Adjekpagbon Blessed Mudiaga X-rays the legal resolution of leadership crisis in Niger State branch of Association of Nigerian Authors in favour of Farida Muhammed, who was sacked on trumped up charges by her colleagues
The leadership tussle that has been boiling among some members of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Niger State Chapter came to an end recently through a court judgment in Minna, where a High Court Judge confirmed the authenticity of Mrs Farida Muhammed as the current chairman of the writer’s body branch.
In a suit with number MN/MTB/CR/21/2014 titled ‘Mrs. Farida Muhammed and B.M. Dzukogi and 9 others,’ instituted by Farida at the High Court of Justice, Niger State, Nigeria, held at District Court No 8, Minna, which was finally decided on the 25th of May 2015, the District Jugde, Abdulrahman Idris, declared the meeting held on the 2nd of February 2014 by the defendants (B.M. Dzukogi and 9 others) in which the plaintiff (Farida) was impeached as illegal as laid down principles were not followed.
While declaring the plaintiff as the authentic current Chairman of ANA Niger, the Judge posited in his judgement thus “That the meeting called by the Vice Chairman of the Association and held on the 3rd of March 2014 in which the plaintiff and other members of her executive council were removed is illegal.
“That the meeting held on the 15th of March 2014 which produced persons listed as officials of the Association in the state is illegal and hereby declared as such.
“That the plaintiff is hereby reinstated to complete her unexpired term of office from the date (May 25, 2015) of this judgement which is to end at the earliest in January 2016 and April 2016. “It is also hereby ordered that the defendant or anybody howsoever is stopped from doing anything illegal to stop the plaintiff from Niger state branch until the expiration of her tenure.
“It is also ordered that the defendants shall pay costs of this suit to the plaintiff in the cost of N30,000:00.”
Speaking with the press in the first week of May 2015 about the genesis of the issue, Farida said “The tussle started when my vice chairman Mr. Muhammed Hassan, started working with a certain man in ANA Niger called Mr. Baba M. Dzukogi, at the Cyprian Ekwensi Library which has been changed to Niger State Book Development Agency, through Dzukogi’s dangerous manipulative scheming.”
While commenting on how she was being antagonized by the defendants, Farida had informed the press that “The problem of antagonism is multi–dimensional. It started during the era of my predecessor Almamum Mallam when I went to government house to solicit for funds for Annual Schools Carnival of Arts and Festival of Songs (ASCAFS) designed by ANA Niger State, as the vice chairman then. Baba M. Dzukogi accosted me and told me that ANA Niger should stop sourcing for fund and that he is the only one who can ask government for money. He made this declaration in the presence of these Messrs Paul Liam and Sulay Nsubong. I was elected chairman in November 2012, and I started encountering serious problems from Dzukogi after a year into my tenure in November 2013.”
Other accusations she also leveled against the defendants during the press briefing include her statement that “One Amusa Lasisi, from Ekiti State, who is also a member of ANA Niger attended our meeting and Dzukogi said I should have sent him away because he had an issue in court with him. Amusa is requesting that Dzukogi should account for the10 per cent of the ten million that was given to ANA national by the Chief Servant of Niger State.
“Two million that was given by the Chief Servant’s wife Hajiya Jummai Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu for the publication of teen authors, but Dzukogi did not give ANA Niger their share even though he gave two or three states one hundred and fifty thousand naira each and this made some members angry as they felt that ANA Niger was entitled to share in the money.
“The sum of five hundred thousand naira was given to ANA Niger for the ASCAFS 2014. I asked my vice to call the treasurer so they could deposit the money into ANA Niger’s account, but Dzukogi gave a contrary instruction to Mohammed Hassan my vice chairman to deposit the money into Niger State Book Development Agency account and up to this moment Hassan has refused to account for that money.
“Moreover, we collected books from writers for the ASCAFS, and I gave Hassan to sell to schools –Rampaging Silence 50 copies from Nnenna, Imo State; Tragic Story Of A Young Girl 50 copies from Nina Anighoro, Niger State; 30 copies of Sand On The Foot Of A God– Farida Mohammed, Niger State; Blow Of Fate -Yahaya Dangana, 50 copies; and 50 copies of Honourable Usman Gwarjiko: totaling N67,000, yet to be accounted for my Hassan.
“Apart from that, I approached Niger State Sure-P for financial assistance and the sum of three million was given to writers in the state by them (Niger State Sure-P) for the publication of writers’ books. The money was given to Dzukogi because I was away in Zaria, but Dzukogi did not dispense the money to ANA Niger members. “In my series of interaction and contacts with him, I realised that he is a monster, a sadist, a tribal and religious bigot, a spoiler, and hater of the success of others.
“You would recall that Prof. Remi Raji, current ANA president, and Head of English Department, University of Ibadan, was commissioned by Niger State as a consultant for the Printing, Publication, Documentation Unit (PPDU) created by the Niger state government, but Dzukogi plotted for his removal and eventually took the position.
“The money that was earmarked for some non-indigenous writers within the state, from the state government was never given to them. For instance, Mr Amaechi Odimeze and Ezekiel Fajenyo were denied their funds because of Dzukogi’s discrimination. Ezekiel Fajenyo’s case is pathetic as he is Dzukogi’s reviewer. The preponderant of people working with him at the Niger State Book Development (Cyprian Ekwensi Library) are all his cronies.”
When asked during the press chat if all the allegations she made were verifiable, she said that “All past chairmen can attest that I am not the only chairman that Dzukogi has been troubling. All members can also attest that he causes disunity and acrimony among us in ANA Niger. He spoils and hates the progress of members.”
From her statements and the court’s decision, it could be concluded that she was able to prove the case of antagonism of the defendants against her with incontrovertible electricity, hence her victory over them. This judgement has now laid to rest who is the authentic current chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Niger state branch, which even the current National President of Association, Prof. Remi Raji, has been shying away from commenting on in recent times, whereby he claimed that commenting on it on social media was inappropriate and described social media as a demented channel to air his views on a post on the wall of some of the defendants in the just settled case. However, his seeming muteness on the entire issue has been viewed in some quarters as being too biased and unbecoming of a so called colleague and elected leader against a female writer in a world of freedom of expression and holding elective position anywhere nationwide, where one is a registered member of the Association.
From her statements and the court’s decision, it could be concluded that she was able to prove the case of antagonism of the defendants against her with incontrovertible electricity, hence her victory over them. This judgement has now laid to rest who is the authentic current chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Niger state branch