By Aisha Cole
Lagos, Sept. 10, 2020 Mr Martins Oloja, Editor-in-Chief, The Guardian newspaper, has urged contestants in the upcoming Lagos State Council Election of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to engage in issue-based campaign.
Oloja said this on Thursday when the campaign team of Adeleye Ajayi, a chairmanship candidate, visited Guardian Newspapers’ Rutam House, Lagos.
“We need to restore respectability to journalists and engage in very decent campaign,”Oloja said.
Receiving the team, Mr Williams Alabi, the Daily Editor of The Guardian Newspapers, advised contestants to think about the welfare of journalists,
noting that many media houses could not pay staff salary.
He urged the contestants to prioritize the upliftment of members of the association.
“We must aspire to something, not just to occupy the position.
“We are constantly the ones criticising other people and it is worse when we become subject of the discussion,” Alabi said.
Also, the Saturday Editor of The Guardian, Mr Chuks Nwane, stressed the need for right guidance in the union, adding that journalists should learn to resolve issues amicably.
In his contribution, Mr Kabir Garba, also called for issue-based campaign and assured that Guardian staff would participate actively during the September 29 Lagos NUJ election.
Speaking earlier, Adeleye Ajayi, a Deputy Editor-in-Chief with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said he would adopt political solution to refund every subscriber in the abortive Pen Jewel Estate project, if elected chairman.
According to him, the Mowe/Ofada Pen Jewel Estate project has brought untold psychological trauma to many members of the union.
He said: “First and foremost, the most contentious issue of concern to the union is the failure of the NUJ/NAWOJ Pen Jewel Estate project.
“The project has become a perennial object of political campaign.
“Mowe/Ofada land project has been turned to an ‘ATM’ by some people who are milking innocent and unsuspecting NUJ members to pay for perimeter fencing, land clearing and topography fees, among others,”Ajayi said.
He said that there will be zero tolerance for corruption if he emerges chairman at the Sept. 29 polls.
Ajayi said he would ensure prudent management of the council funds and quarterly audit of NUJ account.
“I promise to be transparent and maintain proper record of accounts as well as regular audit of the accounts.
“I will not condone the siphoning of the union’s funds, no matter the exigency. There shall be SEC/EXCO’s approval before spending.
“I have zero tolerance for corruption. I will make accountability a priority if elected into this office. I have my integrity intact as the former President of Maritime Reporters of Nigeria (MARAN).
“I have come to recontest this seat in order to put our union back on the track. The Union has lost track and the union is divided sharply.
“I am not desperate but if you give me the mandate I will carry everyone along and will not disappoint you,” Ajayi told staff of The Guardian Newspapers.
The candidate vowed to jerk up the revenue of the council through massive investment drive in agribusiness, transportation and others to better the lot of members.
According to him, there will be capacity building and welfare scheme for members on regular basis to improve the lots of NUJ members.
He said that irregular salary payments by some publishers, failure to remit pensions and other ill-treatment of journalists must stop.
The aspirant said: “For journalists to have a comfortable and a healthy life, especially after retirement, they must be paid their pension entitlements.
“There should be life insurance, health insurance as well as an insurance portfolio that can take care of any journalist that loses his or her job, at least for a minimum period of six months,”Ajayi said.
NAN reports that the editors commended Ajayi’s innovative campaign strategies and urged him to fulfil his campaign promises
Ajayi was accomplished by Alfred Odifa, incumbent Lagos NUJ Secretary, Innocent Anaba, contesting for Financial Secretary, Biola Beckley, Vice Chairman, among others.