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…Fears of Imposition of Candidates may Mare Process
…Aigbokhaode calls for caution

There is mounting fear that after about one year of anxious waiting for the election of officers to pilot the affairs of the Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organisation (LACMO) for the next four years, the election may be marred by speculated imposition of candidate and domination of key offices by a certain deanery.

This is as the outgoing president of the organisation, Mr John Aigbokhaode, has cautioned members who are interested in elective positions and deaneries who want their members to occupy strategic offices to adhere strictly to the provisions of LACMO constitution.

LACMON Extraordinary General meeting for Elections has been scheduled for Saturday, 28th September, 2019 at St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Ikeja.  Starting with Mass by 10am, the meeting is to be hosted by the Vicar, Msgr. John K Aniagwu.

A notice released by the public Relations Officer of the organisation, Mr Uchenna Ezeoke, “Each Deanery is expected to participate with 10 delegates only, for the elections. A list of the delegates should be forwarded to the secretariat of the ADC CMO endorsed by the Deanery Coordinator and Chaplain, in the Deanery’s headed paper on or before Sunday 22nd of September, 2019.”

“Please note that delegates whose names have been submitted cannot be swapped. The Deanery will have to make do with the remaining delegates in case of the absence of a nominated delegate,” he went further to worn.

It will be recalled that the election which was to hold late last year was postponed due to tensions generated by speculated imposition of key officers by some influential individuals in the organisation and hijacking of key offices by Maryland Deanery which has produced all serving Presidents of the Organisation since inception.

This allegedly led to a hasty review of the constitution of the organisation a few weeks to the scheduled election in 2018; an action firmly resisted by some key individuals and deaneries led by Isolo and Apapa Deaneries. Isolo Deanery is reputed to be the most populous deanery in the Archdiocese with 17 parishes.

It was the tension generated by these allegations in 2018 that led to the extension of the tenure of office of the John Aigbokhaode led administration by one year in order to quell the ensued tension.

With the election rescheduled for September 28, 2019, nothing seem to have changes as the fears that marred the 2018 election seem to have resurrected.

Although secret alignments, horse-trading among individuals and deaneries; and campaigns have been going on, open campaign of bitterness, rancour and acrimony came into manifestation on the popular Catholic Men Community social media platform, recently, prompting some words of caution from the President, Mr John Aigbokhaode.

His words: “My attention was drawn on Saturday to some postings on this platform and I had to call the authors privately and counsel them against such post. However, by yesterday evening when I returned to the platform I was amazed by the degree of degeneration I met with some bordering on blasphemy. 

“I am surprised that because of our desire to have it our way, we chose to rubbish the integrity and reputations of those we elected to serve us in the EXCO of LACMON. They’re no longer people with any level of responsibilities but those who either misinform or just take dictation from the Chaplain.

“This platform is for passing information and Shall NEVER replace the official meeting and communication channels of CMON. Where decisions of an organisation are not in line with your expectations, you turn to your representatives for explanations. The statements being posted here indicates that such has not been done. Every leader present in the last EXCO meeting will feel insulted by the kind of language and postings I have been reading.

“CMON is not a political or cultural organisation. There are provisions in our constitution that guides activities of the EXCO and there are provisions that empower the Chaplain and the Archbishop. When we speak without looking at those provisions we are campaigning, and that is not allowed on this platform.

“If you want to query the decisions reached please follow the right channels. If you want to Campaign please go and create your own platform because we will remove anyone that brings up that issue here again. 

“Election dates have been fixed and there’s no official communication from the EXCO giving any list of Candidates or barring any one from contesting. Similarly, it will be irresponsible of any leadership of an Organisation of this nature if they don’t have an idea of the kind of people they want to see as their leaders. Anyone is free to aspire to lead an organisation, and should therefore put machinery in place to satisfy their ambitions. Nothing the EXCO has done that prohibit this.

“But know it that this platform is not available for campaign or as an alternative to our Parish, Deanery, Archdiocese EXCO and General Meetings and we will remove anyone that decides to turn it to such,” the President cautioned.

Although some deaneries are maintaining that the Presidency of the organisation should be zoned to them, Mr Aigbokhaode maintains that the man who would be intrusted with piloting the affairs of the organisation must be “A level-headed person who is as soft as wool and tough as steel. He must be a stinker for good corporate Governance. We must continue to practice it at the centre and enforce it down the hierarchy.”

Reacting to the confusion and bickering that trails CMO elections, former National President of the organisation, Chief Ernest Emeka Asoegwu said, “This has to do with the nature of the persons in office, the way they think and reason. Any right thinking person that finds himself in a position of leadership should see it as an opportunity to serve and it is an opportunity that rarely comes twice. The first things that should occupy the minds of leaders are why they are in office and what legacies they would leave behind. A leader who leaves office should be remembered for the right reasons.”

“But most times what is noticed is that many leaders when they are about leaving offices would want to impose their friends on the organisation as leaders, many of whom would not be able to perform. But if an incumbent allows the people to choose the best among them, some of those challenges will not be there. All the bickering – wrangling, backbiting, squabbling – that go on with elections are natural. It happened even among the apostles of Christ when they talked about who was the greatest. Every leader must remember that verse of the Bible that admonishes that to be a leader one must be a servant.

“Any leader who sees himself a servant would not want to do anything wrong or commit any fraud while in office. Fraud does not always have to do with misappropriation of funds, but may involve stepping on toes, breaking of laws, amending the constitutions to favour preferred candidates etc. All these are fraudulent activities. Hastily amend the constitution on election guidelines when a leader is about leaving office is fraudulent. A leader who is leaving office can draw his guidelines and make recommendations on constitution amendment in his hand over notes for incoming administration to consider, but not hastily implementing it. Any leader who sees the need for constitution amendment while in office should start the process early enough and not at the tail-end of his administration. That leads to suspicion and confusion,” Chief Asoegwu went further to say..

He enjoined members to always endeavour to choose the right candidates for any given position.

“A man who cannot move himself cannot move others. A good leader must have the drive to create programmes that will touch the lives of members positively. Ones record of achievements at the parish level is what should be considered when selecting him for an office at the deaneries; and up to dioceses and provinces,” he stated.

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