Enugu State government and factionalism of NUJ in the State

MAURICE OKAFOR writes that the ugly incidence at the NUJ Press Center, Enugu, on Saturday, May 18, which unfortunately led to the evacuation of COVID -19 palliatives brought by the Enugu State Government for journalists in the state, exposed the lingering crack in the State Council of the union and also exposed the ugly affairs im union’s relationship with the state government.

The palliative com­mittee headed by the deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs.) Cecelia Ezei­lo, wo was represented by the Leader of Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon Emeka Ezeugwu, and the Commissioner for Infor­mation, Hon Chidi Aroh, Hon. Geoffrey Mbah, rep­resenting Oji River Con­stituency, among others, gave adequate publicity to the envisaged sharing of the government’s pal­liatives to journalists in the state at the Nigeria Union of Journalist[NUJ] Enugu state Council arena, locat­ed at No 4 Rangers, avenue, Independence layout Enu­gu, the previous day.

Dialogue on how to share the palliatives among the Journalists between the Enugu state NUJ EXCO led by Comrade Rex Arum and the palliative commit­tee went into deadlock over arguments to recognize the existence of a faction of NUJ within the Council, whereas RATTAWU peace­fully took the packs allotted to them.

The State commissioner for information, Hon Chidi Aroh, earlier stressed that the committee did not come to delve into the State NUJ internal wrangling but have a duty to ensure that all Journalists in the state ben­efit from the palliatives as the state government’s own contribution to cushion the adverse effects of the COV­ID-19 pandemic on their welfare.

The suggestion of Com­rade Rex Arum led NUJ Enugu state EXCO to take over the distribution of the palliatives among the Chapels was rejected by some group of journal­ists who have their loyalty to Comrade Petrus Obi, the elected National Vice Chairman, in charge of Zone Comprising Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Anambra and Imo state councils of the union, but who cur­rently is suspended by the National executive of the Union led by Comrade Chris Isiguzo, over alleged anti-union affairs.

However, Comrade Obi is challenging his suspen­sion at Industrial Court, Abuja, also with claims that Comrade Chris Isigu­zo is not qualified to be elected President of Nige­ria Union of Journalists.

With the unresolved im­passe on how to share the portion of Government palliatives, the state com­missioner for information, Hon Chidi Aroh, said the palliative committee took a decision to withhold the NUJ portion of the pallia­tives, as a measure to con­trol the chaotic situation.

Mixed feelings and reac­tions had since trailed the ugly incident from within and outside the state, es­pecially from men of the pen profession. Many ex­pressed the view that if the palliative committee had succeeded in sharing the palliatives within the NUJ press center without the guide of the state NUJ EXCO, it will tantamount to the claim that the state government does not rec­ognize the constituted and elected Enugu state NUJ EXCO led by Comrade Rex Arum.

But, the fears of Com­rade Petrus Obi was that members of his acclaimed faction would not be accommodated by the Comrade Rex Arum led state council if handed over to them. Comrade Obi had since opened an acclaimed faction of NUJ at both state council lev­el and the Correspond­ents’ chapel level even as the suit against National leadership of the union is pending at Industrial court Abuja.

The AUTHORITY checks revealed that the whole cold war of the ex­istence of two fractions and any other, internal bickering within Nige­rian Union of Journalists in Enugu state can be de­scribed as a fallout of the lingering Union’s political difference between NUJ President Comrade Chris Isiguzo, Comrade Petrus Obi, the elected Zonal Vice President, Zone C, but currently on suspen­sion and Comrade Mrs Chibota Edozie, who was once elected Zonal Chair­lady of National Associa­tion of Women Journal­ists [ NAWOJ], but also currently on suspension.

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