There seems to be more trouble within the Nigerian Union of Journalists(NUJ) under the leadership of Mr Chris Isiguzo, as a large number of journalists across the country have decided to form a new association known as Association of Nigerian Journalists(ANJ).
According to the Proterm Executive Secretary of the new group, Mr Benson Agwu, the decision to float a new association was born out of the high-handedness and desperate desire for personal vandetta exhibited by NUJ President, Mr Chris Isiguzo since his assumption of office.
He said that the main aim of the association was to restore the dignity of journalism practice in Nigeria which had been wrecked by Isiguzo whose academic qualification had remained a suspect.
Part of the resolution of the group during its first meeting which held virtually reads: “Concerned practising Journalists across Nigeria have risen from emergency virtual meeting and keenly observed with disgust that for over two years running, the way and manner the incumbent leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has drifted from the dictates of our noble professional union and journalism practice to desperate aggressive pursuit of personal vendatta against practising members on one side and States Executive Council (SEC) members on the other side.
“This is besides the ochestration of ranckerious acrimony by the leadership against its membership. This in no mean saying the fact that all these have ravaged the spirit of unionism at the union’s eachelon council.
“The NUJ President has become a sole administrator and nobody in either the NEC or CWC dare to speak out. The NEC and CWC seem to have been subsumed and conquered by the President whose academic qualification has remained a suspect.
“The NUJ constitution has long been abandoned, just as leadership is being imposed on all the Councils where the State Executive Councils (SEC) or State Working Committee (SWC) do not curry the favour of the union’s national leadership. And nobody can say a word for fear of being suspended indefinitely.
“A case in point is how the Council Chairman of Zamfara State was recently forced to resign to avert impeachment on him secured by the NUJ national President.
“The chairman of Kaduna was forced to apologise to the Leadership of NUJ for sharing a news story questioning veracity of the certificate with which the incumbent President tendered and on which he vied and was returned as elected President of the NUJ. Yet, the issue of his qualification cannot be discussed because if any NEC/CEC dares raise it risks indefinite suspension.
“Anarchy has taken over. Impunity is now the order of the day. Unfortunately no journalist is at home to save the once hallowed union. Court judgements against the union are not obeyed neither are they discussed at NEC/CWC meetings. Yet, there are over 15 cases pending and petitions at the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
“That it is hereby resolved that a new umbrella body of practising journalists be registered as Association of Nigerian Journalists, ANJ. That it is detestable to note in particular, that from the outset of the incumbent leadership no Chapel or State Council in the South East have held free elections.
“This is outright undemocratic and runs foul of union practice across the globe. The case is not different at the South West zone; the NUJ President must at all times install SEC members that shall abide by his biddings. These have plunged the Oyo, Ogun, Imo, Enugu States among other Councils into unnecessary acrimony and resources waste in a letigious sojourn.
“That this is the first in history of the NUJ that an incumbent leadership is under criminal investigation by the ICPC and upon that NUJ NEC/SWC leadership has been on trial in several courts over his alleged certificate forgery but the entire NEC/CWC members look elsewhere in search of sinecure where none exists.
“That the leadership of NEC inordinately secured the suspension of an incumbent Vice President, South East, denying the zone fair representation at the NEC, an act which a court of competent jurisdiction has quashed and awarded a paltry sum of N5m as cost of litigation, but the NEC in utter disregard of that court order ignored its compliance and neither has there been any appeal in that respect, NEC chose to tow the line of criminal neglect of a subsisting court order.
“At the recent NEC meeting in Asaba, Delta State, the same President opted to clamp another suspension on the Vice President of zone B for yet to be disclosed aggression, but was compelled to rescind its move by a rumoured move to pass a Vote of no Confidence on its leadership. To counter such move, NUJ leadership lobbied for a reverse, and instead a voice vote of Vote of Confidence was reluctantly adopted to save a face.
“Therefore, it is with utter dismay that some practising journalists across the nation opted for the registration of another umbrella body that shall champion the professionalization of journalism practice in the country rather than the present use of the union as a venture for ego trip and personal aggrandizement at the detriment of other media practitioners at large.
He further revealed that registration into the new association was on across states councils for interested members who share the same discerning view of the veterans. He said that contacts of the different states councils will soon be made public for interested members.