·        Presents Certificate of Occupancy to Caretaker Committee

-Commends Nwadike-led exco

A veteran journalist and one time Assistant State Secretary, Secretary and later, Chairman of the Imo state council of Nigeria Union of Journalists,Chief Ben Osuagwu has called on relevant agencies including the police  and the Imo state government to, as a matter of urgency investigate the circumstances  that led to the vandalization of the union’s secretariat located at No. 14 Commissioners Quarters, along Port Harcourt road, with a view to bringing those directly or indirectly involved  in the reprehensible act to book.

Chief Osuagwu who is presently the Special Adviser, Media to Chief Engr Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu (Ahaeji Aga Mba) stated this on Tuesday October 19, 2021 while presenting the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of the edifice to the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Imo NUJ, Comrade Precious Nwadike at the union’s secretariat.

He commended members of the Nwadike led exco for their excellent performance within a very short time. He said, “I am happy with the performance of the Comrade Precious Nwadike-led Caretaker Committee of Imo NUJ, which is working assiduously to renovate the vandalized secretariat and restore the lost glory of the union. I learnt that some parts of the secretariat have been renovated while work is ongoing in other areas. This is quite commendable”.

He recalled how he and other veterans made presentations to the Governor, who told his ADC, Alili to take them round some facilities for them to choose which one they wanted. “At the end, our choice was narrowed to the present location of the secretariat.”

He regretted that the secretariat which he, alongside other patriotic and committed veterans labored so hard to acquire during former Military Governor, Amadi Ikwechegh’s tenure with the assistance of Senator Chris Anyanwu who was then the Commissioner for Information was vandalized, plundered and left in very poor and deplorable condition by some selfish and misguided elements  with ulterior motives.”

Responding to a question, the renowned veteran journalist whose contributions to the growth of the profession remain reference points said, it is fraudulent for any person or group of persons to sell or purport to sell an organization or union’s property without the consent of members who should deliberate on the issue and give their approval.

“Before any property belonging to an organization or union is sold, the members must be summoned to a meeting or General Assembly where the issue would be tabled for deliberation and reasons for the proposed sale given and considered on merit. Nobody has the right to unilaterally sell the union’s property to any person no matter how highly placed.”

“Those plotting or allegedly plotted to do so should be identified and made to face the wrath of the law. Are they vandals, fraudsters, or misguided leaders and members of the union.”

“The only people I recognize as leaders of the union in the state are those operating from the Port Harcourt Road secretariat because that is the only  place I know as Imo NUJ Secretariat. Those operating from any other place, as far as I am concerned are on their own.”

Chief Osuagwu also tasked the leadership of the union in the state to streamline issues and sanitize the system with a view to getting rid of quacks, non professionals and gate crashers who lack the requisite training and qualification to practice journalism.

“NUJ is a professional body and not an all comers affair. I challenge the union to streamline issues by stopping non professionals who parade themselves as journalists from rubbishing the profession. Before you pick up your pen to write, you must be qualified and before anybody publishes anything, he should ensure that the person who sent the material is a qualified journalist. There are reports of places where those who head or aspire to head some councils are non journalists. This is highly regrettable. “That one works in the commercial department of a radio station or at the Ministry of Information does not make the person a journalist.”

“Comrade Bonny Iwuoha, who was in the National leadership of NUJ, myself and some other people facilitated the location of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) in Owerri, liased with the management of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede for the commencement of a department of Mass Communication at the institution. We also met Prof Umuezuruike who was the Vice Chancellor of Abia State University for the Commencement of a program in Mass Communication there to provide opportunity for those who aspire to be journalists to obtain the requisite training.”

He also stated that the constitution of the Nigeria Union of Journalists has provision of a Caretaker Committee when there is compelling need as the case in Imo State where the election was inconclusive.