted in the election were those who paid at least one-quarter of their membership subscription in order to be eligible to vote.
Faulting the dissenting group’s claim, Adewumi explained that the nominations to fill the vacant positions not contested for was a joint decision of all the eligible members of the association n who were present at the elections. He maintained that it is normal for members to be aggrieved as the election cannot be in favour of every member.
The President-elect, however, stressed that whoever is aggrieved should air their views and embrace peace, adding that the new executive members aim to move the association forward.
He said: “There is no election that people will not complain, not everybody will be satisfied. The moment your candidate did not emerge, you will start saying one thing or the other. Before the election, there was a resolution at the house that people should pay at least one-quarter of their subscriptions to make them eligible to vote. The people that paid were the people that voted. I don’t know why you will be in association and not pay your subscription and you will still be talking. I do not know why they said the election is not representative of the association. People paid and we were able to register the voters and they voted according to their conscience.
“Maybe some of the people couldn’t afford paying for the form. It is on record that we all voted and allowed them to fill the vacant positions. Whosoever is aggrieved should come to the meeting and raise their opinions. It is just a normal issue. As the elected President, I am only obliged to carry everybody along. I don’t see it as anything unusual or a big issue. Our aim is just to move this association forward. They are trivial things that do not hold water”.
On his part, the Chairman Board of Trustees of the association; Chief Isaac Jolapomo noted that the perceived crisis are just rumours, adding they were only masterminded by certain individuals to cause a setback for the association.
Chief Jolapamo said that these faceless individuals belong to a minority group of about three persons who have proven to be irreconcilable and are bent on taking possession of the association.
The BoT Chairman vowed to hand over the leadership and affairs of the association to credible people who can continue the race and not individuals who will run the association on self-gain and gratifications.
In his words:” They are just rumours. We know who are behind all these. They are two or three people. They have been at it for a long time; settling us back in the last two or three years. We tried to reconcile them, but they have proven to be irreconcilable. I am sure that the breeze would still blow and we would see the fowl’s bottom. We would know who the fake ship owners are.
“They are after me; there is no doubt about it. They want me out of something I started. That is the bottom line and that cannot happen. The truth has to be said. They are just three, but they tried to recruit others doing all sorts of things. What can three people do when there are already over 20 people?
“All I just want to do is to hand it over to people who can continue the race, and not to people who will corner whatever it is and jettison the association. You cannot replace a foundation of a beautiful building until you destroy the building, and that is what they want to do. So help them God.
When asked for the identity of the faceless aggrieved members, Jolapamo said, “They will identify themselves. There was one article that was specifically hammering on me that I want to take control of the association. If I don’t take control, who will? At least I am still alive. If I am no longer there, they can do it. Whatever they want to do and they are not hiding it. They have said they want to go and start their own association and all sorts of things. I have tried as an elderly person just to placate everybody”, he concluded.
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