The lingering squabble and face off, between the Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba and the Imo State chairperson of the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and suspended staff of the Imo Broadcasting Corporation, IBC (now recalled), Barr Mrs Vivian Ottih is not yet over as the commissioner and his surrogates are still alleged to be fighting bold and courageous women journalist for strongly opposing the proposed fraudulent sale of the Nigerian Union of Journalists secretariat located at No 14 Commissioners’ quarters along Port Harcourt Road, accommodating a number of houses including the press centre and the International Institute of Journalism Owerri, the only such professional journalism institute in the South East.
Initially, the Hon Commissioner a former lawmaker and well-known journalist had no problem with the female journalists leader until he began to hob-nob with some dissident journalists led by a retired Ministry of Information photographer who along with his accomplices had sinister plans to sell the NUJ secretariat a move opposed by members of the union.
It was revealed that on the assumption of duty as Commissioner, the duo of Chris Akaraonye and Innocent Igwe visited him and used the occasion to brief him about the proposed sale of the complex, a multi-million naira deal which also involved the former Imo State governor and he suddenly became more favourably disposed to supporting and protecting Akaronye and all those who hatched the plan.
However the secret fraudulent deal leaked to members of the NUJ including NAWOJ who opposed it and vehemently agitated against the proposed illegal sale.
It was said that it was the strong opposition that brought the NAWOJ chairperson into trouble which later led to her suspension and non payment of salary of staff of IBC where she worked.
A source close to the commissioner revealed that Chief Emelumba had vowed that Barrister Mrs Ottih won’t remain or be returned as Chairperson of Imo State chapter of NAWOJ.
Even when the Imo State governor Senator Hope Uzodinma has ordered for reinstatement of the lawyer/journalist and upon resumption of duty, Chief Emelumba is still fighting the woman using top ranking staff of the IBC loyal to him.
Another source close to Emelumba was quoted as saying that, “the only issue Chief Emelumba has with Barrister Vivian Ottih is that she is “stiff necked” and non complaint without explaining in what area the woman is non compliant.
It would be recalled that the knotty issue of the proposed sale of Imo NUJ secretariat for which Mrs Ottih is being “crucified”, had torn Imo NUJ apart to the point of litigation on leadership until recently when some progressive minded journalists led by Comrade Precious Nwadike took the bull by the horn to recover the secretariat.
It would be recalled that the Caretaker Committee of Imo NUJ led by Comrade Precious Nwadike revealed startling issues on the matter. According to an insider source, “the recent astounding revelations has further agitated and provoked the Comrade Precious Nwadike led caretaker committee into stepping up their demand for justice.
The union which had earlier petitioned the Imo Stale Commissioner of Police to investigate the circumstance that led to the vandalization of the union’s secretariat and bring the culprits to book is also insisting that the duo of Chris Akaraonye and Innocent Igwe be dragged to anti graft agencies for explanation”.
“The leadership and members of the union are disappointed that Akaraonye, Igwe and their co-conspirators, rather than explain to the Union what went wrong and plead for soft landing when it dawned on them that the burble had burst, ran to the Commissioner for Information, Mr Declan Emelumba for protection. This is and will remain their albatross because justice must not only prevail but seen to have prevailed. They went beyond reasonable limits in their nefarious antics”.
“Can you imagine that aside vandalizing the secretariat, they turned the facility to a brothel, rented part of it out to tenants and appropriated all the revenue that should have gone into the coffers of the union to themselves”, revealed a source.