… Says ANA Lagos Failed To Execute A Successful Convention
… Conventions Incurring Debts For The Association – ANA President
The president of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) National, Mallam Denja Abdullahi, has vetoed the decision on the non-subsidisation of the association’s convention.
Abdullahi said the decision was reached owing to the failure of its Lagos branch to execute a successful convention, and in view of the association’s conventions long history of incurring heavy debts for the body.
The president spoke in response to media’s query why some members of the association were stranded for over five hours before given accommodation at 3am the next day. This is in spite of pre-registration efforts made available this time to avoid the recurrence of accommodation travails. The convention further witnessed the cancellation of a few activities including a breakfast and trip tour of the Lagos Bar Beach.
He blamed the subsidised nature of the association’s convention, and the unpreparedness and lack of state support of the convention.
With over 100 members attending the convention, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chairman, Akinyade Adeoya, claimed he never saw the attendance list of members, and the fact that the state had stated an initial agreement to make available 100 rooms for the event.
“I still cannot tell the number of people at the convention. I had to start booking hotel rooms afresh on evening of 25th. This is not the first time that this has happened. It happens at every other ANA convention, except where the state government accepts to take social responsibility to host us.”
Countering Adeoya’s statement, Abdullahi said he had kept the branch informed on the list and number of members attending, three months, and two days before the convention. He also noted that every state knew what it meant to host a convention, prior to bidding for rights of hosting.
“I gave them the current rate and figures, and that we would require about a hundred and fifty rooms for the convention to run successfully. They provided a hundred rooms, out of which they took about 25 rooms for the chapter, leaving us with 75 rooms.”
However, both Abdullahi and Adeoya faulted the antiquated ANA structure which encouraged members to enjoy at conventions comforts way above their payments. A pleasure, Abdullahi said leaves the national executives with overwhelming, near-court driven debts.
“What members pay for the convention is not sustainable. Members pay N10 to N15,000 for accommodation, food and convention materials. A room in Lagos is not less than N10, 000, and they stay for three nights and have convention materials – ANA magazine, annual publication, membership dues etc.”
“Nationals balance up, because members’ attendance of the convention is heavily subsidised. If the states do not get support from government, we are in trouble; and so in Lagos State, where the branch association didn’t get any support from the state, ANA national balances up. Monies paid by members to the national, were used in booking the hall, print materials, and accommodation and that cannot run a three-night convention. The problem is simple and pure mathematics. People pay N2m to run a convention that costs N15m. So, where does the balance come from?” Abdullahi passionately queried.
Apparently, the accumulation of debts by the association has been a long running tradition. It is a normalised occurrence, that led to detainment of ANA members from check-out in hotels in 2011, after they had incurred a debt of over N290, 000; and in 2011 with an incurred debt of N1.5m, and an Abuja Convention that incurred a debt of N500, 000, the latter situation leading to near-lawsuits and the sack of hotel personnel.
Abdullahi further admitted that state governments and incumbents rescinding, reduced and/or late release of pledged financial support, as in the notorious Abuja and Uyo State chapters conventions among others, are regular occurrences, which affects the annual event.
“ANA has to rejig the way the convention is planned. And the only way hope for relief, is to insist that from next convention, members start taking care of their accommodations. I will insist that from next year, ANA is not going to fund anybody’s accommodation. If they refuse, I will use my veto power to implement it. That is the legacy I am going to leave behind,” said Abdullahi. And so, he did.
“I think members should be made aware before the convention and given the prices of these hotels so they can make their choices, and either pay directly to the hotel, or to the local committee in charge to book the accommodation. ANA needs to review a lot of things, and we need to discuss them in this convention’s Annual General Meeting AGM.” concluded Adeoya whose three hotels were offered without pay by the branch to absorb ANA members.
Meantime, activities at the Opening Ceremony, and the NLNG N2m funded convention play held successfully on the 26th to the delight of the members and participants.
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