Constitution

by Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi

Constitution of Igbo Union in Finland

PREAMBLE:

We the members of Igbo Union Finland

Having firmly and solemnly resolve, to exist in unity and harmony as one indivisible and reputable organization under Igbo Union Finland, dedicated to the promotion of Igbo solidarity, Member co-operation and appreciation and promotion of Igbo cultural values

And to provide for a Constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all members in our union, on the principles of freedom, equality and justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our Union in Finland

Do hereby make, enact and give to ourselves the following Constitution:


Article 1. Name and Domicile of the Association


The name of the Association shall be called IGBO UNION in Finland Ry (aka – Nzuko ndi Igbo). The Association is domiciled in Helsinki, Finland.



Article 1.1 Status of the Union.

The Ibo Union has the status of legal person and is subject to the jurisdiction and protection of the laws of Finland. All of its activities shall be governed by the Finnish laws in accordance with the laws and regulations concerning the registration of an association.



Article 1.2. Language:

The meeting shall have Igbo as its language of deliberation, though English language can be used for its minutes.



Article 2. Aims and Objectives:

a) The aim of the Association is to facilitate contacts and to promote cultural interaction and understanding among members.
b) The objective of the Association is to work for the peace and progress of Igbos and their families in Finland. This is to be accomplished through:-
i) Promoting the spirit of togetherness and brotherhood among Igbos and their families through social/cultural interactions.
ii) Serving as the umbrella organization under which Igbo men, women and children may come together in achieving the common goal of understanding and self help.
iii) Keeping alive Igbo traditions and customs as celebrated in our rich festivals and cultural institutions.
iv) Encouraging and when possible assisting Igbos in legitimate business or in promoting cultural activities.
v) Promoting the teaching of Igbo language and culture to our children and to other interested people (e.g. Finns).
vi) Discouraging acrimony between Igbos and their families by outsiders.
vii) Fostering cultural understanding between Igbo, and people from other nationalities through the promotion of cultural exchange.
viii) Joining with world Igbo organizations in the promotion of Igbo cause.

In order to meet these aims and objectives, the Union shall organize cultural happenings, meetings, lectures, discussions, information exchange and excursions. It shall also give useful and practical advice or information to Finns and Igbos in their interactions. The Union shall be an Independent, non-political, non-profit seeking organization.
In seeking to support its activities, the Union may receive donations and legacies on different types of social occasions (happenings).



Article 3. Memberships:

The membership of Ibo Union shall be open to all Igbo indigenes resident in Finland. Membership can also be extended to persons or individuals, who by the implication of mixed marriages, has an either Ibo father or Ibo mother. Non-Ibos, who may wish to be members of the Union, either by interest or by marriage shall be granted limited membership. Such membership shall only be on the capacity of an observatory status, without voting rights, and with minimum benefits, as may be agreed upon by the decision of the members in a general meeting. And whereas there shall be no general meeting, either for one reason or the other, such decision shall be made by the Executive Board.



Article 3.1 Registration:

Intending member must duly fill in the required membership form to express his/her willingness to joining the Union. A member is required to pay his/her registration fee as well as other dues like
monthly/annual dues or any other dues approved by the general assembly.



Article 3.2 Membership Dues:

Registration and yearly membership fee shall be decided during the Union’s annual meeting. Registration fee is paid once, while Annual due varies from year to year as may be accepted by the majority during the general Assembly.
Annual dues can be paid either in whole or installment basis as may be desired by such member, but shall be completed by mid year of the accounting period. If for some reason(s) where a member can not meet up the dead line and supported with adequate explanation to the Executive Board, such member may be granted an extension not more than two months to complete such dues.



Article 3.3 Other Dues:

Members of Ibo Union are obliged to honor other dues generally accepted by the house, which for some reason are deemed necessary for the execution of unforeseen duties which may arise from time to time. Donations are also welcomed for the support of project, or related issues of interest.

Article 3.4 Non-Financial member:
A member shall be considered to be inactive/non-financial member of the Union if he or she has not paid the membership fees or other dues within one year after the expiring date.



Article 3.5 Resignation/Termination of Membership:

A member, either with full membership or with limited membership, has the right to resign his/her membership. Such member can do so either by informing the Executive committee or by announcing his/her resignation at the general meeting. Such resignation can also be put in writing and shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.



Article 3.6 Dismissal/Suspension/Expulsion:

The Executive Board reserves the right to dismiss a member from the Union or its activities if he or she has left his or her obligations such as annual dues unpaid for a period of over two calendar years after payment deadline, or if he or she do not fulfill the obligations that he or she is bound as a member when joining the union, or if he or she, by his or her actions within the union or in public place, greatly damages the reputation or image of the union, by one way or the other, as can be verified or established, either by evidence, or by facts, and not by “hearsay” , or if he or she no longer meets the requirements for membership without convincing arguments or reasons, as laid down in the rules and regulations of the union.

A member may be suspended or expelled on account of poor behavior or for not abiding by the rules of the Union. The decision to expel or suspend a member shall rest on the majority’s resolution during the Union’s meeting.



Article 3.7 Right to Appeal:

A dismissed member has the right to appeal, and can do so by writing to the general assembly. In hearing such an appeal, the meeting shall elect or appoint a board to re-investigate his or her case and make due and unbiased recommendations. The dismissed member shall be present to hear his or her verdict, and where he or she can not be present for reasons beyond his or her control, he or she shall put in writing his or her grievances, and in his or her absence, he or she can appoint a union member of his or her choice to stand on his or her behalf.



Article 3.8 Re-admittance of Ex-member:

Dismissed or suspended member of the Union, who after due consideration given another opportunity may be re-admitted to the Ibo Union. Such member must have demonstrated his or her change in behavior through an open statement to the general house, or must have fulfilled those obligations required by him or her.



Article 4. Meetings and Invitation to meetings:

The Union shall have at least six meetings in a calendar year, (i.e. every second month) unless otherwise directed by the Executive Board or Emergency meeting called or “unofficially” requested by any member of the Union due to ceremonial reasons, grief or other reasons due to unforeseen circumstances. Such meeting request shall be honored by the members of the Union.



Article 4.1 Invitation:

The Union Secretary or any other person in charge shall send meeting circular to registered members either in writing (e.g. Snail mail, email), by text messages or phone calls two weeks before such general meeting. Agenda for meetings shall be attached when sending circular.

Any member of the Union with good article for discussion may send such topic to the Executive committee to be added in the agenda for deliberations during the meeting.

Emergency meetings or any other form of meetings requiring urgency can be communicated through SMS messages or email without long time notice as the case maybe.



Article 4.2 End of the year Meeting:

In the Union’s end of the year meeting, the following matters shall be handled:
1. Chairman’s opening of the meeting and end of the year report.
2. Financial Secretary end of the year report.
3. Auditors report to the general house
4. In case whereby there was an election of new board, such elected officers shall resume offices by the next calendar year (January).
5. The Union shall have a Christmas Party (Pikku Joulu).




Article 5 Voting and Voting Right:

At the Union meeting, every financial member has the right to vie for position or vote. Each member is entitled to one vote.
Decision shall be made, if not ordered otherwise in this constitution, by the simple majority rule.
In case where votes are tied during the Union’s election, this shall be resolved by lot.



Article 6 Executive Board:

The Union activities shall be directed by the Executive board which is elected bi-annually.

The Executive board shall be made up of:
i) The Chairman
ii) Vice Chairman
iii) Secretary
iv) Financial/Treasurer
v) Director of Socials



Article 6.1 Chairman:

The affairs of the Union shall be headed by the Chairman. The Unions Chairman shall posses the quality of good leadership. He or she will be able to take control and co-ordinate other members of the Executive as well as the general house. He or she shall be able be focused, organized, be able to run the affairs of the Union without fear or favor. He chairs the Executive board as well as the general Assembly. Though he reserves the right to appoint any member of the house to chair any gathering. The Chairman will be deputized by the Vice Chairman. The executive committee forms a quorum when the chairman or vice-chairman and two other members are present.



Article 6.2 Vice Chairman:

In absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman shall call for an executive meeting or general meeting when he/she consider it necessary or when any other member of the executive demand so.



Article 6.3 Secretary:

The union Secretary shall be responsible for the writing of minutes of all meetings whether on Executive or in a general Assembly level. He or she shall keep and maintain all official records concerning the Union. He or she shall be conversant with the rules and regulation at all time and read or interpret such rule when the need arises. The Secretary will summon meetings or gatherings of any such with directives coming from the Chairman or the Vice Chairman. In absence of both the Chairman and the Vice, the Secretary takes the podium to chair the meeting.
In absence of the Secretary, the Financial Secretary will act in taking the minutes of the meeting. The Secretary will be a committed member as he or she is the eye of the Union. The success of the union largely rests on the input of the Secretary.



Article 6.4 Financial/Treasurer:

The Financial activities of the Union shall be recorded and saved by the Financial Secretary. He or she shall in addition be the treasurer for the Union. He or she shall be able to maintain a good record book, where all financial matters are entered for reference purposes when needed. He or she shall as well keep receipts of all purchases, record all dues received, payments made as well as fines collected, or any other monies received or levied for whatever purpose(s). He or she shall be accountable to the Chairman on the financial position of the Union. He or she shall be able to present to the house at any meeting the financial statement of the Union. Three weeks to the end of the years general meeting, the Financial Secretary should prepare his record book for the Auditor for clarifications.



Article 6.5 Director of Socials:

He or she shall be in charge of all social activities of the Union. Whenever the union engages in any kind of social performance/activity, he or she shall head the committee for various duties assigned to them. Such events like; parties, refreshment during meetings, child birth of a member, marriage, wedding or any other kind of social event. He or she shall keep good account of material or items meant for the Union.



Article 7 Signatories:

The chairman, the Secretary and the Financial/Treasurer are entitled to Union’s account signatory. At least two out the three can make a withdrawal on behalf of the Union.



Article 8 Accounting and Auditing:

The Union’s audit period is one calendar year.

Balanced accounts with required documents and an annual report of the executive committee shall be submitted to the auditors at least three weeks before the end of the years meeting
.

The auditors shall give their written report to the general house on the last meeting of the calendar year.