Botched election: Ondo NUJ fail to elect new leaders


The crisis rocking the Ondo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ seems to know no end, as members yesterday failed to elect leaders for the union.

Members had gathered at the NUJ press center to elect their leaders, after the National Industrial Court on October 15, 2018 voided the election which brought in the James Sowole-led executive.

The state executive of the union had been dragged before the court by one of the candidates who contested against Sowole for the chairmanship seat over his disqualification.

Justice A. A Adewemimo in his ruling had described the selection of the credential committee by the state executive of NUJ as unconstitutional and unlawful.

He also ordered that Sowole should seize to be chairman, while a fresh election was to be conducted within 30 days.

Consequently, the national body of the union constituted a caretaker committee led by Mr Sola Obagbemisoye to run the affairs of the union pending a fresh election.

The election which was to be help yesterday however erupted in crisis, as members disagreed over the means of accreditation for voters.

Trouble started when members of the local government information chapel listed as information officers across the 18 local governments in the state were allegedly denied accreditation.

Although they possessed the official NUJ identity card, they were further asked to present their letters of employment and promotion before they could be accredited.

This prolonged for several hours, as a solution could not be found to it.

This eventually forced the NUJECO to suspend the election.

One of the members of the local government information chapel who spoke with SUNSHINE HERALD on a condition of anonymity however accused the NUJECO of acting the script of one of the chairmanship candidates.

“They just want their candidate to win by force, that is why they did all this. We are journalists who have been working as professionals for years,” he said.

In a related development, chairmen of nine out of the 11 chapels in the council have written to the national secretariat, asking that a new caretaker committee be set up to run the affairs of the union.

The chairmen who are from the NOA, NTA, FRCN, Correspondents, Adaba FM, Federal Information, LG Information, Owena Press and Federated chapels cited article 5D (9c) (page 19) of the NUJ Constitution.

The article reads, “where there is a stalemate in the election at the National Delegates’ Conference, the state Council chairmen and Secretaries shall take over and run the affairs of the Union and conduct fresh elections within three months. Same shall apply in the case of a stalemate in the state Council elections, where chapel chairmen and Secretaries shall perform the same functions.”

“We urge the national secretariat to appoint fresh 5- members caretaker committee from among SEC members to run the affairs of the Union pending the conclusion of the aborted election.

“We advise that anything short of the constitutional provision, the crisis in the Union may further degenerate and lead to the factionalisation in the Union,” the chapel chairmen wrote.

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