Rivers NUJ election ends in chaos, police seal secretariat
Posted by News Express | 13 August 2021 | 264 times
By ONYEMA GODWIN, Port Harcourt
It was a show of shame, on Thursday, in Port Harcourt as the 7th triennial congress of Rivers State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) led to disagreement among the contestants which ended in chaos.
It took armed police squads to clear journalists away from their state headquarters when disagreement among candidates in the elections blocked any attempt to conduct elections.
The convention went smoothly but everybody knew something would go wrong, due to rumours and threats in the days going to the convention.
The first sign of trouble was the glaring absence of the National President and Secretary up till noon. Later, the National Vice President, South-South, Edward Ogude, arrived and the convention kicked off.
The opposing camp went round reminding members that there was no list of voters to allow for claims and objections.
They also showed a letter from the national secretariat which gave four conditions for the election to hold, especially a list of all chapels and their members to calculate the check-off dues payable.
Despite these, the convention went on with a welcome address by the outgoing chairman, Job Stanley Job, the convention chairman remarks by a Surveyor, Emmanuel Ogbonna, and the lecture by a retired veteran journalist, Mr Fitz Albert-Briggs.
When the convention went into the business of the day, the executive body was dissolved. Immediately this was done, the Paul Bazia group made observations and the hall went into an uproar.
The police managed to quell it after some pockets of blows. Later, the chapel heads (SEC) were called in and made into the caretaker committee to run the NUJ until a proper election is held.
Some celebrated this outcome as a task accomplished while others decried it and wore long faces. Analysts said journalists have proved that politics is now in the blood of all Nigerians and that they can no longer condemn politicians.
Observers say this may be the kick-off of a long battle that may ruin the pen fraternity in the state.
Meanwhile, as the police were sealing the secretariat, leaders of both camps in the election were invited to the nearby police headquarters for a security briefing.
One of the officials who pleaded anonymity said the Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka, urged members to try and maintain the peace and warned everyone to stay away from the secretariat until they have made peace and are ready to conduct a peaceful election. (Nigerian Tribune)