The Pharmaceutical Socierty of Nigeria, PSN, has dissolved the Ebonyi State Branch Executive Council, owing to what it described as “gross breach of both the bye-law of the state branch and the overriding national constitution of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria”.
In a letter signed by the PSN President, Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, addressed to Pharm. (Dr) Collete Elechi, the Ebonyi State PSN chairman, it was alleged that Elechi has perpetuated herself in office four years after the expiration of her tenure, having refused to conduct election and hand over to new executives.
Ohuabunwa said: “The current state executive Council whose tenure has long expired, is hereby dissolved with immediate effect. A caretaker committee is appointed as follows: Pharm. Bernard Anasi –Chairman; Pharm. Chioma Okonkwo-Secretary; Pharm. Eunice Igboko –Treasurer; Pharm. Christopher Okoh -Financial Secretary; and Pharm Ejike Eziefulu –PRO”.
Ohuabunwa further observed the absent of the state executives from national council meetings and other activities of the Society since the crises began 4 years ago.
He explained how the Secretary of the state branch, Pharm. Ndukwe Okoro, had petitioned the national executive council of the PSN over the dormancy of the branch along with conflict of members with the chairman, which had deteriorate beyond the control of the state executives.
The PSN President also narrated efforts made by the national executive council to reach the state chairman and resolve all pending issues but they were all futile as he alleged the indifference of Elechi to the issues raised against her.
Thus he has directed her to hand over all assets and liabilities of the association to the caretaker committee along with a report your stewardship since 2014;
He has also mandated the committee to reconcile all factions of the Society in the state and to conduct an election as stipulated by PSN Constitution and the Ebonyi State bye Laws within 90 days from the date on the letter, which was Wednesday 14 July, 2020.
When Pharm. Elechi was contacted by Pharmanewsonline on the several allegations raised against her, she declined making any comment as she said: “I don’t have any comment on it”.
The letter reads in part:
“Your Executive was elected into office in 2014 and according to the State bye-law 2000, Section 10, subsection (a), the maximum tenure of your executive council, which is two years expired in 2016 (about 4 years ago).
“Since then the Branch went into crises and became virtually absent in National Council meetings and other activities of the Society.
“Thereafter all appeals for you to conduct elections and hand over to a new Executive were discounted and when we noted your bereavement in 2018, we decided to allow you overcome your grief and go through the mourning period before intervening in this gross breach of both the bye-law of the state branch and the overriding national constitution of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).
“In 2019, a petition was received from Pharmacist Ndukwe Okoro who has been the Secretary of the branch and a member of the executive council. In the said petition, he complained that the EBONYI State chapter had become dormant as meetings were no longer held regularly and that most of the officers of the branch were at logger heads with the Chairman, and that indeed the branch was in disarray.
“This petition was presented to both the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Council of the PSN in the meeting held on the 5th of February 2020. There after a fact finding panel led by me was mandated to go and find out what is the problem in EBONYI State and to take necessary actions to return the state to constitutional governance;
“You and members of your executive council and other members of the EBONYI State PSN were duly informed of the visit of the panel I was leading to the State to find a peaceful resolution of the impasse in the state. We arrived on the 13th of March, 2020 and met with members of Ebonyi State PSN, including many mem-bers of your executive council. But you decided to ignore the invitation and paid no respect to the fact that the President of the Society was visiting the state to see things for himself;
“Despite the insult you inflicted on the panel, we tried to reach you. Since you did not want to come to us, after traveling all the way from the national office in Lagos to Abakiliki, we determined to get to you where you were. After several determined efforts you gave us an appointment to meet you at a farm out of town at 8pm.Despite the danger involved, we took the risk to trace you to the location you had indicated. When we arrived in the pitch darkness, you were not there. We waited outside for you for more than 30 minutes before you arrived.
“We explained to you that we were peace makers and that was why we swallowed our pride and have risked our lives to come to meet with you at such inauspicious location and time and despite your strenuous efforts to frustrate the meeting. We explained our mission and told you what our conclusions were after meeting with other Stakeholders in the EBONYI PSN.
“We agreed that you had exceeded your tenure grossly but did not want to invoke the constitution without hearing from you. After a long and sometimes heated discussions, we agreed that a new election should be held before end of April, 2020. And that we would appoint a neutral electoral committee from the Council of PSN so as to remove bias and contention given that the branch was already divided;
“Subsequently; we appointed a three-man electoral committee with Pharm Pat Obi (Chairman, PSN Anambra State Branch), Pharm Festus Ejiekpe (Chairman PSN Enugu State Branch) and Pharm Ikenna Mbata (Secretary PSN, Imo State Branch) to liaise with you and then Director of Pharmaceutical Services (DPS) of the EBONYI State Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to organize a free and fair election. Copies of the appointment of the committee and its mandate were sent to.
“We are deeply pained that you have consistently refused to cooperate with the committee to carry out its assignment. They informed you of their planned visit to Ebonyi state to work with you and others to determine when the elections could hold. You threatened to arrest them if they came to Abakiliki. And when they ignored your threat and visited earlier today, 14th July, 2020, you used your famed ‘connections’ to drive them out of town.
“It has therefore become abundantly clear that you are determined to continue to run the Ebonyi State branch illegally and render the branch inoperative. And since we are sworn to protect the constitution of the PSN and are empowered by both NEC and Council to take all necessary actions to protect the integrity and ensure the orderly progress of the Society”.