CORA-Arterial Nigeria, the Nigeria National Chapter of Arterial Network, a continental advocacy organisation, held its elective congress in Lagos at the weekend, with veteran journalist and cultural administrator, Jahman Oladejo Anikulapo being re-elected for another two-year term as chairperson of the National Steering Committee.
The congress, attended by individual and institutional members in the cultural sector from across the nation, was held on Sunday September 13 at the White Space Creative Agency, Lagos, with the primary objective of conducting election to usher in new set of officials to direct the affairs of the organisation for another two-year.
The meeting started with the National Coordinator, Ayo Ganiu, running through a brief history of CORA-Arterial Nigeria and the activities of the 2014/2015 calendar year which include the Artwatch workshop in Lagos and the Art Fundraising workshops in Lagos and Abuja respectively.
“Our agenda at this meeting therefore, is simply threefold: to conclude arrangement on our participation at the African Creative Economy Conference in Cameroun, to deliberate on strategies to employ for membership drive and commitment to the network, and of course, to elect officers to replace the incumbent as members of the National Steering Committee” he explained.
Prior to the election proper, Jahman, who became chairperson in 2013 by virtue of a memorandum of understanding signed between CORA (Committee for Relevant Art) and Arterial, informed the general assembly of his courtesy visit to the continental office in Jo’burg and their directives as it relates to the election.
“The continental office is unapologetically interested in a gender balanced executive and so as we nominate and vote for officials into vacant positions today, we must bear this in mind. We have also been advised to avoid limiting the network to Lagos and in view of this, we have created two positions. These are, FCT and Port Harcourt representatives respectively” he said.
The general assembly then settled down to the business of electing its steering committee members, with the National Coordinator, Ayo Ganiu and the CEO of Hoofbeatdotcom, Simbo Olorunfemi as returning officers.
In the end, against his expectation, having said earlier in one of his speeches that “I am your chairperson for only one minute more”, Mr. Jahman Oladejo Anikulopo was nominated for a second term of two years as chairperson of Arterial Nigeria’s National Steering Committee. His nomination was unanimously seconded by all the participants in attendance, leaving no room for election as he was returned unopposed.
The former editor of The Guardian’s Saturday life has been a constant voice in the cultural sector in the last three decades, advocating for what one would be tempted to describe as the ‘right of the art and artists in Nigeria.
As represented by his acceptance speech on behalf of all elected officers, it became evident that Jahman’s focus would be in growing the organisation in terms of numerical strength and the richness of its programming which is expected to impact positively on the cultural sector in Nigeria and across the continent.
He said “I asked my colleagues at the last meeting what we have done. It appeared like we haven’t achieved so much other than the fact that the weight of our sensitisation and advocacy in the cultural sector is being felt and it is encouraging. We have a lot to do. It is fortuitous that we were re-elected. We’ll do a little more in terms of building on what we already have on ground.”
He added that while it will be good to have huge numbers, he was more interested in active, useful membership. “The continental body is looking up to us to take leadership of the network, especially in the West African region, but we are not stabilised yet. So, we need to generate ideas for programmes that could bring us all together and catapult us to that enviable position as a leading light in the continent. We have what it takes to achieve this if we are committed to this cause.”
Other members elected into the National Steering Committee are, Yeye Bolanle Olatunde (newly elected) as Deputy Chairperson, Sola Alamutu as Treasurer (re-elected), Deji Etiwe as Financial Secretary (re-elected), Samuel Osaze as Media and Communications Officer (formerly Cultural Policy Officer), Malaika Toyo as Cultural Policy Officer (formerly Media and Communications Officer), Victor Nwokocha as Port Harcourt representative and Jerry Adesewo as FCT representative respectively.


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