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Leadership crisis hits SOKAPU as National Exco rejects suspension by NEC

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

The apex pan socio-cultural umbrella organization of the Southern Kaduna people, in the Middle-Belt of Nigeria is seriously riddled with internal leadership crises.

The National Executive arm of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) has taken on National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Union, urging it to affirm that all is not well with the Union.

NEC, according to a statement signed by its national Vice President 1, Comrade Elisha Rosy, and 11 others, noted that the once vocal and vibrant Union, which has been the voice of the 67 tribal groups spread in 12 Local Government Areas of Kaduna State, has suddenly become voiceless.

It could be recalled that the NEC of the Union met in Kaduna on the 13th May, 2023, and suspended its entire National Exco.

This came after the President of SOKAPU, Mr. Dio Awemi Maisamari, made an opening remark in Kaduna in which he indicted himself of “failure to lead SOKAPU” and tendered his resignation. 

“This prompted the NEC to suspend the entire exco; and investigation committee was formed. Also, a caretaker committee was inaugurated to run the Union for three months. But the suspended exco, which may be heading to court, if the matter is not resolved, according to a source, have strongly challenged its suspension,” it stated.

In a letter of protest written to the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of SOKAPU, elder Stephen Bangoji, the aggrieved exco members stated that their suspension did not follow due process and, as such they were seeking for the intervention of the BoT.

A copy of the letter, which was obtained by our correspondent, is titled: ‘Request For Urgent Intervention On The Purported Suspension of the CEC By NEC.’

The letter stated, with an opening, “The Central Executive Committee (CEC) has been embroiled in leadership crisis which has pitched the President of SOKAPU, Mr. Awemi Dio Maisamari, the General Secretary, Mr Stephen Mallan, on one side and 13 other members of the exco, respectively.

“This development has been previously conveyed to you in which you tried to intervene but to no avail,” it went on.

“Some of the areas in which we have had major disagreements with the two are: *Subsuming SOKAPU under one Southern Kaduna Leadership Council (SKLC), which is an aberration of the norm.

*SOKAPU cannot be under any southern Kaduna group, without amending the constitution of our great union.

*The President is more loyal to the Community Development Association (CDA) forum and one CONACDA in which he has remained the President of Adara Development Association (ADA) and the Vice President of CON EACDA.

*He has also refused to abide by agreed resolutions during exco meetings. He is also fond of unauthorized withdrawals of funds among others.

“Since the coming of Maisamari as SOKAPU President, SOKAPU has never carried out a single activity even with all the serious issues that Southern Kaduna was facing,” the 13 members of the embattled exco alleged in the letter.

“Mr Mallan, the GS, has shown shocking incompetence since he was voted into office in 2019. He has never produced a single minute of our meeting. Aside that, he was absent from his duty post, from 2020 to 2022,” said the group.

“On the 25th April, 2023, the President convened a CEC meeting in which, again, we had heated debates on several matters.

“He then announced that there will be a NEC meeting on the 13th of May, 2023, in which matters that we couldn’t address at the CEC will be tabled before the NEC. We then agreed that before the NEC, we have to sit and draft an agenda and decide on issues to be tabled before the NEC,” said the CEC.

“We arrived the NEC meeting early, hoping that we shall draft an agenda for the meeting. But unknown to CEC, Maisamari had a prepared agenda without consulting with us. 

“We were later to find out that, Mr Dio had a meeting with some members of the CDA forum in which the agenda of the NEC meeting was drafted. 

“We were made to understand that the plan was to allow Maisamari to honourably resign, while we the remaining exco were to be suspended so as to dent our image,” the group alleged.

“When the meeting started, the President made a long welcome remark, which was laced with false and malicious allegations against us. He admitted that he had failed in his duties and owned responsibility for all that happened under his tenure,” the group claimed.

“He even tendered a receipt of N1,065,000 (one million, Sixty-Five Thousand Naira), which he said was a loan he took from the coffers of SOKAPU, to buttress one of the allegations against him,” reads the letter.

“He then tendered his resignation and pleaded that it should be immediately adopted,” it stated.

According to the letter, the confession of failure by Maisamari and his tendering to resign caused a stir at the meeting. 

The embattled exco said that, instead of being allowed to defend themselves, the NEC summarily suspended them, formed “Investigation” and “Caretaker” Committees to run the Union.

“We the undersigned are pleading for the prompt intervention of the BoT to arrest the drift, which SOKAPU is currently facing. We pledge our commitment to the service of SOKAPU and the People of Southern Kaduna,” it stated.

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