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Delta NUJ Caretaker Committee Concludes Screening Exercise, Clears 484 Journalists

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By Daniel Dafe

The much talked about screening exercise by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council to ascertain those qualified in the state has ended, as 484 members were cleared.

Recall that a Caretaker Committee was set-up as directed by the national body after a stalemate occurred, arising from arguments between contestants and their supporters of those eligible to vote during the botched election of state officers recently.

Speaking to Oasis Magazine (OM) during a phone conversation, the Chairman of the Committee, Comrade Sonia Unobunjo, said the process was tasking and challenging, adding that they have concluded, but were at the stage of allowing anyone with issues speak up before they move ahead.

She continued: “Once we are done now with looking into any issues raised, we will then go for the data capture of members and thereafter call for a congress and fix the date for the election of state executive members.

When asked the total number of those that participated, she disclosed that it was an issue of those qualified that came for the process, saying that about 20 persons apart from the 484 cleared came thinking it will be business as usual.

“Those not qualified were turned back since the Caretaker Committee was keen on sticking to the rules which are that anyone cleared must be professionally certified and gainfully employed,” she stated.

She added: “We are glad that we have been able to come up with a clean register that can be used for the NUJ Delta State Council election and other activities later.”

Speaking further, she recalled that the standard practice for state elections has been the use of the professional ID cards as clearance to enable members vote.

Adding: “Before the exercise, there were 350 members with ID Cards since some did not take part in the process when ID cards were produced for members.”

According to her, some NUJ members in the state saw it as witch-hunt when some persons wanted the ID card to be the determining factor for who can vote.

“The arguments then made us come up with the idea of a screening committee for members to make sure that no one is disenfranchised.”

ALSO READ: Delta NUJ Screening Exercise Progressing Well So Far— Committee

On the gains of the exercise for the union, she opined that this was a way to restore sanity to NUJ Delta.

Furthermore, she said: “We hope those that will eventually be elected will continue from where we stopped. We look forward to a time when they are talking about NMA and NBA they can also refer to NUJ with same respect and dignity accorded the two other groups.

“We believe that this exercise will take NUJ to the next level.”

Sonia called on the union in the state to remain united in peace, stressing that it was a professional body and everyone must act in a manner befitting of journalists.

On his part, a member of the Caretaker Committee, Nelson Agbajor, said that they are committed to the task given to them by the national executive.

He said: “The cleaning up of the register has been done and the names of verified journalists in the different chapels in the state have been made available,” adding that soonest, a date for the elections will be fixed so leaders to pilot the affairs of NUJ in the state can emerge.”

To those that have before now identified with the body but could not scale through the screening, he urged them not to despair but keep the flag flying, as he advised them to look out for ways to study journalism related courses.

He noted that the Caretaker Committee was given three months to finish up the task of cleaning up the register to the and holding the elections, but said that they plan to use two months to complete the whole process.

Agbajor also commended the Commissioner for Information, Delta State, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, for the support he gave to the Committee in terms of logistics and other areas.

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