I got a letter from a disgruntled member of the LEO club, the youth activity of the LIONS club international. After reading the content of the letter, I kept wondering if non-profit clubs have become so political that electing members into leadership positions (which comes with no salary) is now a tussle.
Hearing one side may be unfair though, but having spent years as a member of the LEO club for years, this is one too many.
Read the concerned LEO’s letter to the club’s international office below:
Dear International Office,
I write to intimate you on the happenings of the just concluded LEO DISTRICT ELECTION 404 held in UYO the capital of AKWA IBOM, NIGERIA.
It is so sad and it beats me to write this but most LEOS in NIGERIA are clamouring for a change in the system because some LIONS of DISTRICT 404B NIG have eaten so deep into the LEO club program that it becomes so empirical that they have strong interest in the leadership of the LEO club which after a leader emerges winner through the election they back off leaving the infected leadership to the LEOS to carry.
On the 17th of May was the election for various positions of leadership for both LEO district 404A and 404B. LEOS started arriving at the venue of the election (IBOM hall) as early as 7am in the morning to exercise their franchise.
(LET ME BACK UP FOR BIT) prior to that day……After the ISAAME forum in December 2013 it was known explicitly that the LEO District 404B NIG will be bifurcated to 404B1 & 404B2 under the endorsement of the LIONS international office which will take effect from the preceding Lions year (July 1 2014). The District 404B2 became a very new District more than 404B1 because it had no existing leader at all while 404B1 already had leaders that will take the District through another two (2) Lions year. The district 404B2 was going to officially have leaders after the election at the LIONS NATIONAL CONVENTION in UYO which will also see other District (404A1, 404A2, 404B1) aspirants get various leadership positions. (For the purpose of understanding I will refer to District 404B1 & 2 as one district till when it’s time for screening and elections)
Election period (LIONS NATIONAL CONVENTION) was gradually approaching as it was time for the screening of candidates for various positions In the LEO Districts. The current district presidents were LEO SHOGO OLOSUNDE (404A 1), LEO IBIKARI BELL-GAM (404A2), and LEO BOLANLE APETE (404B). The norm that existed between the current district presidents predecessors was to come together to pick an electoral committee with a chairman as the head. This norm was not completely executed as the district presidents of all the three districts (3) had little issues in coming to a consensus as to who will become electoral chairman, then LEO MORRIS ACHIBONG stepped into the issue as the MULTIPLE DISTRICT PRESIDENT (before Leos were surprisingly told that MULTIPLE DISTRICT 404 never existed in the International office). Leo MORRIS ACHIBONG nominated Lion IZI ANN (a past district president) as the electoral chairman for the election and other electoral committee members but the issue was not still salvaged because the districts presidents were now fully aware that Leo Multiple district never existed in the International office and so that elevated their powers of autonomy to pick their individual electoral chairman and committee usurping the powers of the elected Multiple district president by the multiple district council.
This issue continued until the LIONS COUNCIL OF PAST DISTRICT GOVERNORS in NIGERIA intervened in the issue and picked Lion OBO EFFANGA as the electoral chairman, Lion JAMIU TALABI as the assistant and other committee members like Lion EBUREME, Leo MORRIS ACHIBONG. Finally the issue was salvaged and the electoral committee sent a message to all contestant fixing the screening during the LIONS NATIONAL CONVENTION in UYO.
On Thursday 15th of May 2014 (during the National convention) was the screening day, Leo aspirants contesting for different position gathered at the hall of EDIPASS HOTEL by 9am for the screening. (I will like to now bring the new district 404B2 into the picture). All the aspirants were present for screening except for the Leo contesting for the position of 2nd Vice district president for 404B2 who was not even present for election but won election….how?
After the announcement of the bifurcation, Leo DEJI OLUKOKUN who was the 2nd vice district president for 404B transferred his membership from his current club under 404B1 (ABEOKUTA UNIQUE Leo Club) to a club under the new district 404B2 (IKEJA GOLDEN Leo club) and contested for the post of district president for 404B2, which as at of 16th of February he was still the 2nd vice district president for 404B
The screening lasted for at least 14 hours (including recess), and the aspirants for the new districts were:
DISTRICT PRESIDENT: LEO OGUNNAYA AYOKUNMI and LEO DEJI OLUKOKUN
1st VICE DISTRICT PRESIDENT: LEO DOLAPO MACURLAY and LEO SOLADOYE
2nd VICE DISTRICT PRESIDENT: LEO SANYA SIMON and LEO DAMILOLA ODUFUWA
Note: why I narrowed down to only 404B2 is because the other districts had little or no issues with the election, or had little issues that didn’t raise ciaos.
Picking up from where I backed up from, Leos started arriving at the venue of the election (IBOM HALL) from 7am and after a while we got the greatest shock as Leos when we heard the electoral chairman other members of the committee resigned. Some hours later we heard of a new electoral committee with Lion EKPE-NTA BASSEY as the electoral chairman and other Lions like Lion EJIKE CONTI, LION IZI ANN. Shortly, delegates whose club were in good financial standing where called in for election, and to shock us again some non-existing clubs were called and suddenly delegates representing these clubs emerged. Members of IKEJA GOLDEN Leo club (the club producing the aspirant for 404B2 district president) were not in the convention at all, but when they called the club for their delegates, to our surprise again a Leo who was evidently a member of IDIMU LEO club and the LEO DISTRICT CHIEF OF PROTOCOL for 404B suddenly appeared as a member of IKEJA GOLDEN Leo club and went in while the current president of IDIMU LEO club was there shouting ‘NO NO NO….HE HAS NOT GIVING ME ANY TRANSFER LETTER’ but the Lion at the gate didn’t listen….surprised?. Some delegates were even disenfranchised on that day and their clubs were in good financial standing.
INSIDE THE ELECTION HALL
Delegates of all the four (4) districts sat in the hall for the election, then the electoral chairman called for aspirant’s introduction and roll call. 404A1 aspirants categorically introduced themselves to the delegates, so as 404A2, 404B1 when it got to 404B2 Leo AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA introduced herself as the aspirant vying for the position of District President so as Leo DEJI OLUKOKUN, so vividly the position of district president 404B2 had two (2) contestants. The election started as district 404A1 was the first to be attended to, followed by 404A2, then 404B1, when it got 404B2 issues started. A delegate stood up and sighted that there were some clubs that NEVER existed but had delegates seated among them which the electoral chairman diplomatically waived, another delegate raised the issue of a known club member representing another club, that again was waived, a delegate stood up again to quote the standard Leo club constitution to the chairman because of an issue contradicting the constitution, but he was asked to sit down. Election started but as opposed to other districts, 404B2’s election started from the least. The post of 2nd vice district president was called and the aspirant who was absent from screening and election won. It was time for the 1st vice position and to shock us once again instead of having two(2) aspirants three (3) were announced including Leo AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA, and delegates started protesting including the said aspirant that how can she vie for district president and they rip her off her total franchise. Delegates said NO….it’s not possible but some Lions in the election tried to pacify delegates through treats and subtleness about this conspicuous injustice. The said candidate (AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA) was dumb-founded, shocked and finally the election for 1st vice was done and she lost, which left the position of district president 404B2 unopposed to DEJI OLUKOKUN. Some devastated delegates still kept on protesting about this act but the election for district president went through a voice vote and Leo DEJI OLUKOKUN won even if the ‘YES’ was not resounding.
- Why did the electoral committee including the chairman resign?
- Why didn’t the new electoral chairman read out the electoral screening resolution of the old committee to every delegate
- Did the resigned electoral committee hand over the screening resolution to the new committee?
- Was it the same COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS that appointed the first electoral committee that appointed the second, or was it some Lions?
- What was the DISTRICT GOVERNOR for 404B during in the screening venue? He shouldn’t have been there because he actually called the two(2) aspirants for district presidents for 404B2 (Leo AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA & LEO DEJI OLUKOKUN) to a meeting and asking Leo AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA step down for Leo Deji Olukokun which the earlier electoral chairman (Lion OBO EFANGA) objected to.
- Why did the MULTIPLE COUNCIL CHAIRPERSON say that the international office endorsed the 2nd vice 404B (DEJI OLUKOKUN) crossing over to 404B2 to become an automatic district president, when it’s obvious it’s a new district? Is it true?
- Why was AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA (2nd aspirant for district president 404b2) not allowed to contest as district president?
- Why was DEJI OLUKOKUN declared unopposed when there was a 2nd known and present contender?
- Why did the MULTIPLE COUNCIL CHAIRMAN threaten delegates that if they don’t comport themselves he will get them arrested and put in prison?
- Why didn’t the new electoral chairman and his committee conduct a fresh screening?
- Why was DEJI OLUKOKUN (district president 404B2 aspirant) allowed to contest election after crossing district and had not spent up to six (6) months?
- Why were non existing clubs allowed to vote?
- Why was an absent aspirant allowed to contest for election?
- What were the police doing at the venue of the election?
These questions need to be critically digested, pondered upon and proffer solutions to quickly, because we are losing Leo membership by the day because of these irregularities and if not giving immediate and swift attention it will only get worse, and some Leos are used to social media and will not hesitate to go public or tell anyone who cares to know about these injustice and anomalies going on in the Leo club program in Nigeria.
Attached to this mail are grievances of some Leos in the just concluded election on facebook.
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INJUSTICE AND POLITICES!
I wait your swift response.
Yours in Lionism…….A Concerned and bitter Leo