Barely five months to another general election of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, the battle to succeed Ibinabo Fiberesima as president of the Guild hots up.
Ibinabo’s administration which assumed office in 2012, is expected to expire in September this year. Already, the atmosphere is tense as some members are warming up to challenge the fair actress, in her bid to seek re-election. Notable among the members, is Clarion Chukwura, who recently declared her intention to vie for the guild’s top position.
In a recent report, the veteran actress scored Ibinabo’s administration ‘zero’, maintaining that “I cannot see what it is she has achieved in the past 19 months.” But, it was actor Emeka Ike, who has been laying claim to the presidency of the guild since 2009, that first fired back at Chukwura. He said, given the circumstances that brought Ibinabo to power, after Segun Arinze, as the former president of the guild breached the court order not to conduct any election, ‘Chukwura is not eligible to contest in any election considering the matter on ground.”
Meanwhile, two former presidents of the guild, Ejike Asiegbu and Segun Arinze have thrown their weights behind Ibinabo’s re-election. In a telephone chat with WG during the week, Ejike Asiegbu said, “She’s doing very well. I will continue to support Ibinabo. We should pray for her as well as give her our support.”
Scoring Ibinabo’s administration very high, the bulky actor frowned at Clarion Chukwura’s incessant criticisms of the leadership of the guild. Reacting in respect of her recent attack on the leadership of the guild, Asiegbu revealed that when he was the president of the guild, the same Chukwura did not spare him.
“On the issue of criticising the incumbent president, when I was the president of AGN, the same Clarion Chukwura criticised me. She has the right to contest for the presidency of the guild. But she should do so without pulling another person down. I read with great disappointment, Clarion Chukwura’s recent attack on the leadership of AGN. There’s nothing wrong in paying a courtesy visit to Mr. President. It’s a plus on the part of Ibinabo and her executives. When I was the president of the guild, I made efforts to visit Mr. President to no avail.”
“However, it’s a minus on the part of Clarion Chukwura, having used the pages of newspapers to run down the leadership of the guild,” Asiegbu stated.
Ibinabo’s predecessor, Segun Arinze said, he’s strongly in support of the re-election of the Rivers State-born actress.
According to him, “I am strongly behind Ibinabo. She should vie for her second tenure in order to complete what she has started 19 months ago.”
Arinze, however, advised Ibinabo to be focused on her goals, and ignore any form of distraction. He said, “I am not against anybody criticising the leadership of the guild, but they should do so constructively.”
Also, Prince Ifeanyi Dike, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of AGN believed that Ibinabo should seek for re-election. In his view, as the first female president of the guild, Ibinabo has not only succeeded in uniting the actors since she assumed office 19 months ago, but has also ensured that peace reigns in the guild which had been plagued with crises for several years.
Recently, Ibinabo took stock of her stewardship, where she has put smiles on the faces of members of the guild through her open door policies and re-structural developments. She has also restored sanity in the body which was once riddled with complaints, corruption, neglect and dejection.
Ibinabo was sworn- in as the first female president and the 7th president of AGN in September 2012, which had herself, Emeka Rollas and Steve Eboh as contestants for exalted office. She started by bringing unity and a sense of participation among its members with seminars, workshops and above all, celebrating some of their own who had made the industry proud.
She also ensured that their departed colleagues were all duly honoured even in death. One of such persons is veteran actor, Peter Eneh. She led a group of movie stars to the tribute night which turned out to be a carnival night of celebrations.
Notably, Ibinabo’s tenure drew the attention of the Nigerian government to Nollywood as uncountable are the numerous rewards the AGN has been getting from President Goodluck Jonathan lately, ranging from donations to grants. Recently, she led a group of movie actors to Aso Rock to honour President Goodluck Jonathan with the title of Grand Patron of AGN. During the visit, Mr President donated a plot of land for the building of the guild’s secretariat in Abuja and promised to assist them in building a befitting secretariat.
Ibinabo who was recently appointed into the board of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), has also bridged the gap between the English and Yoruba actors to a reasonable extent as she not only attends most events organised by Yourba actors, she also includes them as part of her delegation whenever the need arises. However, despites the achievements recorded by her administration in the past 19 months, most industry operators believed that Ibinabo is using her position to advance her own interest.
While describing Ibinabo’s tenure as ‘a failed one’, Clarion Chukwura accused AGN boss of using her position to enrich herself. “I want to know what specifically she has done that has moved the actors forward in areas like their pay, health, and other vital concerns about their jobs. She secured an appointment to see the President on behalf of the guild but that opportunity was sacrificed on the alter of selfish interest and myopic objectives which has for a while now heightened the selfish interest in the state chapter levels.”
Source: Vanguard NGR