Source: nigeriafilms.com
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Members of the Actors' Guild of Nigeria (AGN) are poised for a final showdown with the reported sack of its president, Ejike Asiegbu.

The Board of Trustees headed by Prince Ifeanyi Dike on Tuesday in Lagos announced a National Caretaker Committee headed by another actor, Mr. Hakeem Rahman.

Asiegbu on his part has described the constitution of the committee as illegal as "well as an insult on the intelligence of all actors in the country. How can a board that has been suspended have powers to inaugurate a caretaker committee?"

Dike while inaugurating the committee said the Board of Trustees made up of Okey McAnthony, Emma Ogugua, Murphy Stephens and Sonny McDon, as an advisory body of the actors guild, has decided to implement the decision of the Conference of Chairmen who reportedly impeached Asiegbu some time ago. "We cannot watch while the association is heading for disaster without doing nothing. Asiegbu has been giving enough time to respond to the allegations leveled against him by majority of the state chapter chairmen. Rather he chose to make arrests, calling us all sorts of name. I want to state here that the Board of Trustees has nothing against Ejike, but we want to use this medium to say that no one is bigger than the guild. From the look of things, Ejike has been sending out signals that he is bigger than the guild. In the light of that, the board has no other choice than to endorse the decision of the Conference of Chairmen who impeached him out of office in accordance with the constitution of the guild."

Hakeem Rahman in his inaugural speech pledged to take the guild to its enviable height within the seven months period he is to serve. "This event today heralds a new beginning for a guild which few months ago was almost choked by dictatorial menace and unimaginable tyranny.

"I therefore, on behalf of my self and my team: Mr. Roy Mog Appiah, the national secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Okhikhu, a member and others, thank the Conference of Chairman under the leadership of Chief (Dr.) Remmy Ohajianya for finding us worthy of giving the guild a new lease of life and the registered Board of Trustees of the Actors Guild of Nigeria under the dynamic and pragmatic leadership of Prince Ifeanyi Dike for heeding to the voice of the people."

Rahman said the committee is not unaware of the "damage the recent fracas may have caused the guild hence, we use this auspicious opportunity to call on all genuinely aggrieved members to sheath their swords for the interest of the guild through which destiny has brought together. Most part of the crises could be blamed on the insensitivity of the previous administration to heed the call of members for a holistic review of the guild's constitution hence, I hereby, without delay, announce the names of a constitution review committee that will be headed by veteran actor, Pete Edochie."

Other members of the Constitution Review Committee as announced by Rahman are: Mr. Paul Supreano-Secretary, Ambassador Olusegun Olusola-member, Mr. Larry Koldsweat-member, Mr. Livingstone Egbe-member, Mrs. Taiwo Ajayi Lycett-member, Mallam Mai Bukar Jaitmaii.

"All state chapters are hereby expected to make representations through a referendum to the committee to help in fashioning a way forward for the guild. It is our sincere belief that the members of the committee will see this as a trust bestowed on them and work tireless at ensuring that they come up with a new constitution in the next three months."

An electoral committee that will prepare the guild for next year's elections, Rahman said, would soon be inaugurated "after the constitution is reviewed, ratified, ratified and adopted."

The welfare and interest of the members and the backlog of potential members alike, Rahman said, is the priority of the Caretaker Committee, "hence, we hereby slash the price of membership registration forms from N10, 000 as instituted by the last administration to N3, 000 and that of ID card from N1, 500 to N500 respectively, this is in accordance to the provisions of the constitution.

"We are aware that of recent, there has been a number of advertorials and personality interviews on some television stations of late by the former president with the aim of misleading members and the general public. In as much as we do not want to join issues with him, it is our sincere belief that he will stop forth with such actions, as this administration will not condone any act of adult rascality or delinquency from any member."

The actor said "Mr. Ejike Asiegbu was not only impeached but long expelled from the guild following his dictatorial and undemocratic culture vis-à-vis his announcement of the purported suspension of the guild's constitution and dissolution of the Conference of Chairmen and the registered Board of Trustees of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, and he remains expelled, thus anybody dealing with in from hence forth does so at his or her own peril."

Asiegbu on his part declared the purported National Caretaker Committee as illegal "and the suspended Board of Trustees have no locus standi to put in place any committee be it caretaker or not. Members of the board are discredited members of AGN, they were unanimously suspended some couple months ago, so is the Conference of Chairmen that I set up for administrative convenience; and the National Executive Committee have since dissolved when it was discovered that they were deviating from their set objectives. The case as I speak is at Alagbon (police division) and the Inspector General of Police is aware of the case, so whatever is done while the police is still investigating the matter is illegal and unconstitutional. I remain the president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, and that is the true position."

Critics of the sector are of the belief that the recent developments appear to be the final showdown in the lingering crisis that started about three months ago.

It began with what many described as clash of interest between Asiegbu and chairman of Lagos State chapter of the guild, Chief Ohajianya. Ohajianya was reportedly sacked by the national executive committee. He did not take the decision lying low. He ran to the Board of Trustees who tried to mediate on the matter but Asiegbu stood his ground claiming that allegations of massive fraud was proven against him.

Thus the titanic battle began. When the dust eventually settles, everyone would no doubt know his territory.