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Media Stakeholders Accuses Jigawa Govt Of Interference In NAWOJ Election



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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and media stakeholders in Jigawa state have accused the state government of interference and suppression by hijacking the leadership of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Jigawa state chapter through the conduct of an ‘illegal’ election.

The allegation followed the reported emergence of a new exco of NAWOJ in the state through an ‘illegal’ election without the approval of the national body of the NUJ, state council of the NUJ and the election credential committee.

Sources in the NUJ and some media stakeholders in the state told News Point Nigeria that the Secretary to the Government of Jigawa State, Alhaji Bala Ibrahim Mamser and the Managing Director of the Jigawa Radio, Alhaji Yusuf Adamu Babura supported the emergence of the new NAWOJ executives without due process.

”The SSG and the MD of Radio Jigawa instigated the disqualification of a candidate they don’t like while pushing for the illegal election using government resources and power”, the source said.

“There is going to be an election of new executives in the national body of NAWOJ later this month, on 24th to be specific, and the incumbent state chairperson is seen as a non-loyalist of some candidates at national level of NAWOJ, candidates who have closed ties with Jigawa government, therefore, the state chairperson was unfairly disqualified from this election because they want a state chairperson that will do their bidding at the convention in Abuja later this month.

“It’s simply a power play for NAWOJ national election later this month”, the source added.

Speaking to News Point Nigeria via telephone on the matter, the leadership of the NUJ at the national level expressed dismay about the development and promised to bring justice and equity to the affairs of Jigawa NAWOJ.

“We issued a notice postponing the NAWOJ election in Jigawa state because there were allegations of govt interference and unjust disqualification of a candidate. Therefore, the election was postponed until we conclude investigation into matter.

“Only for me to receive a call that an election of NAWOJ is ongoing in Jigawa state. And I called the NUJ Secretary, Larai Musa, who is said to be at the helm of ongoing election, and I clearly told her to stop and suspend that election, but they refused and went ahead to swore in an illegal exco.

“We won’t recognise that NAWOJ exco and we won’t allow such interference and suppression in our union. We will do everything to protect the rights of NAWOJ members in Jigawa state and anywhere in Nigeria”, he added.

Responding on the matter, the state NUJ secretary, Larai Musa said, “a while ago I reached out to the leadership of NAWOJ notifying them about their tenure expiration and a need for a new election and executives, but their feedback was that they had already communicated with the national body on the issue, which is surprising considering the fact that, the state NUJ through my office as the state secretary oversees the affairs of NAWOJ.

“So, we went ahead and started our plans for a new election, an electoral committee was inaugurated, screened and confirmed by the national body of NAWOJ. The committee sold forms and candidates were screened and confirmed and an election date was announced.

“The security agencies and all relevant stakeholders were notified of the election date, but on that day, as the election was ongoing, I recieved a call from the NUJ President telling me to stop the election that there were petitions and a notice of postponement was issued, which I am not aware of.

“I know the serving chairperson was disqualified from the election by the national body of NAWOJ because of some alleged discrepacies in her school certificates, which has nothing to do with us as organisers of the election. Therefore, we went ahead with preparation for election not knowing that there was a petition and a notice stopping the election”

“And I had stepped out of the election venue when I got the NUJ President’s call, therefore, by the time, I got back to the venue, the election has been concluded and the winners were sworn in. How is this my fault?”, she stated.

On his part, the NUJ state chairman in Jigawa, Comrade Garba Bulungu said the illegal election is an insult to the NUJ in the state and at the national level.

“This election is a slap to the honour and intergrity of the NUJ in the state and at the national level. We received a petition on the election that a candidate was unjustly disqualified. Therefore, we issued a notice postponing the election till further notice only for some members to go ahead with the election behind our backs and swore in non-financial and ineligible persons as executives of NAWOJ. This is truly insulting.

“I was told that there were heavy security presence at the venue of the election and it was supported by a few high profile individuals in Jigawa govt, whether that is true or not, this development is unacceptable and we will do the needful to take NAWOJ, our union, back from these grabbers”.

Also responding to the allegation, the Chief Press Secretary to Jigawa state governor, Hamisu Muhammad Gumel said, his principal, the governor, has no interest whatsoever in any NAWOJ election and he wasn’t even aware of an illegal election and the govt has nothing to do with it.

“The governor has tremendous respect for labour and media unions, we will never interfere or suppress the activity of any union in Jigawa state”, he explained.

All efforts to reach the SSG’s office and the MD of Radio Jigawa, Yusuf Adamu Babura on the matter proved abortive as texts and Whatsapp messages were not responded to as at the time of filing this report.

According to the constitution, the NUJ supervises the electoral and administrative activities of NAWOJ nationwide.

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