Congress Chief Whip Reinstated as Congressman loses his seat

In an interesting turn of events at the third emergency meeting of the UIMSA Congress, the recently ousted Chief Whip has been reinstated. Hon. Oforibika had been removed from her position as Chief Whip following the recommendations of the ad hoc disciplinary committee which the Congress adopted in the preceding emergency meeting. However, the Congress Chancellor explained that the Congress had been in violation of Article XVIII, 6b of the UIMSA constitution which expressly states that “the Chief Whip shall be removed from office by a two-third majority vote of the entire membership of the Congress present at a meeting and that the voting shall be by secret ballot”.

Accordingly, an initial voting procedure was held, and 60% of the house voted that the Chief Whip be removed. Hon. Oniyide however raised an observation that not all congressmen and congresswomen present in the meeting had voted. Another voting procedure took place and 63% of the house voted for the Chief Whip’s removal. Thus, the Congress Chief Whip, Hon. Offorburika was reinstated by the Chancellor.

Meanwhile, a congressman representing the 300 level constituency has lost his seat. Hon. Chikere had earlier been referred to the ad hoc disciplinary committee for violating the Standing Order of the Congress; SOD 1(b): “The office of the Chancellor is inviolate and shall be respected by all” and SOD 1(f): “Except by the Chancellor’s authority, no congressman or congresswoman may stand. No congressman or congresswoman shall speak except at the instance of the Chancellor. A congressman or congresswoman wishing to speak shall indicate by the show of the hand”. The committee recommended that Hon. Chikere pay a fine of two thousand naira and address a letter of apology to the Congress Chancellor and all congressmen and congresswomen to be published on all notice boards of the association.

In a poorly written response which the disciplinary committee found elusive and unremorseful, Hon. Chikere accused the “former disgraced Chief Whip” of falsehood, assassination of character and disrespect. He explained that he had been approached and rudely spoken to by the Chief Whip at the previous meeting and that she had lied to the house that he said he had come to challenge the dress code of the Congress. He claimed that “the whole house knew that Hon. Offorburika had proven to be a person of unreliable character”. He also alleged that the Congress Chancellor had violated his human right of freedom from torture by subjecting him to standing behind everybody at the meeting for almost seven hours.

Several members of the Congress expressed shock at the contents of the letter. Hon. Olorunfemi recommended that the Congress take stern disciplinary action up to the said congressman losing his seat. While the issue was being deliberated, Hon. Chikere interrupted the Chancellor numerous times. The Chancellor stated that Hon. Chikere should not be in the meeting since a disciplinary issue concerning him was being deliberated. Hon. Chikere thereafter left the meeting.

Following the incredulous behaviour of an honourable member of the Congress, Hon. Eriobuna suggested that the state of his mental health be looked into, and welfare be provided as his actions did not seem normal. Several congressmen and congresswomen agreed and the Chancellor concluded that the members of Hon. Chikere’s constituency especially the class representative look into the state of his mental health and get back to him.

Hon. Obeya moved a motion that Hon. Chikere be unseated and a letter of information detailing the events leading to his removal sent to his constituency. The motion was seconded and the Congress voted in favour of Hon. Chikere’s removal from the Congress. The Chancellor then reminded the Congress that they had sworn to uphold the UIMSA constitution and the Standing Order of the Congress and should do so at all times. He also said that as UIMSA was the foremost medical students’ association in sub-Saharan Africa, the standard must not be allowed to fall.

Other issues discussed at the meeting include; the report of the ad hoc committee on challenges faced by the UIMSA Press bodies, the presentation of the constitution review committee, members of the association who had not paid the professional levy as exams were looming and the Congress Leadership’s negligence concerning sending out formal notices of Congress meetings and disseminating the resolutions of Congress meetings. The Chancellor also read out the apology of the Congress leadership for the unavailability of the attendance record of the first ordinary meeting. Mr David Babalola observed that the letter was elusive by stating that “… this was not in any way due to negligence on the part of the leadership”. The Chancellor noted his observation and stated that the letter of apology would be amended and sent to all constituencies of the association. The virtual meeting which commenced a few minutes after 10 am was adjourned at 4:05 pm.

Aisha Ibrahim

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