The immediate past chairman of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Abuja chapter, Halima Usman has been re-elected for another two years in office.
At the elective convention of the association in Abuja on Saturday, Usman stood as a lone contestant for office of the association’s chairman.
She along with seven others were first elected to pilot the affairs of the association in April 2018 for two years.
The outbreak of COVID-19 had caused a delay in the convention/election of the chapter for a new leadership.
While expressing gratitude to the chapter for confidence reposed in her, she also thanked the immediate past members of the exco for their co-operation, commitment and support during their first tenure
Delivering her acceptance speech, she pointed out that the anthology project of the chapter known as ANAthology, Dr. Timothy Okon Poetry Prize, a project targeted at harnessing young talents in the literary world and others stalled as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 are cardinal as her second term commences.
She listed as top her achievements membership registration and update, electronic payment of dues to engender accountability, upsurge in the chapter’s membership strength and literary outreaches.
Usman further highlighted that within the first term of her administration, ANA Abuja struck partnership with notable organizations to boost its potency as a foremost literary group in the FCT, urging the new exco to consolidate on such contacts.
“Our many courtesy calls have yielded opportunities for collaborations with Universities and organizations such as Base University, Nile University, NTA, NAPTIP, Savanah Suites Hotel, FCT Council for Art among others. These are opportunities we hope the next set of executive will build upon to ensure we keep the vibrancy of ANA Abuja” she added.
Reminiscing on the journey so far, she said ANA Abuja under her leadership has achieved stability and recorded a significant milestone in the once turbulent chapter chapter
“The journey of the FCT Chapter of ANA from the time we took over as some of you are aware, was first that of survival from early internment. Many of you will recall that the chapter was at the brink of collapse when we took over. There were very limited activities; membership turnout at readings was very low, dues were not being paid except during conventions, and infighting and rancour that almost snuffed life out of the Association.
“Therefore, our first assignment was a rescue mission as I stated in my acceptance speech after the election and to the glory of God and with the support of all of you, we can boast of ANA Abuja and celebrate many milestones recorded within the period under review” she said.
She further decried inactive participation of members in activities of the chapter, non payment of dues and funding, saying these are key among the challenges encountered in the first tenure of her administration.
“As a chapter, one of our major challenge is the non-active participation of members during readings and other activities. Over the years under review, there was no meeting were we recorded 50% attendance of members not even during our virtual meetings. Though we have seen significant improvement in this aspect, and there is still room for improvement. We therefore call on all members to please, be physically active and that in the best way they can offer advice or suggestions that can improve the Association.
“Though again, there has been some improvement here, the need for members to be committed and ensure the timely payment of their annual dues between January to March cannot be over emphasized. To run any organisation, funding is required and though the N5,000 membership dues is still very small to enable the association carry out its many projects, we plead with members to please take this serious and work toward ensuring their dues are paid within January to March to enable good planning and effective execution of our various activities.
“There are many activities which the Association planned to undertake but funding constrained has hindered it. To enable the Association to take its pride of place among other Associations in Nigeria, it needs to be properly funded. Again, I call on members who can fund or have contact with such donor organizations to please support the workings of the ANA Abuja either through direct individual sponsorship or through their contacts.”
Usman emphasized that the issue of a permanent secretariat is one that poses a challenge to the smooth operation of the chapter.
According to the chairman, the secretariat has become important for contact purpose and also help in effectively running the Association.
She expressed dissatisfaction that all official meetings of the chapter, including sensitive ones are held in public places, which she described as very inconveniencing.
The newly re-elected chairman called on members who have apartments that can serve as a temporary contact address for the authors’ body to donate same while it awaits the completion of Writers Village expected to serve as permanent address.
Others elected to pilot the affairs of the chapter along with Usman include, Anthony Onugba who emerged the vice chairman, Eze Collins Ofoma as the Secretary and Friday Onah who was re-elected as assistant secretary.
The rest include the former financial secretary of the chapter, Iorter Peter who emerged the new publicity secretary, Comfort Chenge as treasurer, Godwin Ajema as the financial secretary and Charles Iwuchukwu who was also re-elected as the legal adviser.