Friday, December 20, 2019 4:13 pm
In an election conducted on Wednesday December 18, 2019 to elect new executive members for the Oyo Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr Ademola Babalola has emerged as the Chairman of the union and sworn in to steer the ship of the Union for three years.
In the election, Babalola polled 179 votes to defeat his opponent, Adewumi Faniran of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, who polled six votes. Faniran, who is the outgoing chairman, and his supporters boycotted the election which they feel has been compromised even before its conduct.
Others who emerged in the election included Olusola Oladapo, who scored 175 votes to defeat the incumbent secretary, Bola Ogunlayi who got 10 votes, Akeem Abas defeated the incumbent Treasurer, Busola Adetunji to emerge Treasurer,Abiodun Atitola emerged unposed as Financial Secretary and Daud Aderogba emerged unposed as Assistant Secretary.
Announcing the result of the election, Senior Assistant National Secretary of NUJ, Mr. Gbemiga Bamidele said all the elected officers emerged having satisfied the electoral process by scoring the highest number of votes in the election.
However, the Magazine gathered that the grouse of Faniran and his supporters against the new chairman bothers on the eligibility of Babalola to contest the election. Faniran and his supporters claimed that Babalola is not qualified to contest the chairmanship of the Union.
According to a letter written by Silverline Solicitor, a legal consultant, arbitrator and conflict manager, signed by Oluwadamilare Awokoya, Faniran opined that Babalola fails to meet the requirements stipulated in the Union’s Constitution to contest for the position of chairmanship of the union.
The letter addressed to the National Secretary of NUJ and copied the Editor of Punch Newspaper, was dated December 17, 2019 and titled, “Re: Provisional Report, Call for the intervention of the National President and National Secretary against the candidature of Mr Ademola Babalola in pursuant to Article 7 (2) (v) of the constitution of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ”.
The letter claimed that Babalola is not a member of NUJ, stating that Babalola contested the position in 2016 as a staff of ThisDay Newspaper and afterward, resigned and joined Punch Newspaper.
According to the letter, “He has paraded himself on several platforms as an employee of Punch Nigeria Limited and conspicuously writer on Punch Newspapers. It is well known to Mr Ademola Babalola and to the Union that Punch Nigeria Limited does not participate in the activities of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and an employee of the Media outfit cannot be eligible to contest or hold an elective position in the Union. Mr Ademola Babalola in a ploy to deliberately deceive the members of Credentials Committee as well as to manipulate his ways into the highest office in Oyo State Council, is equally claiming to be an employee of Fresh FM, a media outfit with the headquarters in Ibadan and a branch in Abeokuta. It became more worrisome when Mr Ademola Babalola claimed to be the Correspondent of Fresh FM Abeokuta in Ibadan, the seat of the headquarters of Fresh FM. This is highly incredulous, ludicrous, and inconceivable and not even a new entrant into the profession of journalism will believe this”.
The letter claimed that the spurious claim of Babablola that he is a Correspondent of Fresh FM Abeokuta in Ibadan, is at variance with the letters and spirits of the provision of Article 5 (G) (2) of the union’s constitution, which state that “Members working outside the location of their establishments shall form a Correspondent Chapel in accordance with Article 5 (G) (1) above.
Failure of the national body of NUJ to dispense justice as expected by Faniran and his supporters made them to approach the National Industrial Court, NIC siting in Ibadan for justice, principally asking the court to determine the eligibility of Babalola in the election he contested and won.
Prior to the election, Oluwakayode Banjo and others in the camp of Faniran filed a Motion Exparte against Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ and seven others, in a suit no. NIC/IB/91/2019 asking the court to restrain the election pending the determination of a suit respect of the election.
However, based on the information the counsel to the applicants gave the court that the election has been postponed, the Presiding Judge, Justice J. D. Peters said that there is nothing to restrain again. He, therefore, rejected and dismissed the prayer of the applicants to restrain the election slated for today.
Justice Peters ordered that the status quo of the state NUJ Council as at today be maintained and adjourned the case to January 14, 2020 to hear the pending application.
Justice Peters further ordered that hearing notice must be issued and serve on the Respondents with proof in the file.