By Tochi Onyeubi
Cllr. Anna Mbachu- Ogbuebile, Councillor London Borough of Waltham Forest and practising clinician with the National Health Service London, has stood her ground to insist on due process and transparency in leadership, even in the face of a gang up against her.
This is coming after a tribal coup orchestrated by aggrieved Nigerian councillors from the Yoruba extraction and three Igbo councillors, Cllr. Kate Anolue and Cllr. Nneka Keazor both from Nanka- Anambra State and Cllr. Favour Ifedi from Mbaise Imo State, failed, in a seemingly plot remove her, the first Igbo councillor to hold the position of chairman since the Association was formed in 2010.
It was reported that since creation of the Association of British Nigeria Councillors United Kingdom, ABNCUK, the former chairman, Mr Adedamola Aminu, held sway for 9 years, even when he was deselected as a councillor in his borough in 2018, he remained in office till 2019 as against the constitution which allows for maximum of two years and maximum of four years term.
The constitution also stipulate that only sitting Councillors can hold office, vote and be voted for but in this case, the former chairman stayed in office past the 4 years maximum term, even when he was no longer a councillor.
Further investigations revealed that, in August 2019 a new chairman took position but resigned his position on the 17th of August 2020 due to internal wrangling, paving way for his vice chairman, Cllr. Anna Mbachu Ogbuebile to assume position.
Speaking with the Publicity Secretary, Cllr. Taslim Gbaja-Biamila who informed that the ratification of Chairman from Vice Chairman position took place on the 9th of October 2020 during an emergency general meeting which was well attended by Nigerian Councillors all through UK, where they passed a vote of confidence, pledging maximum support for Cllr. Mbachu Ogbuebile.
Giving a brief profile of the chairman, the Publicity Secretary CllrTaslim Gbaja-Biamila said the Imo born, London based, Cllr. Anna Mbachu-Ogbuebile ventured into the male dominated UK politics, has been a councillor since 2006.
According to him, she is a trail blazer who became the first female black woman to assume the position of a Mayor in London Borough of Waltham Forest, First Igbo woman Mayor in London and has held various leadership positions.
Ranging from being in the leadership team as a junior cabinet member to chairing various Scrutiny position and Deputy Leader of the association.
She is also a senior practicing clinician with NHS, a philanthropist who supports number of charities both here in UK and outside of UK.
Her new executives are, Vice Chair: Cllr. Oluwole Adegboyega (B. & Dagenham), Secretary: Cllr. Tubo Uranta (Milton Keynes), Sect: Cllr Leslie Ayoola (Nottingham City), Project Secretary: Cllr. Gloria Opara (Medway), Publicity Sec: Cllr. T.O.S Gbaja-Biamila (Hurley Parish Council), Treasurer: Cllr. Victoria Obase (Tower Hamlet)
Ever since Councillor Anna Mbachu assumed office, Cllr Gbaja-Bamila noted, the once moribund organization was moved from being just a What’s App forum organization to an official organization through the introduction of formality, bringing the association into 21st century.
Since her assumption as the chairman of the association, she has introduced progressive ways to move the Association forward with her current executive. Chief among was the creation of a functional and formal Email, Twitter Handle @abncuk, Facebook: Association of British Nigeria Councillors UK, Website and Association Bank Account.
Cllr. Mbachu who wondered why the aggrieved councillors were averse to these changes, insisted that the right thing must be done especially in the use of technological and digital platforms to aid prompt communication.
A seasoned politician married with children, one of whom became the youngest councillor in her borough.
Some Igbo leaders have waded into the conflict and has made efforts to reach the people involved.
Efforts have also been made to reach some Yoruba Leaders in the UK to find ways to end this impasse.