Women journalists in Edo protest alleged manipulation of election process

By Jethro lbileke

Some aggrieved members of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), in Edo State, Wednesday staged a peaceful against alleged manipulation of their election process by the caretaker committee.

They accused the caretaker committee of manipulating the congress attendance list to disqualify some qualified members from contesting the election, but to favor others who are not even qualified to be NUJ members.

One of the aggrieved candidates, Mrs. Joy Musa-Aghedo, who spoke for others, accused the immediate past secretary of failing to  perform her duty.

She noted that most of the congresses held during the last administration were held on emergency basis and most members given less than 24 hours notice.

She said the attendance register being proposed for the conduct of the election, has been manipulated and is not complete.

“We know the importance of attendance of congresses in NAWOJ and NUJ. But we’ve come to understand that the attendance they are presenting in this NAWOJ election is a photocopy and not original.

“This photocopy attendance they are presenting to us is not complete, they are presenting photocopy because the original is missing.

“Even the apologies members rendered on inability to attend such emergency congresses was not there because most of the congresses we had in the last three years were emergency. And the notices of these emergency congresses came less than 24 hours. Such notices were not pasted on the state council’s board.

“You are aware it is the notice board we use in disseminating information, including announcement of congresses, but unfortunately we’ve never used it in the past three years in NAWOJ because the secretary then failed to perform her duty and and they want to use this attendance to disqualify some qualified members. This is what we will not accept,” she added.

Musa-Aghedo disclosed that when the aspirants met with the Caretaker Committee, it was discovered that the attendance register being emphasised on does not have date, stressing that NECO certificate has no place in the practice of journalism.

“We say no to injustice! Apart from that, one of the contestants in the forth-coming election does not have results, she only presented NECO certificate. When she wanted to contest three years ago, she went to bring IIJ admission letter, she contested, now after three years, she want to contest, so she went to National Open University to bring another admission letter, and you want to tell me she is qualified?

“She never wrote a single exam at IIJ. Now, we have heard that she has written petition to Abuja that she has written all her exams and that she is waiting for her result and convocation. ls that allowed in anywhere? Illegality will not be allowed in Edo NAWOJ.

“We don’t want someone who does not have first degree, ND, HND but ‘certificate less’ to come and lead us in Edo NAWOJ. We will not allow it, it is an aberration. Manipulation of attendance to suit certain persons will not be allowed in this election. Somebody who do not have result, coming from the back door to contest election will not be allowed. What is right should be done by the NUJ, we are seeking for justice, she requested.”

Also speaking, Mrs. Amina Ebor, called on Edo NUJ and the national body to salvage NAWOJ from quackery.

She stressed that the NUJ constitution is there as guide and should not be slaughtered on the alter of illegality and favouritism.

Responding on behalf of Edo State NUJ, Secretary of the Council, Comrade Titus Akhigbe, assured the aggrieved NAWOJ members that all their “complaints would be attended to by leadership of the Union.”