Journalists condemn election nullification by Abuja

The Correspondents’ Chapel and the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Osun State have both condemned the nullification of the State Council election by the National body.

The Chapel expressed amazement at the annulment of February 10 election, describing it as unconstitutional and unprecedented in the annals of journalism in Nigeria.

In a communiqué issued at its Special Congress held on Friday, March 4, 2016, the Correspondents rejected in its entirety, the nullification of an election that was described as free, fair, peaceful and credible by all observers.

The Association of newspapers and broadcast media professionals noted that cancellation of the poll because of a frivolous petition that was neither investigated nor discussed at either the National Executive Council or the National Congress cannot stand.

“The Chapel maintains that it was wrong for the National Secretariat to have annulled the election despite the fact that the result of the election was generally acceptable to all members of our union in Osun State including the losers who embraced and congratulated the winners after the election.

 “We posit that if there was any petition concerning the election, the decision on the annulment could only have been discussed by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of NUJ. Consequently, any attempt to conduct another election in Osun NUJ now, will not promote love among our colleagues but create hatred, enmity, division and further polarise the council.”

The communiqué which described the development as a stain on a revered union indicted the National Secretariat particularly its President, Waheed Odusile of an attempt to subvert a peaceful transition with the aim of imposing his choice candidates.

“The Chapel maintains that the election was properly conducted and supervised by three (3) National officers of NUJ including the Deputy National Secretary, Mr Gbenga Bamidele; the Vice President B Zone; Mr Cosmas Oni and a National Trustee member, Mr Bamgbola Gbolagunte who represented the NEC while the Chairmen of Ogun and Ondo State Councils, Wole Sokunbi and James Showole were also among observers that monitored the election and all these top NUJ officers pronounced the election as free, fair and credible, after which the elected officers were sworn and we wonder why this sudden annulment.

“Our appeal goes to the National Secretariat, in the interest of integrity, justice, fairness and posterity to uphold the result of the election, as doing otherwise will further polarise and disunite the members of NUJ in Osun State.”

The Correspondents’ Chapel also condemned the role played by the Vice President B-Zone, Mr Cosmas Oni who, rather than perform the role of an arbiter, attempted to manipulate and truncate the process before, during and after the exercise.

“It is unbelievable, unthinkable and ridiculous to discover that the same Cosmas Oni, who agreed with the State electoral body (NUJECO) to co-sign, and approve the candidates’ lists used in the election, is the same individual who wrote to support a frivolous petition against the result of the election.”

In a separate release made available to Voice of Nigeria, the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria also condemned the nullification of the election, wondering why the National body will claim to be more concerned than the State.

“We vehemently reject the purported annulment of the result of a free and fair election into the State Council of NUJ Osun State which produced Comrade Biodun Olalere-led executive committee. We wonder why Waheed Odusile is weeping more than the bereaved by raising non issues in our State.”

The SWAN which joined the Correspondents’ Chapel in distancing itself from any other poll after a free and fair election had been held threatened not to give in to any intimidation from any quarters even as it appeals to Governor Rauf Aregbesola and well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the National President not to foment trouble in the state.

“Our appeal goes to the National Secretariat, in the interest of integrity, justice, fairness and posterity to uphold the result of the election, as doing otherwise will further polarise and disunite the members of NUJ in Osun State,” it advised.

Nnenna.O