For being short-changed by the African Union (AU), Nigeria’s Chief Charles Okereke, publisher of Nigeria/Africa Masterweb has petitioned President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, requesting an investigation on how the AU denied him what was due to him.
According to Okereke, the African Union commission had in 2003 organised three prestigious and honourable competitions for the best symbols of the AU. He said these include the best Anthem, best flag and best logo constitution.
Okereke said he entered for the competition and submitted his anthem composition "God Bless Africa" to the commission of the African Union.
"On 23/9/2004, Alpha Oumar Kanare, Chairperson of African Union Commission, wrote to notify me that the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government voted my anthem composition third in the Anthem category," he said.
Speaking on he said, "The first and second alleged winners did not duly enter for the competition as required by the rules. The second alleged winner is one of the judges of the pre-selection and is, therefore, prohibited by the rules of national justice from being a judge in his own case.
Okereke alleged that the first and second winners of the competitions were not publicly played back for assessment by the judges, adding that his work was the only composition voted upon by the judges.
"Despite all these, I was denied the award which I clearly won," he said in his petition to President Yar’Adua, stressing that the president must use his office to ensure that Nigeria’s hard earned honour must not be directed to another member state.
He said the rules of the competitions were not adhered to because according to him, winners were to be presented to the AU assembly but that was not done. "Something went terribly wrong with the competition and it should be investigated," he said.
Okereke in his petition to the president pleaded that among other things, his song "God Bless Africa, be given its rightful winning place; first position in the competition, and his short payment of $4,000.00 paid to him. He said he was paid $3000.00 for the third place instead of $7000.00 for first place.
That "God Bless Africa" be adopted as the official AU anthem unless the AU Assembly feels otherwise; that the song by the competition judge that was placed second be disqualified. He stressed that it is conflict of interest for a competition judge to be declared winner in the same competition he served as a judge.
He also appealed that all winners in the three categories, flag, logo and anthem as determined by the judges be duly compensated and scheduled to meet the AU Assembly. This he said is in compliance with the rules of the competition.