The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, has described the attempt by some members of the Union desirous of stopping its scheduled Seventh Triennial Delegates’ Conference in Umuahia, Abia State as a joke taken too far.
Isiguzo made this known when he spoke with newsmen at the FCT Council Secretariat of the union on Tuesday.
He said it was ridiculous and absurd for some few noisy people to think that they can get through the back door what they could not get through a normal democratic process at the National Executive Council of the NUJ that was properly constituted with some of the vocal persons in attendance and participated in the decisions reached.
The NUJ President said in spite of the lack of service and non-juristic persons lined up as respondents in Court, the NUJ, being a law abiding organisation, obeyed the 14 days Order of injunction granted by the Court.
The National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Lagos had on August 27, 2021, while ruling on a motion exparte filed by Soji Amosu and Ayokunle Ewuoso, the Chairman and Secretary respectively of Ogun State Council of the NUJ, restrained the credentials committee of the NUJ and others from going ahead with the election scheduled to hold in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
Isiguzo said: “As law abiding citizens, the NUJ and others that were not properly addressed, respected the rule of law and shut down all activities concerning the election in compliance with the order of the court.
“Some of our colleagues, who felt that they needed to exercise their freedom of expression, went to court in Lagos seeking that the election be stopped until the issues surrounding the election are addressed and the judge clearly gave 14 days that the purported order should last and of course as law abiding people we have respect for rule of law.
“The hallmark of democratic governance is respect for rule of law and we said let’s shut down and respect the order of the court.
“Ordinarily, as NUJ President, I was not restrained in that purported order.
“The National Secretary was not restrained.
“It was just that they picked some members of the Electoral Committee, whose names were not properly captured, but we didn’t want to rely on technicalities.
“We said let’s respect the rule of law and move on even when we had not been served.”
Isiguzo explained the decisions reached at the National Executive Council of the NUJ, which held in August, particularly on formation of members of the Electoral Committee and venue for the Triennial Conference, were unanimous and the NEC is the highest decision making organ of the Union outside the Triennial Conference which is once in three years.
The NUJ president expressed surprise that while no decision of the NEC was objected to during its meeting in Abuja, some few members started peddling unfounded rumours and raising objection to venue of the conference as if there was another state that did bid and was rejected.
In his words: “There was no objection or opposition whatsoever from any member to the decision of Abia Council to host the triennial delegates Conference.
“I as the presiding officer asked: ‘Do we have any other Council that is ready to host?’
“Not even one indicated interest and we decided to take it to Abia Council.
“Every member of the NEC was present, including those that want to contest election.
“All of them were there.
“They didn’t object, they didn’t oppose and at the end of all these, they think what they could not get from the normal setting, they should get it through back doors.
“It is just a joke taken too far.
“I can assure you that as we speak there is no order anywhere.
“I am contesting for election and I am ready for election and some people that want to seek for office are not ready for election, they are only looking for issues.
“I can assure you that by the first week of October 2021, by the grace of God, the 7th Triennial Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists will take place in Umuahia, Abia State and it will be peaceful because we have taken steps to ensure that our people would be safe and secured before, during and after the election.”
Commenting on the allegation of certificate forgery against him, Isiguzo said he was not surprised that the issue was brought up again, adding that it was one of those distractions thrown up three years ago when he was not yet in office as president, which was thoroughly investigated.
He said: “They just want something that will attract the attention of the people and they begin to fly with it again.
“They did same thing three years ago, it didn’t give them victory.”