…Hoodlums smashed ballot boxes
…As national body okays caretaker Committee
From: WOLE BALOGUN, Ado-Ekiti
Pandemonium broke out, on Wednesday, during election that would have produced new elected executives of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ekiti State chapter, as some enraged members suspected to be of the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES) and rhe State Information Chapel disrupted the poll, smashing ballot boxes.
Trouble started a few hours into the election when security operatives comprising policemen drafted to the venue suddenly withdrew.
Following the development, the national body of the union through its Senior
Assistant National Secretary, Gbenga Bamidele, announced the constitution of five-member caretaker committee to pilot the affairs
of the union.
Members of the committee, set up in line with Article 5 of NUJ
constitution, included: Amos Ogunrinde (chairman), Yaqoub
Popoola (Secretary), while Tunji Saliu, Rotimi Funke and Samson Falowo are members.
A statement issued by the body said: “members of the committee were
selected based on individual merit and more importantly, in the
interest of the union.
“The credential committee for the aborted election is hereby
dissolved. The property of the state council should be handed over to
the committee with immediate effect”, it stated.
Former NUJ Chairman, Akogun Tai Oguntayo, described the step taken as a welcome development, saying :”it will help in averting chaos in
The aggrieved members, who booed the National Vice President, Zone B,
Mr Cosmas Oni, who came to conduct the election, nearly lynched the NUJ representative, the Chairman of NUJ in Oyo State, Mr. Wumi Faniran, his Secretary, Mr. Bola Ogunlayi and others from Ogun and Osun councils.
The election, which started around 11.17am was disrupted when the members of the BSES , who had commenced voting heard that 19 out of 73 names presented by the chapel were qualified to vote.
Sign that the election may be tension-soaked had been manifesting in the last couple of weeks, as BSES and State Information members had
allegedly occupied the NUJ online platform, where they cast aspersions
on candidates not from their chapels.
Meanwhile, to prevent the election from being disrupted, the
Commissioner of police, Mr. Abdullahi Chafe, had deployed men of the operation Flush in the NUJ Secretariat located at Oke Ayoba Way, Ado Ekiti capital city.
Daily Sun leanrt that argument ensured between members of the NUJ electoral body and the
agent from BSES, Mr Kelechi David over the latter’s insistence that the
73 members from the chapel must vote against the national body’s
position that only 19 of them paid the required check off dues.
“As the argument rages , some senior members from the two chapels
manhandled the policemen at the door and moved into the hall where
the ballot boxes were stationed containing few ballot papers of those
that had voted.
One of the NUJECO members, who craved anonymity said: “The aggrieved BSES and information chapels started by dismantling the canopy erected in front of the secretariat to provide cover for members before surging forward towards the electoral body.
“At this point, the police were called by some powerful people
suspected to be working for one of the candidates and they immediately
left the scene ..
“This gave the aggrieved members the opportunity to enter the hall and
destroyed the ballot boxes as they chanted no election.
“At this point, members from other chapels fled in different
directions and the NUJ representatives and NUJECO members hurriedly
left the venue”.
The Vanguard Correspondent in Ekiti State and immediate Chairman of
the Correspondents’ Chapel, Com. Rotimi Ojomoyela and a member of the Information Chapel, were the candidates for the Chairmanship position.
The immediate past Secretary, Mrs Roke Samo and Yemi Omotola are
vying for the position of Vice Chairman, Mr. Kayode Babatuyi of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and Aknwale Olaoye of the BSES for the Secretaryship position.
Others, who were to be returned unopposed include: Tolulope Ayo-Ajayi as Auditor and Michael Olaleye of the Nigerian Television
Authority(NTA) as Treasurer.