General news

Credentials Committee ready to abide with NUJ directive on SWAN national elections



 SWAN Credentials Committee (SWANCredCom) says it will abide with Tuesday’s decision by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to indefinitely suspend the upcoming national elections of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN).

Abdulrahman Abolore, a member of SWANCredCom, which was set up recently by a cross-section of Chairmen of SWAN State Chapters in Ilorin, said this in Lagos on Wednesday.

The NUJ had waded into the growing crisis in SWAN by asking both SWANCredCom and SWANECO, which was set up by SWAN’s National Executive Committee (NEC), to stay action “forthwith and indefinitely’’.

It also advised that the national congresses planned for Abuja and Port Harcourt in October by SWANCredCom and SWANECO respectively should be put on hold.

Reacting to the development, Abolore said SWANCredCom views NUJ’s intervention as necessary in view of several events in the past few weeks.

“A lot of events have been coming up in recent weeks, and these were the ones which prompted the Chairmen of SWAN State Chapters to set up our committee.

“We are like what you can call `a child of necessity’. And we feel NUJ’s intervention is akin to our coming too. So, we don’t feel bad at all. We rather see the NUJ intervention as necessary,’’ he said.

Abolore, while praising the NUJ, said the suspension of elections was even timely, “in order for all contentious issues put forward by the Association’s two factions to be addressed.’’

“This (NUJ intervention) is good for us, and we believe it will help us chart a way forward for lasting peace and an electoral process that will be fair to all involved.

“We must even praise the NUJ, for having patiently waited to hear from all sides before coming in to save a situation that is almost becoming riotious. It has rights to act in this regard, based on Article 9 (b) of the NUJ Constitution.’’

He said such intervention was also normal, since SWAN is an affiliate of the NUJ.

“We SWAN members are also members of NUJ, and our code of conduct are as it is provided in the NUJ Constitution. Article 5 of the SWAN Statutes is clear on this. So, we shall be guided by the NUJ.

“Afterall, we all know we cannot practise and be members of SWAN without being first of all members of NUJ, according to Article 7 (a) of the SWAN Statutes. And that is why when you lose your membership of NUJ you will lose your Full Membership in SWAN, based on Article 7 (h)(iii).’’

Abolore added that his committee, following consultations late Tuesday and early on Wednesday, would now await further directives from both the NUJ and the Chairmen of SWAN State Chapters.

“When all the raised dust is cleared, we shall get back to SWAN members. Until then, we are staying action on all matters of the national elections,’’ he said.

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)


Lagos NUJ: I won’t suspend legal actions on Pen Jewel Estate if elected — Ajayi



Mr Adeleye Ajayi, Chairmanship Candidate in the forthcoming Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos Council Election, on Friday debunked a rumour that he intended to stop legal actions against those involved in the abortive Mowe/Ofada Pen Jewel Estate.

Ajayi, a Deputy Editor-in- Chief in the News Agency of Nigeria , who decried the rumour and others making the rounds, said elections in a professional body like NUJ should not be a do-or-die affair where contestants would be destroying one another.

The aspirant also said that rumours from his opponent’s camp about his certificate was wrong, saying that he possessed Ordinary National Diploma, Higher National Diploma, and two Master’s degrees.

He said that he was a class representative and class governor at both Ogun State Polytechnic and Lagos State University.

Ajayi said: “Getting to the top should not be a ‘do-or-die’ affair but some people hold onto the belief that they must destroy everybody and everything on their way to achieve success.

“Those in this category should remember that nemesis will catch up with them one day. Therefore, be good to people you meet on your way up because you may also meet them on your way down.

“On the controversial issue of Mowe-Ofada land and the abortive Pen Jewel Estate Project, ordinarily I need not bother re-echoing what I had said during my visits to chapels on campaign but I must put the records straight to correct the erroneous impression being peddled around that I intend to take the land cases out of courts if I win the election by God’s grace.

“Is it possible to withdraw any case out of court without the consent of the Judge and the parties involved? This is indeed a question begging for answers.

“Although the dramatis personae involved in the failed estate project are friends just like other people on this platform but that does not exonerate the two of them from facing the consequences should they be found guilty by a court of law.”

He added that it was unfortunate that the Mowe-Ofada land, which was acquired way back in 2008 and was allocated to about 2,000 subscribers devoid of rancour, had turned to be a campaign gimmick.

According to him, the situation turned sour and became a thorn in the flesh of the allottees some years after, when plans by Primewaterview Holdings Ltd. to assist in building apartments for the 800 journalists’ subscribers hit the rocks.

“Some people just want to call a dog a bad name in order to get it hanged.

“I have always emphasised in every chapel we went on campaign that the incoming executive by God’s grace will adopt a political solution to the land brouhaha.

“We shall endeavour to go beyond Lagos to further dialogue so that the hard-earned dollars and Naira can be refunded, even in installment.

“Permit me to also reiterate that legal actions, EFCC intervention, investigation by the Police Special Fraud Unit will continue pari- passu.

“I therefore, find it incredible that some people will go round, maligning me and distorting my explanation regarding the land issue just to score cheap political points,” Ajayi said.

He urged journalists to take whatever his opponent told them about him concerning the abortive Pen Jewel Estate as a figment of the imagination of the cooks of such story.

Ajayi said that when he was the President of the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN), in 2010, he facilitated allocation of 50 plots of land for members of the association.

He regretted that the land had been turned to an `ATM’, by breathing down on innocent and unsuspecting landowners to contribute N60,000 for perimeter fencing; N10,000 for bush clearance etc.

Ajayi added: “I cherish the late Ibrahim Waziri’s political style tagged “Politics without bitterness’’, I have always made this phrase my watchword.

“I enjoin those further fanning the embers of disunity in the Lagos Council of NUJ to have a rethink so that we can go back to the `camaraderie’ of the good old days.

“Our collective concern should be how to build a virile union that will stand the test of time and outlive us and not to destroy a House (NUJ) solidly built by our heroes in the profession, both living and dead.

“May I therefore, appeal that those who indulged in Pull Him Down syndrome, especially during NUJ’s electioneering, that they should note that this is a professional body of gentlemen of the Fourth Estate of the Realm.”

The aspirant, who advised that people should make the campaign more exciting and not take to mudslinging, said campaign for Sept. 29 election should concentrate on issues and focus on how journalists could live a good life now and after retirement.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Peter Ejiofor)
Source: NAN
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Sustain Ihedioha’s blueprint on sports development, administrator urges Imo governor



A seasoned sports administrator, Fan Ndubuoke, has appealed to Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo to sustain his predecessor’s blueprint on sports development.

Ndubuoke, the immediate past Chairman of Imo Sports Commission, made the appeal during an interaction with members of the state chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), on Friday in Owerri.

He said that Uzodinma’s predecessor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, had a clear vision on sports development.

Ndubuoke called on Uzodinma to implement some lofty policies of Ihedioha’s administration on sports development.

He said that Ihedioha’s administration established Imo Sports Commission aimed at eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with the `old order’.

He urged the governor not to allow politics to kill sports in Imo, in the interest of the people.

On the crisis in Heartland FC of Owerri, Ndubuoke said that the problem was traceable to greed and selfishness.

Ndubuoke, a former Heartland FC Chairman, said he ran the club with N8 million monthly subventions and won trophies for the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that state government has yet to register Heartland FC players for the new season as directed by League Management Company, due to the crisis.

The state Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Dan Ogu, had recently announced the dissolution of Heartland FC’s Interim Management Board but the board Chairman, Babatunde Ezekwem, claimed that the commissioner lacked powers to dissolve the board.

According to Ndubuoke, the Ezekwem-led board ought to cease to be when the government established the sports commission through a law.

“The Interim Management Board was a child of circumstance; it was introduced when the government was waiting to perfect the law establishing the sports commission,” he said.

Ndubuoke, who expressed worry at the crisis, warned that it might lead to a setback for the club, if not urgently tackled.

According to the sports administrator, the way to sports development in Imo is through the sports commission.

He urged Imo Football Association to play a ‘fatherly’ role in resolving the crisis.

“I call on the FA Chairman in Imo, Mr Amanze Uchegbulam, to caution some of his members on the roles they are playing in the crisis in Heartland FC,” he said.

He also urged SWAN members not to be biased in reporting sports activities and the crisis in the club.

“Don’t allow membership of SWAN to be an all comers’ affair. I left a formidable SWAN both in Imo at the national level; I want you to maintain that.

“You should use your various media to educate and inform the public properly; I beg you to be impartial and productive in your job,” he said. |

Edited By: Celine-Damilola Oyewole/Ijeoma Popoola
Source: NAN
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Political interest responsible for lingering crisis in Heartland FC, club chairman says



Chairman of Heartland Football Club Management Board, Charles Ezekwem, says the major problem setting the Owerri-based club back is political interest from some appointees of the Imo government.

Ezekwem said this during a meeting with some members of the state chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) on Thursday in Owerri.

He however warned of dire consequences if the state government failed to register the club and pay outstanding seven months salaries of players, staff and  coaches.

“This may stop the club from participating in the new football league season.

“It will be an embarrassment to the people of Imo if the only club owned by the state failed to feature in the country’s football league,’’ Ezekwem said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the League Management Company (LMC) has set Friday as deadline for clubs’ registration for the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Ezekwem said Heartland FC were yet to register their players as at Thursday.

NAN reports that the state’s Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Dan Ogu, had recently dissolved the club’s management board headed by Ezekwem.

However, Ezekwem said during the meeting with Imo SWAN members that the Commissioner lacked the power to dissolve the board.

While reacting to some allegations on misappropriation of funds by the board, Ezekwem said all the money released for the club under his watch were used judiciously.

He threatened to resign his position as board chairman if the state government sacked the club’s General Manager, Godson Onyemaobi.

“I know that am not the target in this crisis, but the GM. So, if he is sacked, I will resign because I know he is a performing GM,” he said.

Ezekwem said the state government officials should rather be focused on making sure that Heartland FC were registered and licensed.

“But it is unfortunate that they were busy looking for a way to sack the GM,’’ he said.

On the slashing of players’ salaries by the club management, Ezekwem said it was not a decision he unilaterally took. “It was in full agreement with all the players.

“When I was appointed as the board chairman, I reviewed the salary of both players and staff just to motivate everybody to perform.

“But when we saw that our N23 million subvention could not carry the club’s liabilities, we decided to cut the salaries of both players and management staff in agreement with everybody,’’ he said.

Ezekwem said the decision affected goalkeeper Ezenwa whose salary of N700,000 was slashed to N500,000.

He said the action was to enable them pay the salaries of other players and workers.

“The Management Board under my watch ran a deficit of N1.1 million every month, and on some occasions my personal money was used in running the club,’’ Ezekwem said.

Edited By: Josephine Obute and Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN
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General news

Emir advises journalists on objectivity in reportage



Alhaji Bilyamu Othman, the Emir of Dass, has urged journalists in Bauchi State to uphold the ethics of the profession and report objectively while discharging their social responsibility of information dissemination.

Othman gave this advice while receiving the executive members of the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) Bauchi State Council on Thursday in Dass Local Government Area of the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Emir of Dass is the grand patron of the NUJ in Bauchi.

He said that journalists as the fourth estate of the realm should  employ quality reportage in all the sectors of human endeavour.

Earlier, the state NUJ chairman, Mr Sa’id Mohammed, said that the visit was to pay homage to the royal father.

He told the emir that the state council had inaugurated an advisory committee comprising of all the past NUJ chairmen in the state.

Mohammed congratulated the emir, who is the state chairman, social mobilisation on polio eradication in the state on the recent declaration of Nigeria as a polio free country.

He further called for the support of the emirate council in promoting sporting activities as a vital measure for living a healthy lifestyle.

“As enshrined in the NUJ constitution, the state council of the NUJ, has inaugurated an advisory committee with the Managing Director of the Bauchi State Television Authority (BATV) as chairman.

“The committee is expected to advise the union and contribute positively towards achieving success in running the affairs of the council,” he said.

Edited By: Benson Iziama/Yemi Idris-Aduloju
Source: NAN
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