We, the indigenes of Plateau State, Nigeria, resident in the United States of America, fully aware of our privileged positions, and our responsibilities to each other, and to our brothers and sisters back in Nigeria, driven by a desire to create a positive environment for ourselves and our families, dedicated to advancing the educational and economic well-being, and promoting the social and cultural values of Plateau state, come together in this association to work towards uniting all indigenes of Plateau State, for the purpose of realizing all our stipulated objectives.
ARTICLE I - NAME, LOCATION, PURPOSE
Section 1: Name. The name of the organization shall be Plateau State Association USA, Inc.
Section 2: Location. The principal location of the association shall be in Maryland, USA. Plateau State Association USA, Inc. shall also have branches known as chapters located in other states of the US and any other location outside of the USA.
Section 3: Purpose. The Plateau State Association is a non-political, non-religious association, organized exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes, more specifically to engage in education, health, social and economic development activities for the poor, disabled and underprivileged both in Plateau State of Nigeria and the United States of America.
ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP, REGISTRATION FEES, ANNUAL DUES AND MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS
Section 1: Membership shall be open to all indigenes of Plateau State and their spouses resident in the US irrespective of the spouse’s state of origin.
Section 2: Application for membership shall be done individually by completing a membership application form accompanied by a non-refundable registration fee of U$20.
Section 3: Membership Registration Fees will be a one time non-refundable fee of $20.
Section 4: Annual dues shall be $10 per month or $100 per year for each individual member.
Section 5: Eligibility for Membership Benefits. Each member shall be eligible to receive benefits from the association if s/he has paid the one time registration fee, is up to date with payment of annual dues and has attended at least two-thirds (2/3) of the general meetings held a year.
Section 6: Membership Benefits. Member benefits shall include access to moral, technical and financial assistance, useful information and accessibility to other relevant resources whenever the need for the benefits arise that include but not limited to the following:
- Participation in the Association’s health insurance plan.
- Welfare assistance from other members such as monetary or other kinds of donations in an event of an emergent need such as a disability, a six-month unemployment period etc.
- Special Circumstance Assistance such as any of the following:
- Births – $100
- Graduation – $50
- Weddings – $200
- Sickness/Disabilities – visitation with card and flower.
- Deaths – in the immediate family of an eligible member that includes spouse, children, parents – $250
- Relocation back to Nigeria – $100
ARTICLE III – GENERAL, EMERGENCY AND ANNUAL MEETINGS
Section 1: General Meetings. The general meetings of the association shall be held bi-monthly on the last Saturday of every other month.
Section 2: Emergency Meetings. Emergency meetings shall include all meetings other than the general and annual meetings. The President, EXCO or two-third (2/3) majority of all members may call emergency meetings at any time for any purpose(s). A notice of such a meeting shall state the purpose of the meeting to the General Secretary.
Section 3: Annual Meetings. The association shall hold an annual meeting every last Saturday of August.
Section 4: Notice of Meetings. Notice of each meeting shall be given to each eligible member three days in advance via telephone, fax, email or any other accepted mode of communication.
Section 5: Place of General and Emergency Meetings. General and emergency meetings shall be held at a member’s house or any other venue as provided by a member(s).
Section 6: Meeting Quorum. General meeting – a simple majority of all registered members is required to form a quorum for a general meeting to convene. Emergency meeting – a two-third (2/3) majority of all registered members is required to form a quorum for an emergency meeting to convene.
ARTICLE IV – CONVENTIONS, ELECTIONS AND VOTING
Section 1: Convention. The association shall hold a convention every two years on the last Saturday of August. The purpose of the convention is to conduct business of the association such as the annual meeting for the year, receive the association reports, hold elections into the executive committee and appoint new members to the advisory board.
Section 2: Elections. The Association shall conduct elections at the convention every two years to elect new members into the association’s Executive Committee.
Section 3: Election Eligibility. All members who have paid their one time registration fee, are up to date with their annual dues and have attended at least two-thirds (2/3) of the meetings held each year shall be eligible to vote or be voted for any of the offices declared vacant. An eligible member can run for only one position at a time. An EXCO member can only run for re-election for the same position for one additional term. All candidates running for any of the positions in the Executive Committee must be present at the convention.
Section 4: The Electoral Committee. Members of the house shall appoint an independent three-member electoral committee prior to the convention. The Electoral committee shall screen the candidates, prepare the list of those who qualify for elections, declare the voting strength and conduct the election at the appointed time. The Electoral Committee shall not engage in nomination and/or open support of candidates. However, eligible members of the Electoral Committee may vote for candidates upon close of nominations. The EXCO shall have no jurisdiction over the conduct of the election. The General Secretary shall provide the committee with all the necessary documents required for the purpose of the election.
Section 5: Voting. For elections into the Executive Committee voting shall be done by secret ballot. Each eligible member is entitled to cast one vote for each position contested. A candidate shall receive a simple majority of all eligible votes cast to be declared the winner of the position for which contested. In the event that there is only one candidate for any or each of the positions declared open such a candidate(s) shall be deemed elected unopposed.
Section 6: Motion. Any member may move for a motion to be voted upon. A motion has to be seconded for a vote to be called. A vote may be called by the President to pass any motion that is duly seconded. Each eligible member shall have one vote to cast either by show of hand, secret ballot or any other method as specified in the event of a call for a vote. A motion shall receive a simple majority of all eligible votes cast to be passed.
Section 7: Proxy voting. A member eligible to vote but cannot attend a meeting or event due to legitimate reasons such as illness, or travel may vote by proxy. All proxy documents must be duly authorized by the eligible member identifying who he or she designates as proxy and for a specified time period.
ARTICLE V – OFFICERS, DUTIES AND OATH OF OFFICE
Section 1. Executive Committee Officers and Duties. There shall be 9 officers of the Association consisting of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Public Relations Officer, Social Officer and an Ex-Officio. Their duties are as follows:
- President – shall convene regularly scheduled association meetings, preside or arrange for other members of the executive committee to preside at each meeting in the following order: Vice-President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Public Relations Officer, Social Officer. The President shall be responsible for the control and supervision of the association, approve voucher for payments, be a signatory to the bank account. Shall be the chief executive officer, have authority to appoint members to committees, represent Plateau State Association at external functions or appoint others to do so. Shall have the power to make decisions but this can be over-ridden by two-thirds (2/3) majority of members, give report to the general and annual meetings.
- Vice-President – shall chair committees on special subjects as designated by the association, assist the President in the execution of the day-to-day activities of the Association, perform special duties assigned to him/her by the President and in the absence or disability of the President assume the powers, duties and responsibilities of the President.
- General Secretary – shall be in-charge of the Association’s secretariat, responsible for keeping records of association actions, including overseeing the taking of minutes at all association meetings, sending out meeting announcements, distributing copies of minutes and the agenda to each association member, and assuring that association records are maintained, be signatory to the bank account and submit report to the general and annual meetings.
- Assistant Secretary – shall assist the secretary in the execution of the duties of the secretariat. Assume full responsibilities of those duties in the absence of the secretary.
- Treasurer – shall be custodian of the Association funds and assets, be a signatory to account, pays all monies collected no later than five working days into association account, keep checks, chair the finance committee, lead in developing fundraising plans.
- Financial Secretary – shall collect dues, keep records of all incoming monies collected, assist in the preparation of the budget, help to develop fundraising plans, submits financial report to members at each general meeting. Makes financial information available to association members and the public.
- Public Relations Officer – shall be the organization’s chief spokesperson, issue press releases as directed by the association, act as a liaison with other organizations, obtain and disseminates useful information from all available sources, responsible for the production and distribution of the Association newsletter. Shall act in consultation with the President.
- Social Secretary – shall be responsible for coordinating all social events in conjunction with other relevant officers and members of the association. Creates and distributes relevant information such as flyers, invitation cards, assists in securing venues for social events, mobilizes members and other persons in obtaining assistance for members who need the Association’s aid.
- EX-Officio- the immediate past present shall be a member of the ex-officio.
Section 2: The EXCO shall appoint a three-member audit committee to review the financial records of the association prior to the annual meeting and convention.
Section 3: Vacancies. When a vacancy or vacancies on the executive committee exists, the president in consultation with EXCO shall designate a member(s) to serve the remaining period of the term. These vacancies will be filled only to the end of the particular EXCO member’s term.
Section 4: Oath of Office. The following oath of office shall be administered to all elected officers upon inauguration.
I……. do solemnly swear that I will support the Bylaws of the Plateau State Association USA, Inc., and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent upon me as an Elected Officer of the Association for the term of two years beginning……. according to the best of my ability, so help me God.
ARTICLE VI – FISCAL YEAR.
Section 1: The fiscal year of the Association shall be for a twelve-month period from September to August.
ARTICLE VII - COMMITTEES
Section 1: The Association may create committees as needed.
Section 2: Finance Committee. The Treasurer is chair of the Finance Committee, which includes the financial secretary and three other Association members. The Finance Committee is responsible for developing and reviewing fiscal procedures, a fundraising plan, and annual budget. The Association must approve the budget, and all expenditures must be within the budget. The house must approve any major change in the budget. The fiscal year shall be from September to August. Annual reports are required to be submitted to the Association showing income, expenditures and pending income. The financial records of the organization are public information and shall be made available to the membership, Advisory Board members and the public.
ARTICLE VIII – DISCIPLINE AND DISCIPLINARY MEASURES
Section 1: A member may be disciplined for (a) failure to attend three meetings without explanation, (b) failure to pay dues and other applicable fees and (c) committing acts perceived to be detrimental to the association.
Section 2: Disciplinary measures may include fines, suspension or dismissal. A member shall have the right to a hearing before action is taken. A member’s failure to respond shall entail forfeiture of such rights.
ARTICLE IX – RESIGNATION, WITHDRAWAL, REMOVAL, AND TERMINATION
Section 1: A member shall have the right to voluntary withdrawal or resignation from the association. Notice must be in writing and received by the Secretary.
Section 2: A member may be removed from the association for any reason(s) supported by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members.
Section 3: Membership may be terminated due to excess absences from the association such as three unexcused absences from Association meetings in a year or acts considered detrimental to the association supported by a two-thirds (2/3) of members.
ARTICLE X - ADVISORY BOARD
Section 1: Composition. The Association shall constitute an Advisory Board. The Board shall comprise of reputable Plateau Citizens resident either in the US or Nigeria who are outstanding in either health, education or some other field relevant in meeting the association’s socio-economic objectives. Board members may also be matriachs or patriachs who have the esteem of the association members because of their wisdom or loyalty to the association or status in Plateau State. Board Members shall be non-voting members of the association, shall be non-political and non-religious.
Section 2: Role of the board. The board shall provide guidance and technical advice to the association. The board may not take decisions on the day-to-day running of the association, or make absolute or binding decisions for or on behalf of the association.
Section 3: Compensation. The Board receives no compensation other than reasonable expenses. The Board shall have no fewer than 5 members and up to 7 members.
Section 4: Meetings. The Board shall meet at least once a year.
Section 5: Board Appointment. The EXCO shall nominate individuals for board appointments and each board member shall be approved by a majority vote of the association members. Appointment of new Board members or current members to a second term will occur at the annual meeting of the association.
Section 6: The role of Board Members shall be to (a) act as ambassadors of the association. This role includes the interpretation, the promotion and defense of the ideals of the association to the public, as well as the representation of the association when necessary, (b) as consultants/advisors to the association. Board members may be consulted to assist the association in meeting its stated objectives. This role may include fund-raising and/or provision of technical assistance and networking opportunities. In addition, board members may be consulted to guide the association in the administration of its affairs.
Section 7: Obligation of Board Members to the Association. Attend Board meetings at least once a year to review the progress of the association and provide feedback to the association. Assist and participate in the association’s activities.
Section 8: Terms. All Board members shall serve a 2-year term, but are eligible for one re-election term.
Section 9: Quorum. A quorum must be attended by at least two-thirds (2/3) of the Board members before business can be transacted or motions made or passed.
Section 10: Notice. An official Board meeting requires that each Board member have written notice two weeks in advance.
ARTICLE XI – DISSOLUTION AND ASSESTS
Section 1: In the event of the dissolution of the association, assets shall be distributed to other taxexempt organizations engaged in charitable activities in Nigeria.
ARTICLE XII - AMENDMENTS
Section 1: Members may alter, amend or repeal these bylaws provided that any such alteration, amendment or repeal would not adversely impact the Association unless such an alteration, amendment, or repeal shall first have received the approval of two-thirds (2/3) of the members.
A proposed alteration, amendment or repeal must be submitted to the Secretary to send out notice to all eligible members 30 days prior to the annual meeting or convention. An alteration, amendment or repeal must be adopted by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of all eligible members at an annual meeting or convention.
These Bylaws were approved at a meeting of the Association on_______, 20XX.