More startling revelations have emerged on how the dissident Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo state Council, Christopher Akaraonye conspired with two past chairmen of the union to sell the Imo NUJ Secretariat to the former governor of Imo state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
This revelation was made by one of Akaraonye’s supporters who pleaded anonymity. He said, though he was part of the deal from the onset but was sidelined along the line, hence his anger against them.
“The initial idea was to tell journalists in the state that they were renting out the facility to avoid probing questions and eyes brows being raised, when in the actual sense, it was planned to be an outright sale”.
The source revealed that he was at the meeting where the issue was discussed, and the amount involved agreed on. When the idea of involving the National President of NUJ was raised, Former Governor Okorocha told them to leave that for him, stressing that he was one of those who financed his election for the office of NUJ National President. “When Isiguzo was eventually involved and an agreement on how much he would be paid at the end of the deal reached, he allegedly gave his nod for the secretariat to be sold without considering the long term implications. This decision was taken without recourse to members of the union in the state.”
It was also gathered that, “after perfecting the deal, they served all occupants of the secretariat quit notices and told to pack out within a stipulated time on the ground that the place had been rented out. This was however, a ploy to enable the anticipated buyer take possession”.
It was at this point that the burble burst, as journalists in the state found out what was happening and raised alarm. Hence, Isiguzo, the two former chairmen and Okorocha abandoned the deal.
The source further hinted that, “Okorocha and his agents are still asking for the money they had already paid as deposit for the transaction since the deal did not sail through while Akaraonye and his group have tried to convince them that the fault was not theirs as they did all they could to facilitate the deal before the attendant public outcry that drew attention to and truncated the deal.
Meanwhile, the Precious Nwadike led Caretaker Committee of Imo NUJ is said to be strategizing on how to recover all monies due to the union that were misappropriated by the past leadership under different guises.
Some media practitioners in the state who commented on the issue, berated Akaraonye and his group for exhibiting such alleged criminal and fraudulent intent against the wish and overall interest of Imo journalists.