ASIMPIN INSISTS BIOMETRICS POLICY WILL AUTHENTICATE MEMBERSHIP RECORD
** Proscribes Elders’ Forum
By Mcanthony Onuoha
Association of Igbo Maritime Practitioners in Nigeria- ASIMPIN has reiterated the importance of its biometrics policy.
The apex Igbo maritime body, speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Obicee Okonkwo on Tuesday in a press conference that was well attended by media practitioners, explained that the idea of biometrics was to have a database of its membership, authenticate its records nationwide and also give every bonafide member a genuine identification card which would also serve as voter’s card during its elections.
ASIMPIN executive led by the Secretary- General, Prince Okey Egbuchulam, National Publicity Secretary (NPS) Dr.Obicee Okonkwo and Senior Special Assistant to the President General on media, Comrade Godfrey Emeka Nwosu, disclosed to newsmen that the ASIMPIN executive had contracted a private company to carry out the biometrics capturing for its members and executives and had gone ahead to distribute forms to the respective chapters to be obtained with the sum of N1,000 only before biometrics capturing.
According to the General Secretary, Prince Okey Egbuchulam, ” in September 2022, we had a NEC meeting at Villa Park Hotel in Lagos and we decided to conduct elections. However, to curb the fraudulent practice of which candidates imported non-Igbos and non- members just for the sake of voting; we agreed that ASIMPIN’s Electoral Committee (ASIMPEC) would only be inaugurated after the biometrics and membership forms from respective chapters have been completed”.
” Subsequently, we printed forms and distributed them to all the Chapters ; but no Chapter has been able to register one member. No one has gotten back to us that any single member has registered. We need the Chapters to fully register their members before we arrange for the private company to do the biometrics. The private company we contracted for this biometrics has been calling us repeatedly but we keep telling them to hold on”.
Meanwhile, the proscribed ASIMPIN Elders’ Forum had in one of its press briefings alleged that the biometrics capturing and manual registration of members were fashioned to manipulate the electoral process. But the executive members at the press briefing, described the allegation as hollow, saying that it was targeted at rubbishing the good intentions of the PG; and went ahead to explain that both activities would ensure transparency and authenticate membership data.
Meanwhile, ASIMPIN leadership has proscribed Elders’ Forum, describing it as an illegitimate platform not recognized by the ASIMPIN constitution. At the press briefing, the apex Igbo maritime body distanced itself from the elders’ group accusing them of rebellion.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of ASIMPIN, Dr. Obicee Okonkwo, ” one must first be a member of a Chapter before laying claim of being a member of the whole body. You can verify from the ASIMPIN constitution and other legitimate members of the association if there is any provision for Elders’ Forum in the constitution because there is nothing like that. So before we begin to interrogate what these individuals said, we should note that they had no right to speak in any capacity on behalf of ASIMPIN”.
Dr. Obicee Okonkwo, who dismissed the relevance of Elders’ Forum with the wave of hand insisted that since they can not identify any chapter where their membership is domiciled and where they pay their dues and levies as financially up to date members, they have no locus standi to come up with any statement bordering on ASIMPIN and its leadership.
However, the President General of ASIMPIN, His Royal Majesty Eze Amb. Damian Obianigwe had last week proscribed Elders’ Forum, saying that it was not recognized by the constitution of ASIMPIN. The PG subsequently approved “Elders Committee” which he said would exist as a standing committee with Chief Dike Austin Kelly as its Chairman.
The PG’s decision was informed by the rebellious action taken by five members of the proscribed Elders’ Forum. The elders who converged at a venue to conduct what Chief Kelly described as a “kangaroo election” where they announced his removal as Chairman of Elders’ Forum and threatened to instigate the removal of the National Executive of ASIMPIN if elections are not conducted anytime soon.
The Elders’ Forum before its proscription elected Chief Boniface Okoye (Bontex) as Chairman while Chief Osita Chukwu was elected as Secretary.
At the press conference, the National Publicity Secretary of ASIMPIN, Dr. Obicee Okonkwo cited Article 7, Section B of the Association’s constitution which reads thus, ” MODE OF ELECTION: The mode of election into any office of ASIMPIN shall be by secret ballot. The National Executive shall be by collegiate while Chapter executives shall be elected by all Chapter registered financially up to date members”.
The NPS further explained that going by the constitution, fresh national elections would be conducted after the chapter elections are held, adding that interested aspirants must be members of a Chapter; and financially up to date.