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Election: Crisis Mars Oyo Journalists Congress as Members’ Resist Imposition

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By Abiodun Ogunrinde, Ibadan

Aggrieved journalists on Saturday stormed the Dapo Aderogba hall of the Nigeria Union of Journalists to protest the imposition of the outgoing chairman’s cronies as Electoral Committee members.

Crisis began after Adewumi Faniran, the Oyo NUJ Chairman, read out a list of five man committee he claimed gave him sleepless nights to arrive at.

He charged them to organise the election of the State NUJ which holds in December.

The list comprised the Chairman of the Oke Ogun Federated Chapel, Semiu Azeez as Chairman while his (Faniran campaign Director General and his subordinate in FRCN), Ridwan Fasasi, was chosen as Secretary.

But a member of the Correspondents Chapel and THISDAY State Correspondent, Mr. Kemi Olaitan, challenged the list and admonished the Chairman to live by his words in upholding the constitutional provision in the spirit of peace, justice and fairness.

Olaitan who was later backed by other journalists, including Jeremiah Oke of Daily Trust; Raji Adebayo of Herald, Sports Writers Chairman, Niyi Alebiosu of Tribune; Lekan Shobowale of BCOS and a host of others, asked Chairman to step down nominations of Fasasi and the chairman of Correspondents’ chapel, Ola Ajayi of Vanguard, who they said would not be fair in discharging the duties expected of them “because of their partisanship and closeness to Faniran.”

However the Chairman stuck to his gun x-raying the qualities of the nominees as people who would conduct the election until Alebiosu counselled him to put the matter into motion and subsequent voting.

The Chairman at this stage began to reel out conditions for voting, calling for motions and this further polarised the congress as temper rose.

In counting those in favour of the committee to stand as constituted, 24 members voted in their support and sensing that the remaining members were in majority, he ruled that the committee has been adopted.

This angered the members when Raji protested again and the visibly enraged Chairman called him “a bastard” and not a member of the union.

This infuriated Raji and the entire hall erupted into chaos and congress was deadlocked.

About 61 members attended the congress. The attendance according to what they termed congressional decision, was closed against 19 journalists who came late to the meeting.

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