‘Nollywood’ has been registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office, three times now, by a person in Washington State, USA since 2012, who is looking to have ‘Nollywood’ approved as a trademark. I don’t see the designated leaders or members of the Nollywood’s film industry having an outcry and nipping the nonsense in the ikebe. In fact, the fact has flown over their heads. *Sigh* Instead, we have this ugly squabble.
Ibinabo Fiberesima is the current President of the Actor’s Guild of Nigeria (AGN). Clarion Chukwurah is a member of the AGN. In my last posting about these two, I couldn’t understand why Fiberesima bothered responding to Chukwurah’s alleged allegations of Fiberesima misleading the AGN. Fiberesima’s letter was so lengthy and I just thought the two ladies needed to move on with life, or get one. Well, in response to Fiberesima’s letter, Chukwurah has responded in an alleged interview with the Punch Newspaper where she allegedly claims that the AGN constitution prohibits an ex-convict from becoming President. The excerpts of her alleged interview say it all. As if to give her extra boost, some of the state heads are calling for the resignation of Fiberesima under the same grounds.
1) Didn’t this organizational body know about the very public conviction of Fiberesima before voting her into office?
2) Are there exceptions carved out in the AGN constitution that provides for a person like Ibinabo to still be President?
3) It appears there is a lot of water under the bridge with what occurred under the Segun Arinze led leadership of which Ibinabo Fiberesima opposed. Perhaps those issues need to be sorted out?
I agree that if the constitution is clear that an ex-convict cannot be President of the AGN, then Ibinabo needs to step down, effective immediately. However, most laws give room for amendments in certain instances. So, perhaps knowing the full language of this law that Chukwurah is citing will be helpful .
The bottom line is that in spite of whatever the book says, there are many, for reasons known to them, that don’t like Fiberesima. For Fiberesima, she has to decide if all of these gripe is worth the extra headache. I have found that sometimes, walking away from things that other people feel so emotionally connected to when all you are trying to do is help make a difference, can be the best thing ever for your pocket book, name and emotional well being. Is this really worth all the headache?
Chukwurah’s Alleged Statements:
“. . . Earlier in the week, through an open letter, Ibinabo Fibresima had reacted to Clarion Chukwurah’s allegations that she wasn’t fit to run the Actors Guild of Nigeria. Ibinabo in the letter, said she didn’t want to exchange words with Clarion but had to eventually do so because, “As President, I should be seen to be uniting members of the Guild and not causing disaffection, as your unfortunate outburst set out to do.”
However, Clarion has refused to allow Ibinabo to have the final words as she fired back, reiterating her earlier remarks while adding some other issues in an exclusive chat with Saturday Beats.
Clarion said, “I am not on the same level with Ibinabo Fibresima professionally, educationally or in any other form. I find that she is deliberately misleading the public and wanting to push the issues at stake under the table with her so-called open letter. I will not allow her to do that.”
Clarion insisted that apart from not being educationally qualified, being an ex-convict disqualified Ibinabo from being the president of AGN.
“Item ‘U’ of the electoral guideline of AGN disqualified her. No convicted person can stand for election in any post. She was convicted for manslaughter and she was given a jail sentence which she served. There is a court injunction stopping Ibinabo from parading herself as the AGN president. This is the copy of the judgment. I have it. Manslaughter has no option of fine. Her sentence was reduced from seven years to five years and we all know she went to jail. The judgment reads in part, ‘there is proof that she drove recklessly and caused the death of Dr. Sura Giwa contrary to the road traffic laws of Lagos State.’ She was drunk. How could this person be the face of AGN?”
Clarion said she was shocked that President Goodluck Jonathan recognised and welcomed Ibinabo as president of AGN when she visited Aso Rock recently.
“The court injunction of 2011 and 2013 was forwarded to the presidency. The criminal conviction of manslaughter was sent to the presidency. The president is supposed to be a symbol of the supremacy of the rule of law. He disregarded the law in recognising Ibinabo as president of AGN. The president is now saying there is no law in this country. So the AGN has become an ethnic grouping. This is a professional body of actors. It is not a Niger Delta solidarity platform,” she said.
The actress said she wouldn’t have joined Ibinabo’s party to Aso Rock even if she had invited her, saying, “Some actors have even explained to me why they followed her. They said they were taken there on a fraudulent arrangement for her to use and get what she wanted. Would she really have approached me for a thing like that? . . .”
–The Punch Newspaper has the full story.
Press Statement for AGN Heads
[A]GN Conference of Chairmen Secretary Toelrating and concealing convict Ms Ibinabor Fiberisima and her cohorts as they parade themselves as custodians of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, make us culpable of housing criminals and helping them to pervert justice, says the secretary of conference of AGN chairmen in Nigeria, Comrade Dayo Onibiyo, who is also the chairman of Kwara State Chapter of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). It is unfortunate that every attempt to get this industry on the right track has been thwarted by criminals who don’t have regard for the laws of the land. How can artists who should be communication and education agents be the breakers of the law?
Convict Ms Ibinabor Fiberisma ran away from her criminal conviction and with the same brazen disregard led the AGN BOT and her so-called executives to go against two court orders. The secretariat of the Conference of Chairmen submit that convict Ms Ibinabor Fiberisma is supposed to have served in prison for five (5) years for killing a medical doctor in person of late Dr Suraj Giwa whom she murdered wastefully through reckless driving when suspectedly returning from a nite club, drunk, a woman who is supposed to be a mother of three or four and remain a fugitive from justice. So what message is the Nigerian artist’ community sending to the world? AGN cannot and will not be led by a convict, especially not an unrepentatnt one at that. The bible said it all, when the righteous rules…now when a manslaughterer rules, what happens?
We are saying it loud and clear that convict, Ms Ibinabor Fiberisima’s image is a bad one for AGN and negates the integrity of this reputable guild of professionals, a gross misrepresentation of peole like Olu Jacobs, Larry Williams, Sadiq Daba, Joke Silva, Pete Edochie, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Richard Mofe Damijo to mention but a few, and they are all watching these evils being perpetrated. We at our level at the conference of Chairmen of AGN are winning the war already , the evil cannot last forever, this canker worm cannot continue to eat AGN, those in authority are listening and our fast and prayers are working already because their camps are crumbling daily. We will soon have men and women of integrity in position so that AGN can smile again. We are also calling on our veterans and past Presidents to rise to the occasion of rebuilding AGN.
It is in view of the judgment by Hon. Justice J T Tosho of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday 26th of October, 2011 which Ibinabor Fiberisima and her cohorts disregarded with impunity, that we as law abiding citizens, responsible artists, educated people and future protecting Nigerians who are State Chapter Chairmen in the Conference of Chairmen of AGN are reviewing the proposed June 2014 National elections of AGN slated for Abuja and for which an electoral panel has been instituted, decided put the election on hold to deliberate further on the way forward, but in the meantime, we reiterate that convict Ms Ibinabor Fibersima is not AGN President, she is simply an impostor.
We are also investigating unconfirmed claims that Fiberisima Ibinabor is using militants to threaten people, calling the name of Tom Ateke as her cousin or tribes man and we wonder what militants have got to do with AGN? We wish to make it clear that the AGN headquarters is in Lagos and not in the creeks, and as such we may be forced to report the matter to OPC, APC, Egbesu and Nwazurike if the allegation is true and if Government fails to protect our people everywhere, particularly in Lagos. We will not be threatened by sectionalization or ethnicilization of the subject of unconstitutional compromises in our guild from any quarters, no matter how high. For the Board of Trustees, we have long said it, that they have overstayed and their tenure expired.
This, we consider as the major reason why they are supporting all these ungodly acts of illegality and are hell bent on suppressing the constitution. Whoever is feeding fat on AGN will soon purge all they have illegally acquired and by God Almighty’s grace, they will go lean soon as the ordinary Nigerian screen actors assume their rightful position. The time has come for the right reasoning to prevail.”