By Gloria Ikegbule
Recently, members of the Anambra community in Lagos State, under the aegis of the Association of Anambra State Development Unions (AASDU), sheathed their swords to enthrone new leaders, who would be in office for four years. AASDU Lagos, an umbrella body of the 177 towns, whose indigenes are resident in Lagos State, had been in disarray as a fallout of some leadership crises.
After a peaceful election, the new 22-man leadership was sworn in by members of the body’s Board of Trustees; observers said occasion symbolised the end of a questionable administration of the body.
The swearing-in ceremony featured prominent sons and daughters of Anambra extraction as well as representatives of the state liaison office in Lagos, led by Mrs. Pauline Nwandu. Everyone was filled with expectations that the new set of AASDU executives would restore the organisation’s lost glory in a short while.
Daily Sun gathered that it became necessary for the communities to come together and form a union in Lagos to attend to their collective welfare, since Lagos was a long way from home. It was also learnt that the 177 towns of Anambra used the platform to drive development across the towns and forge ways of discussing and protecting their interests. AASDU, as such, was also designed as a platform for Anambra people in Lagos to reach out to the state government anytime the need arose.
One of the elders of AASDU, Chief Boniface Iloanya, told Daily Sun that, using the platform, their people had enjoyed a good relationship with the Lagos State government. He expressed joy that the leadership challenges in the organisation had been resolved by the people themselves.
Iloanya, former vice president of the body, noted that the trouble with AASDU started with questionable governance, which led to the dissolution of the executive through a letter written by the BoT. Several petitions of controversy and irregularity had trailed the regime, leading to the inability of the beleaguered executive to conduct any election.
He recalled that an interim management committee was set up to steer the affairs of the body, which stayed in office for one year to put the house in order and make it ready for a free and fair election and handover.
“This peaceful election and handover to the newly elected executives were significant landmarks. It was speculated that some people would foment trouble on the election day but that did not happen. With this peaceful transition, we have a new beginning and we are looking forward to a better AASDU.
“Our expectation is that the new leadership will do better than the immediate past exco and improve on the latter’s shortcomings. We are hopeful that they will recover our land and build a suitable secretariat for us and then promote brotherly love among our people,” he said.
Members of the new executive committee were, Chief Vincent Osakwe, president; Chief Basil Osuokwu, first vice president; Ogbuefi Ugo Ofodile, second vice pesident; Ichie Jonathan Mezie Okoye, third vice president; Mr. Ubaka Nwonwu, general secretary; Chief Iyke Uzo Okwuma, treasurer; Mr. Okwudili Obiagwu, legal adviser; Sir Amechi Ebeledike, financial secretary; Mr. Pat Anyadubalu, assistant legal adviser; Uche Dikenafai, director of socials; Mr. Chinedu Ejiabor, assistant secretary; Mr. Chukwudi Nwankwo, assistant financial secretary; and Mr. Ejike Metu, publicity secretary. Also elected were the provost, Mr. Clement Nnaedozie, and assistant provost, Mr. Ifeanyi Eze. Seven members would serve as ex-officios. They include Mr. Patrick Osakwe, Chief Chris Eze, Mr. C.K.C. Obiekwe, Mr. Benjamin Egwuda, Chief Sunday Udezuligbo, Sir Marcel Okpala and Chief Donatus Okeke.
In his acceptance speech, Chief Osakwe said: “For a very long time AASDU has been in darkness because of lack of meaningful activities. The struggle for the soul of AASDU greatly polarised the association into many interest groups that impeded the progress of the body.
“But we pledge to unify AASDU, enthrone peace, protect the interests of our members and assure everyone that the light of glory, which has been lighted today, shall not be extinguished in our time.”
The BoT, led by Chief C.C. Ifeanyi, Mr. George Igboegwu and Mr. Sam Egbuchunam, also expressed hope that the unpleasant development that divided AASDU in the past would not recur in the life of the group.