Gong News: Crisis may be looming in the Kogi State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists following the flagrant refusal of the incumbent executives of the union to honour the rotational arrangement put in place by elders and elites of the union for over two decades.
The union is also said to be tensed following some subtle funny moves allegedly being made by the incumbent chairman, Ali Atabor to disenfranchise some members from voting in the election slated for February 18th.
It was gathered that due to the heterogeneous nature and the sharp differences often reported among the three major ethnic groups which comprise of the three senatorial districts in the state, the union leaders and elders had ‘ a gentleman agreement ‘ where they agreed to rotate some sensitive positions that normarly ignite crises among the ethnic groups in the state
This arrangement was said to be jealously guarded by the elders and all stakeholders such that when an incumbent chairman completes his tenure, members automatically know which senatorial district to produce the next council chairman until the current chairman who was a beneficiary of the same arrangement refused to quit office.
It was further learnt that the three major positions of chairman, secretary and treasurer are being rotated among the Igalas/ bassa in the eastern senatorial district ,Okun-Yoruba/Lokoja axis of the western axis and the Ebira/ Ogori Mangogo of the central senatorial axis for peaceful and harmonious coexistence.
By the arrangement, the current NUJ chairman,Atabor an igala man from the Eastern senatorial district is to vacate the office by Feb 18th for any candidate from the west whose turn it is to produce the next NUJ chairman.
This zoning arrangement was said to have brought reasonable peace and stability in recent times to the council which was reported to be hitherto festered in crises.
But, Atabor who had served a three years term as secretary of the union before his election as chairman of the union three years ago still was said to have insisted along with his Exco members that they must retain the offices they are currently holding, a situation which is causing serious stirs among the working journalists in the state.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that Atabor had been chairman of kogi Radio chapel for six years before serving another six years as secretary and chairman at the state council level and still insists to serve another three years term in office
Also the council secretary, Momoh Jimoh Adeiza was said to be first elected as assistant secretary before his current position as the secretary of the union and yet he refused to vacate his seat for another zone to take over, a source hinted.
Investigations revealed that, what is causing another stir is the eligibility or otherwise of Adeiza, the council secretary to still hold any elective position even as he has been elevated to the position of a general manager of (FRCN) PRIME FM lokoja.
The NUJ constitution and the labour law kick against anybody who has reached the management level such as GM or its equivalent of an organisation to participate in elective positions of a union.
As for Abubakar the council treasurer and publisher of a local newspaper who is also seeking for re election, he was the auditor of the union before his election as the treasurer, but he too also insists of recontesting for the same position
It was gathered that In their desperate bid to be re elected, the current Exco members are said to be employing various tactics to scheme out eligible voters from voting
targeting mostly members of the correspondents’ chapel and the federated chapel where Kola Toluhi, the opposition chairmanship aspirant belong
They were alleged to have however upped the membership strenght of chapels where they feel they have strong sympathy.
For example, it was gathered that FRCN FM where Adeiza heads as General Manager, membership names have been doctored and increased to over 50 bringing in all manners of technicians and drivers as journalists whereas the total staff strength of journalists in the station is said to be less than 10.
Also, the council chairman is accused of single-handedly appointing his core supporters as credential committee members without recourse to congress or inputs from the State Executive Council.
Several protests from the opposition camp fell in to deaf ears as the chairman who is alleged to have perfected plans to rig the election refused to take a bulge.
Notable members of the union have however petitioned the national secretariat of NUJ passing a vote of no confidence on the committee and allowing fair play and justice to prevail in the composition of another credential committee.
Meanwhile, the council is also unsettled on rumours of some desperate contestants employing the services of marabouts and spiritualists to intimidate members and influence the election to their favour.