The Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo State Council has disclaimed and dissociated its self from the proposed merit award to be conferred on the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum by the Christopher Akaraonye led dissident group of the union that reportedly lacks the backing and acceptance of practicing journalists in the state who have continued to resist the imposition of Christopher Akaraonye who retired as a photographer from the Ministry of Information on the union.
The union accused the Commissioner for Information, Declan Emelumba of fuelling crisis in the union by tacitly supporting non journalists and retirees who do not have requisite training and qualifications to practice journalism, what more, occupying leadership positions to destabilize the union in the state for personal gain.
The chairman of the Caretaker Committee of Imo NUJ, Comrade Precious Nwadike said, “we have continued to distance and dissociate the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo State Council from all the unethical and unprofessional action and conduct of Chris Akaraonye, including the proposed fake, frivolous and unnecessary award they have planned to confer on the Borno State Govenror, Babagana Zulum”.
Comrade Nwadike who stated this while addressing journalists in Owerri yesterday pointed out that, “Chris Akaraonye has in his bid for undue recognition and personal gratification, reduced and almost destroyed the respect, dignity and integrity of Imo NUJ by the frivolous and questionable awards, especially since the emergence of Declan Emelumba as the Commissioner for Information”.
He regretted that it has got to a point as alleged by some sources that Emelumba personally writes press releases and mandates Akaraonye to sign on behalf of Imo NUJ because he, Akaraonye as an untrained journalist lacks the capacity to do so.We have reason to believe such to be true knowing who Akaraonye is.Moreso, when he has failed to make public any certificate that qualifies him as a journalist.
“No wonder he plays to the gallery and purportedly issues releases that support and favour the state government, whenever a journalist is attacked, molested or has his rights infringed on by officials and appointees of government”.
Comrade Nwadike called on the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma to call Emelumba to order and prevail on him to cut down on his excesses through which he creates enemity between the state government and interest groups.
Some journalists who pleaded anonymity expressed disgust at the attitude of Chris Akaraonye and his group who they said are being backed and supported by Emelumba who allegedly intends to benefit from the looting and plunder of the union in the state. “We are aware of their desperation to protect their interests which include ensuring that the Union’s Guest House which the immediate past leadership converted to a brothel remains so, despite our effort and determination to sanitize the system and ensure probity”.
“They are scared of the transformation agenda of the present Caretaker Committee that intends to shut down the secretariat for renovation and subsequently probing their activities”.
Continuing, Nwadike said, “the renewed onslaught by the Akaraonye led dissident group with the support of the Commissioner for Information against the Caretaker Committee is probably geared towards frustrating investigations into the whereabout of the over
N80million allegedly collected from management of the Press Centre, N20m allegedly collected in their bid to sell the secretariat as well as the strange deal with Tonimas Company”.