The national body of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Friday gave its backing to the Caretaker Committee constituted for the Lagos State Council of the union following a botched election on Thursday.
The NUJ made known its position in a letter signed by its Assistant National Secretary, Mudat Joseph, addressed to the Vice President, Zone B and copied the Caretaker Committee, Credential Committee and all Lagos Chapels.
“Following the stalemate in the Lagos State council election of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on 5th November, 2020, the National Secretariat has endorsed the caretaker committee set up in line with Article 5C (9c) of the NUJ Constitution. The caretaker committee members are to liaise with the existing Credentials Committee to ensure smooth and credible election. The caretaker committee is also directed to call for a congress on the 14th November, 2020, to resolve issues associated with the-list of delegates and fix a date for the election”.
Recall that a special State Executive Council (SEC) meeting comprising all Chairmen and Secretaries of various Chapels of the NUJ Lagos State Council on Thursday constituted a Caretaker Committee to pilot the affairs of the union.
The virtual meeting, which produced the committee, came after the 2020 NUJ Delegates Conference and Election was scuttled by aggrieved loyalists of outgone chairman, Dr Qasim Akinreti, who is seeking re-election.
The five-member committee, led by Mr Wale Akodu, the Chairman, Lagos State Ministry of Information Chapel, has Mr Sola Taiwo of Daar Communications, as its Secretary.
Other members of the committee include Mr Solomon Nwoke of Vanguard Chapel, Mrs Kemi Ishola of Lagos Television Chapel and Mr Chiedu Ometere of NTA.
The National Officers who presided over the SEC meeting were Mrs Cosmas Oni, the NUJ Vice President, B Zone, Mr Michael Gbolagunte, the NUJ Secretary, B Zone, Mr Sylva Okereke NUJ National Trustee and Mr Akorede Opeyemi – Assistant National Secretary of the NUJ.
There was a mild drama on Thursday at the 2020 Triennial Delegates Conference and Elections of the NUJ, Lagos State Council, as it was halted midway.
The election, which was initially scheduled for September 29, was postponed to October 20, due to the planned nationwide strike of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). It was similarly postponed for a second time due to the recent #EndSARS protests.
Although it was rescheduled for Thursday, November 5, midway into the exercise, the Chairman, Lagos NUJ 2020 Credentials Committee, Mr Debo Adeniji, announced the suspension of the election, citing security reasons.
Some alleged hired thugs backing the outgone chairman began to cause commotion at the venue in an attempt to disrupt the voting process.
The election was, however, underway under the security watch of combined detachments of the police, the Department of State Service and OP MESA operatives before it was disrupted.
Hundreds of journalists left the Blue Roof, Lagos Television-venue of the election disappointed, blaming the out-gone chairman for the debacle.
The tenure of the outgone executive had expired on September 29, 2020.
Akinreti and his loyalists had cast aspersion on the first verification exercise conducted by the Credentials Committee for the election and the second verification conducted by the National body, citing disenfranchisement.