COMMUNIQUE OF THE AUGUST CONGRESS OF THE NIGERIA UNION OF JOURNALISTS, NUJ, ANAMBRA STATE COUNCIL HELD ON 3RD DAY OF AUGUST, 2023 AT THE GODWIN EZEEMO INTERNATIONAL PRESS CENTER, NUJ SECRETARIAT COMPLEX, AWKA, ANAMBRA STATE
The Chairman of the NUJ Anambra State Council, Comrade Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, PhD presided.
In his opening remarks ,he commended members for turning up in their good numbers to the congress for the union makes us strong. He warned journalists who are practicing but not members of the Union to strongly identify with the union amd not only to run to the union when they have issues. He decried the non-challant attitude of some journalists practicing in Anambra State particularly those young people who do not attend congress even though members but will be quick to raise alarm when they have need for members to be with them and would not see anyone because they don’t participate actively in congress and when it’s for others.
He sounded a wake up call for all Patrons of the NUJ to strongly identify with the union and play their advisory roles while alive and not for the families to only remember they are NUJ Patrons only at death. He reminded that Patrons are responsible to guide the union for a better union in all ramifications and not just for the name sake.
He also encouraged all those who were and would still be recipients of NUJ Awards at any level to be above board in their dealings in the society as NUJ members practicing journalism in all sincerity won’t spare them simply because they are friends , Patrons or award recipients of the Union. He encouraged those owing the union pledges and donations to redeem them as it’s better not to make public donation rather than make and could not redeem.
He encouraged journalists to stand by the society always in defense of truth, justice and equity for an egalitarian society, particularly the weak and downtrodden who could not afford the media to defend themselves.
Some of the issues resolved at the August congress as captured by the Communique drafting committee were:
The congress expressed gratitude to the Governor, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo led government for re-aborsbing the workers of shut Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), the publishers of National Light Newspapers , Ka Odita , an Igbo newspaper, Sports Light to various Ministries of the government. Congress notes that posting for the workers of National Light Newspapers have been concluded and they shall report to their new duty posts for documentation before the end of August.
Comgress lauded the NUJ chairman, Comrade Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, PhD and his executive for their resilience, focus and commitment in ensuring that members working in National Light were not exposed to hardship due to the secret closure of the organization without broader consultation. Congress also commended the Head of Service, HOS, Barr Theodora Okwy Igwegbe, mni for her patience in the entire saga. Congress also commended the Chairman Anambra State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Humphrey Emeka Nwafor, KSJI and other Labour leaders as well as veterans for the solidarity to NUJ when beckoned on by the Chairman, Comrade Odogwu. Congress as well commended NUPPPPROW for not working at cross purposes during the negotiations which helped their members working at National Light Newspapers to benefit from the reinstatement.
Congress noted that the jaw jaw utilized in resolving the issue portrayed the Soludo government as a listening government and encouraged the government to utilize same jawjaw in resolving all labour related issues in the state for a peaceful and harmonious state.
Congress had reservations for the outright closure of the National Light Newspapers, the only state owned newspaper outfit employing journalists and others who read courses in the unbundled Mass Communication whereas thousands of other professionals are employed daily. Congress frowned at the attitude of members of those panels government constituted that recommended the closure of National Light Newspapers without recourse to hear the opinion of the workers and the practicing body like NUJ and NUPPPPROW. Congress encouraged Governor Soludo to rebrand National Light Newspapers to represent hi-tech digital era for upcoming journalists to have a place within the state to horn their trades either way. Congress said its willing to partner government to streamline the profitability of National Light Newspapers if given the opportunity in order to ensure it’s not recorded that during Governor Soludo journalists and a media organization are shortchanged/sabotaged. Congress noted the explanations of the Governor over work attitude in then National Light but lamented that such closure shouldn’t have been, but rebranding to meet international best practices and Viability on investment with limited workers.
Congress raised alarm on the dilapidated state of Basden Memorial Special School in Isulo, Orumba North L.G.A. and called.on government and public spirited individuals to assist the school bounce back. Congress made a passionate appeal.to Anambra governor’s wife, Mrs. Nonye Soludo, and other well-meaning individuals to support special schools in the state, particularly the Basden Memorial special school, Isulo.
Congress also commended the state government’s efforts in enhancing the aesthetics of the state by demolishing shanties and similar structures,but, however, appealed to the government to carry out these demolitions with a human face, ensuring that the goods and property of the occupants are not destroyed recklessly or punitively in the process. Congress suggested that providing an alternative for the displaced traders may not be out of place.
Congress expressed appreciation to the security agencies for their efforts in addressing security challenges in the state, calling on the authorities to deploy non-uniformed officers to monitor the activities of tricycle “keke” riders to curb criminal activities associated with them and others. Congress frowned at the resurgence of cult related killings in some cities in Anambra state and called on the CP and DSS state Director to rise to the occasion.
Congress notes that the primary duties of journalists in the state as members of the “4th Estate of the realm” in advocating for the downtrodden in society for a better society. That the role of journalists as moral barometers and conscience of the society should never be compromised or traded not minding whose ox is gored. The watchdog roles must go on unhindered.
Congress expressed appreciation to Superior Police Reverend Chimdiebele Nkemsinachi JosephVictor Enukaora-Nwobi who has continued to shout on the roof tops on the glory of NUJ in Anambra state and society at large since NUJ gave him an award in Humanitarian Service for his outstanding charity works at his age, even a priest in God’s Vinyard.
Congress warned overzealous security agents and aides to public officials to desist from putting journalists in harms way by trying to be smart by half. Congress warned that any attempt to undermine the duties journalists perform shall be resisted by the union and called for support to journalists with proper and verifiable information to serve the society better.
*Congress frowned at the resurgence of touts in different forms harassing and extorting citizens for different levies of government and appealed for a digitized revenue collections methodology or refined approach to avoid painting the Soludo government bad.
Post script: Congress was notified that the NUJ Anambra man of the year awards holds on 2nd November, 2023 barring any hitches. The search for the NUJ man of the year is on. The personality must be outstanding, and with a towering dossier in all ramifications and must not be an indigene of the state to be so nominated.
Communique Drafting committee
Onyinye Agubaeze Ifeanyi Okonkwo Dr Ifeanyi Val Obiefuna
Comrade Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, PhD Chairman NUJ Anambra State Council 08060750240
Comrade Aloysius Ofodile KSJI