The Credentials and Electoral Committee that conducted the election of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Imo state chapter at the NUJ Press Centre/Secretariat last weekend had declared and affirmed Barr. (Mrs) Vivian Ottih as the authentic winner of the chairmanship position. Thus, the Staff of Imo broadcasting Corporation (IBC) suspended nursing mother has been duly elected to run the association for the second tenure in accordance with the provisions of the associations constitution.

The chairman of the Credential and Electoral Committee that conducted the election,Mrs Stephanie Michael in a press release issued in Owerri on Wednesday May 26, and made available to the newsmen narrated how the election was conducted and how some persons tried to infiltrate the process of the exercise by hijacking and diverting the attention of the appointed national officers assigned to supervise the election  which was duly conducted with winners emerging.

in the press release, the election committee said her attention had been drawn to “disclaimer letter purportedly written by the National President and Secretary of NAWOJ over the just concluded election and warned that she will not tolerate a situation where her integrity will be called to question after naming Vivian Ottih the winner of the chairmanship position.

She also objected to a situation whereby the National President and Secretary will turn round to issue a disclaimer on the winner and by extension cast aspersion on her person she stated that while she respects the office of the National leadership of NAWOJ, it is equally pertinent they respect their member especially when assigned with responsibilities for the association.She went ahead to narrate what transpired and part of her release inter alia reads;

“Let me state the facts clearly. I was nominated to serve as the Credentials Committee Chairman for the election, alongside Mrs Patience Ogujiofor as Secretary and Mrs Constance Ekeocha as member.

While we screened all the aspirants, we disqualified some persons for not meeting the attendance criteria as enshrined in our constitution.

However, the national leadership in a letter signed by the National secretary Helen Udofa overruled our decision and cleared already disqualified persons and disqualified cleared candidates for spurious reasons. This is against the constitution of Union which states in ARTICLE 5, paragraph 9b on page 14 that ‘The Credentials committee shall have powers to screen candidates for election National/ State offices of the Union. 

Let me state for emphasis sake that the only venue NAWOJ Imo State chapter has used is the approved Secretariat of our parent body, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Port Harcourt road.

As the Credentials Committee Chairman, at no point was my integrity called to question throughout the process. 

My Committee made hotel reservations for the two officials of NAWOJ sent by the national body TO OBSERVE THE ELECTION but to our greatest surprises, Information has it they were diverted and lodged in Ibis Royal Royal Hotel owned by a brother to the STATE commissioner for Information, Chief Declan Emelumba.

Further, we had made arrangements for adequate security by the Imo State Police command and DSS, and they were all on ground on the day of the election. 

However on Friday night preceding the election day, the Credentials Committee Secretary without my knowledge posted an information on some WhatsApp platforms that the venue has been changed to another location which I and the other members countered because we could not guarantee the safety of members. Moreover, the said location was a subject of contention among members in the State. 

The NUJ constitution that guides NAWOJ activities stipulates in ARTICLE 5, paragraph 9c that “The Credentials Committee shall act Independently of the National President, National secretary and any other National officer during  CONDUCT ELECTIONS.

The question now is how did the NAWOJ National leadership know about the supposed new venue if we did not suggest it and they are not in our state platform where it was argued and members vehemently rejected the idea?

The election I conducted was for certified members of NAWOJ in Imo State, and I must add that they are less than 80 persons put together not excluding retired  and dead members 

It is pertinent to state that the personal documents of an aspirant kept in the care of the Committee Secretary leaked and was shared in different platforms, I still marvel how a non aspirant got hold of it and wrote a petition against a lady we cleared. 

Let me restate for the umpteenth time that the validly elected IMO  STATE NAWOJ Chairman is Barrister Vivian Ottih, Chika Ewurum as Secretary, and Delight Nmesomma Okoronkwo as the Financial Secretary of Imo NAWOJ.

Let me warn that I will not hesitate to take up lawful means to restate my integrity which was carefully built with dint of hardwork.

Any other person(s) laying claims to Imo NAWOJ are simply impostors, and must be stopped.”