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Alleged corruption: ADF expels its Ex-President, Uzodimma Nwala

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The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) has expelled its immediate past president, Professor Uzodimma Nwala, over alleged corruption and abuse privileges.

Recall that the ADF had earlier this month elected Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie, former ASUU president, as new president of ADF to replace Nwala who had spent 10 years as president of the organisation.

However, it was alleged that Nwala who didn’t want to leave his position as president, started instigating crisis in the organisation.

As a fallout from the crisis, the organisation announced his expulsion in a statement by Abia Onyike, its National Secretary, and Chukwuemeka Obinwugo, its National Publicity Secretary, made available to Business Hallmark on Monday.

The organisation noted that Prof. Nwala “decided to throw decorum and etiquette to the winds. He preferred to dance naked in the market place at such an advanced age of 83 years, after presiding over the affairs of the Organization for ten years.”

Among others, the organisation said members in various petitions accused Nwala of diversion of funds realized from the Aku Ruo Ulo Fundraising organized at LillyGate Hotels, Lekki Phase One, Lagos on 24 September, 2021; Conversion of the ten plot size ADF Farm at Ezinihitte Mbaise where ADF funds were sunk into his private farm estate; Misappropriation of ADF funds through frequent unilateral/unauthorized withdrawals into his personal bank accounts and Unilateral inauguration of ADF Youth League without the approval and endorsement of the Council and appropriate organs of ADF and his continuous deployment of the Youth cadres as his personal militia targeted against other members of ADF and for his personal aggrandizement.

He was also accused Nwala of “ceaseless and vicious acerbic attacks and verbal vituperations and slanderous publications against prominent ADF members, including but not limited to the Chairman, BOT, Bishop Onubogu, Mrs. Marie Okwor, Prof. Nath Aniekwu and several others, including the use of mischievous campaigns of calumny to malign and denigrate ADF members at will.”

It said Nwala “was also accused of harbouring a criminal ambition of being the life President of ADF while creating confusion amongst members. This amounts to political corruption and abuse of office. It is also on record that he unilaterally removed an elected National Officer of ADF, the most respected former Vice President, Prof. Elochukwu Amucheazi whom he tried to replace with someone else after collecting money upfront.

“Nwala was accused of using his office to extort money from unsuspecting members of the public by selling the ADF Council Membership to the highest bidders.

“Nwala owes ADF huge sums as he has not accounted for several ADF books which he sold and pocketed the funds.”

The statement in full:

THE NEW LEADERSHIP OF ADF CANNOT BE DISTRACTED: ALAIGBO MUST FORGE AHEAD.

 

1. BACKGROUND TO THE CURRENT SITUATION.

Our attention has been drawn to some false impressions being created by some sections of the media that there is a crisis in ALAIGBO Development Foundation(ADF).

We, the undersigned leaders of ADF wish to make some clarifications and to properly throw some light on the true situation of things.

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For quite sometime now, the former President of Alaigbo Development Foundation, Prof. Timothy Uzodinma Nwala decided to throw decorum and etiquette to the winds. He preferred to dance naked in the market place at such an advanced age of 83 years, after presiding over the affairs of the Organization for ten years.

2. MICRO-MANAGING ADF AND RUNNING IT AS A SOLE ADMINISTRATOR.

Prof. Nwala was elected as President of ADF in March, 2014 and was re-elected again in 2018. He spent a total of 10 years in office. However, several members of the organization had complained bitterly about Nwala’s autocratic and dictatorial style of leadership. Over one year ago, all the officers who were elected with the former President had deserted him because of his lack of consultation with fellow Executive Council Members.The last time a Council meeting was held was on 13th June, 2023. The meeting was rancorous and Nwala lost control of the organization in terms of leadership. Members had been fed up as allegations of corruption against Nwala reigned supreme. The Council unanimously decided that a Panel be set up to probe Nwala’s excesses in office. A Conflict Resolution Committee(CRC)was eventually set up with the Chairman of ADF Board of Trustees(BOT), Bishop Obi Onubogu as Chairman of the Committee. The Committee could not take off immediately because the Chairman travelled out of the country for medical checkup. However, by 12th December, 2023, the CRC began sitting.

3. ALLEGATIONS AGAINST NWALA.

The CRC was inundated with petitions from several ADF members bordering on allegations of financial impropriety, corrupt practices, one man dictatorship in running ADF and particularly his strategy of
refusing to work with the elected officials of the Organization, especially, the Secretary, Treasurer and Financial Secretary. Some of the allegations included:

i. The diversion of funds realized from the Aku Ruo Ulo Fundraising organized at LillyGate Hotels, Lekki Phase One, Lagos on 24 September, 2021.

ii. Conversion of the ten plot size ADF Farm at Ezinihitte Mbaise where ADF funds were sunk into his private farm estate.

iii. Misappropriation of ADF funds through frequent unilateral/unauthorized withdrawals into his personal bank accounts.

iv. Unilateral inauguration of ADF Youth League without the approval and endorsement of the Council and appropriate organs of ADF and his continuous deployment of the Youth cadres as his personal militia targeted against other members of ADF and for his personal aggrandizement.

v. Nwala was accused of ceaseless and vicious acerbic attacks and verbal vituperations and slanderous publications against prominent ADF members, including but not limited to the Chairman, BOT, Bishop Onubogu, Mrs. Marie Okwor, Prof. Nath Aniekwu and several others, including the use of mischievous campaigns of calumny to malign and denigrate ADF members at will.

vi. Nwala was also accused of harbouring a criminal ambition of being the life President of ADF while creating confusion amongst members. This amounts to political corruption and abuse of office. It is also on record that he unilaterally removed an elected National Officer of ADF, the most respected former Vice President, Prof. Elochukwu Amucheazi whom he tried to replace with someone else after collecting money upfront.

vii. Nwala was accused of using his office to extort money from unsuspecting members of the public by selling the ADF Council Membership to the highest bidders.
viii. Nwala owes ADF huge sums as he has not accounted for several ADF books which he sold and pocketed the funds.

4. REPORT OF CRC AND NWALA’s INDICTMENT.

On the 20th of January, 2024, the CRC met with Prof. Nwala and those who petitioned against him. A programme of Transition was drawn up and presented to the two parties as both parties ( Prof Nwala and the Petitioners) agreed that early transition to a new leadership was all that was required to unite all and douse the tension.. The presentation was done by Prof Barth Nnaji, in his residence in Enugu. Take note that Prof. Nnaji’s Residence was the place ADF was formed in March, 2014.
Top on the agenda was the ADF election scheduled for 14th March, 2024. But Nwala started absenting himself from subsequent meetings of the CRC including the scheduled meeting of 15th February, 2024 when the CRC presented its report to a joint sitting of the Working Committee, Council, BOT and Elders Committee. Nwala, sensing a possible indictment indictment started calling illegal CWC and Council meetings demanding that the report of the CRC be presented at the meetings for him to act as a Judge in his own case.
Nwala had earlier boycotted the first meeting when the report of a-3 man Committee that investigated his financial allegations against some members and those against him was to be presented to the whole CRC. This report which was eventually presented found his allegations as frivolous and unsubstantiated whereas he was found guilty of many infractions that were both constitutional and administrative.
The report recommended that he apologize for his misdeeds on that day..The committee held that if he apologized,he should be given soft landing by pardoning him as the pioneer President. Because of this indictment,Prof Nwala declared war against the CRC, realising that he could not control the Committee. One of the ways he wanted to control and muzzle the CRC was by his mischievous act of invading their inaugural meeting without invitation on 12th December, 2023 and by demanding that the CRC availed him with all the petitions on advance for him to decide which should be considered by the Committee and by ensuring that ADF made no fund or materials available to the committee for their assignment.

5. HOW NWALA PARTED WAYS WITH ADF ELDERS.
When the initial date for the ADF Elections slated for 14th March, 2024 drew near, the BOT and Elders Committee of ADF decided to finally wade into the matter to avoid a division in ADF. The Elders met and resolved that Nwala and the ADF members opposed to his tenure elongation should steer a middle course for the preservation of the unity of ADF. They put forward a new date of 6th April, 2024 which Nwala accepted. All the parties were eventually persuaded to accept the date of 6th April, 2024. Note that this new date was against the earlier date of 14th March agreed to by the Petitioners and Prof. Nwala at the meeting of 20th January, 2024 in the house of Prof. Barth Nnaji.
The minutes of this meeting is available for public scrutiny. It was when Nwala started his antics of wanting to divide ADF that the Elders waded into the matter to satisfy Nwala and he eventually agreed to the 6th April, 2024 date for the Election against the desire of the Petitioners but the Petitioners because of their apparent desire for peace accepted the adjustment.

Shortly after that, Prof. Nwala in one of his postings stated that the election has been fixed for 16th of April, 2024 and even queried the already agreed venue of the proposed election.. However, when the Elders promptly insisted that the date was 6th April and not 16th April, Prof. Nwala came back to inform them that his daughter was to have her Traditional Wedding on the 6th of April, 2024. That was another great ploy to frustrate the election. However, the Elders decided to give him another benefit of doubt by agreeing to move the date of the Election to another new date of 11th April, 2024. It was then that Prof. Nwala proposed a joint BOT, CWC, Council meeting(Congress) to be held to fine-tune the Election process and that the meeting had to be by zoom instead of physical presence by qualified members..
When Nwala proposed this meeting, there was opposition from members on who should chair the meeting,
; who would admit people into the zoom meeting and who would permit people to talk and so forth and so on.
Based on the experience we had on the 13th of June, 2023 during the last Council meeting presided over by Nwala which almost ended up in fisticuffs, members called on the Elders to work out how the meeting would be conducted to allow for full participation by all who were qualified to attend the meeting and to ensure that people were not shut out by not being allowed to speak during the meeting. The fears of members were genuine because Nwala had the penchant of removing from the ADF Platform any one who expressed divergent opinion from his or had cause to disagree with him on any matter.
The Elders, after thorough deliberations called on Prof. Nwala to put his proposed zoom meeting on hold to give them time to work out modalities for conducting the zoom/physical meeting to ensure full participation by all. This decision was communicated to Prof Nwala orally and in writing by the Chairman of the Elders Forum, HRM Amb. Dr. L. O. C. Agubuzu, the Chairman of the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers . Prof. Nwala rebuffed this advice which was aimed at carrying everyone along. He ignored the suggestion and went ahead with his zoom meeting and later issued a Communique insulting the Elders and even announcing the dissolution of all ADF organs and structures and appointed a Transition Committee with himself as the Chairman and his Personal Assistant as the Secretary.

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Note that on 28th March, 2024, even before Nwala’s stage-managed and illegal Congress Zoom meeting, the 10 members of the ADF Executive (those who should be administering ADF with him) passed a VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE on him. Among the grounds for the “Vote of No Confidence” were:
i. Prof. Nwala was running ADF as a SOLE ADMINISTRATOR.
ii. Secondly, Nwala was using his unelected PA to summon meetings of the statutory organs of ADF, contrary to the provisions of the ADF Constitution which invests the power to summon meetings on the office of the National Secretary, on the advice of the National President.

By his recalcitrant actions,Prof Nwala saw himself as ADF and ADF as NWALA and that he was the ALPHA and OMEGA of ADF.

Having dissolved all the organs of ADF following his orchestrated Congress, according to his pronouncements on 4th April, 2024, Prof. Nwala unwittingly ceased to be the ADF President as the Exco was part of the organs he pronounced dissolved. It was based on this development that the Elders of ADF directed that the election of 6th April, 2024 should proceed unhindered and the directive was carried out.

6. ELECTION OF NEW NATIONAL OFFICERS.

The Election of 6th April, 2024 was lawfully, orderly and peacefully conducted and a new Executive Council led by the ADF new President, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie was elected. A formal letter was written to the former President, Nwala to hand over to the new leadership of ADF. Up till now, Prof. Nwala is yet to acknowledge the receipt of the letter.

7. EXPULSION OF UZODINMA NWALA FROM ADF.

Based on the foregoing cumulative acts of lawlessness, gross misconduct, financial recklessness and massive corruption, insult of founders and leaders of ADF, including the audacity to suspend and invite to his so-called disciplinary committee, the newly elected Executive members, the revered Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and the Chairman of ADF BOARD OF TRUSTEES, BISHOP OBI ONUBOGU, it has become imperative that ADF can no longer tolerate nor stomach his crude idiosyncracies.
Consequently therefore, and in compliance with the Constitution of ADF, Prof Uzodinma Nwala is hereby EXPELLED from ADF with immediate effect. Let him come to terms with the fact that ADF is not his personal or private property. He will remain expelled untill he shows remorse for his gross misconduct and acts unbecoming of an educated and refined fellow. Whatever happens, he must be held to account for his 10-year stewardship in ADF.

Abia Onyike,
National Secretary, ADF.

Chukwuemeka Obinwugo,
National Publicity Secretary, ADF.

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