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NUJ Protests Nasarawa Govt’s Interference In Chapel Election
By Godwin Ojoshimite
Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, has been called upon to sanction his spokesman for allegedly interfering with the election of executives of the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, in the state.
The director of press to the governor, Illiyasu Yakubu, is alleged by the new executive members of the chapel to have supported the emergence of a splinter group after the election.
He was further accused of giving his official vehicle, a white Toyota Hiace bus with Government House registration number NSGH 50, to members of the splinter group to visit media houses to announce their victory.
The call to the governor is contained in a communique issued at the end of the inaugural meeting of the newly elected executives of the chapel.
“The congress wishes to draw the attention of the state government to the fact that the illegal action of some of the members was facilitated with the use of a White 18 Seater Toyota bus with Government House registration number NSGH 50,” the communique read.
“The congress therefore urged the state government to investigate and sanction the within 48 hours, the officer whose official vehicle was used”.
According to the statement, following the election, Chuwang Dungs of the Sunrise Newspaper emerged as chairman having polled 13 votes as against eight votes by Ali Abare of Peoples Daily Newspaper.
Suleiman Abubakar of Nagarta Radio reportedly polled 11 votes to defeat Peter Ahemba of Nigerian Pilot Newspaper, who scored 10 votes, while Isaac Ukpoju of the News Agency of Nigeria was returned unopposed as the secretary of the chapel.
The communique which was signed by Dungs and Ukpoju condemned the action of some of its members who went to some mediaorganization in the state to make announcement contrary to the results of the election.
It however, commended the zonal national secretary of the NUJ, Wilson Bako, for supervising the election and inaugurating the new executives of the chapel.
Meanwhile, Yakubu has denied allegations that he is the brain behind the rebel group of the correspondent chapel.
“It is a blatant lie. I was only told about the election when the screening committee came to government house and invited me for the chapel’s election and i asked them what my business was with the election of the correspondents’ chapel because I have my own duty to attend to. I cannot sponsor anybody. If you have your crisis, you have your crisis”, Illiyasu said.
He also denied that his official vehicle was used in conveying members of the splinter group to various media houses to declare other persons as the winner of the election.
“It is a blatant lie because as we are speaking now, i don’t even know if my bus was there. I was not personally there and my bus was not used by any person yesterday,” he said.
Illiyasu equally dismissed insinuations that he would side-line new executives of the Correspondents Chapel and embrace the splinter group now known as Correspondents Forum at government organised functions.