COUNCILLORS of Nigerian extraction in the UK have been caught up in a bitter spat that has split their body the Association of British Nigerian Councillors UK (ABNCUK) into two factions with each refusing to recognise the other.
Earlier this week, it was reported that former mayor of Waltham Forest Councillor Anna Mbachu Ogbuebile was suspended as a member and the interim chair of the body. A statement was issued that following a meeting held on October 7, the ABNCUK voted overwhelmingly to suspend Councillor Ogbuebile claiming she self-imposed herself as the head of the body.
According to that statement, in addition, members voted to dissolve the interim executive committee and also a new caretaker committee has been formed to manage the association and amend the constitution within six weeks in preparation for an annual general meeting to take place as soon as practicable. It added that Councillor Tubo Uranta of Campbell Park Parish Ward in Milton Keynes Council also ceases to be the acting secretary of the association.
According to ABNCUK, these measures remain in place pending investigations into certain allegations and the restructuring of the organisation or as the caretaker committee directs. In a statement signed by Councillors Kofo David, Endy Ezenwata and Angela George, a new caretaker committee made up of the three of them has been formed to manage the association.
Their statement read: “This disclaimer serves as an official notice to the general public and the Nigerian community both here in the UK and back in Nigeria that Councillor Anna Mbachu, the councillor representing Grove Green Ward in the London Borough of Waltham Forest and Councillor Tubo Uranta do not represent the association in any capacity and cannot transact nor enter into any engagement on behalf of the association with immediate effect. All enquiries should please be directed to any of these caretaker committee, Association of British Nigerian Councillors UK, members Kofo David, Endy Ezenwata and Angela George.”
However, Councillor Mbachu has refused to accept the decision and her faction of ABNCUK held a meeting yesterday to pass its own resolutions. She said she was the vice chairman and immediately the chairman Councillor Sunny Lambe resigned, as the vice chair, she automatically became the leader in line with the dictates of the constitution.
Councillor Mbachu said: “Our constitution is clear in that once the chair resigns, the vice takes over and that is exactly what I did. They say they have suspended me but did they have the two thirds majority to do this? because from what I can see, there are actually many members who are not even sitting councillors, which is contrary to our constitution.”
Councillor Harold Ogunfemi from Medway, added: “We met last night and everyone agreed that we should allow Anna to continue as the chair and Tubo Uranta should continue too. We also agreed to reach out to the other faction.
“We would also put a team together to look at the constitution and present it to the whole organisation. We are looking to agree on a document that will be acceptable to everyone and not just a few people.”