The National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mallam Mohammed Garba, has promised that the forthcoming elections into the union’s national executive would be free and fair.
The president stated this while receiving members of the Garba Women’s Support Group who paid him a Solidarity visit yesterday at the National Secretariat in Abuja.
According to him, the incumbent executive has set a fair playing ground for the election, pointing out that members of the electoral committee are made up of representatives from all the zones in the union, to ensure that the interest of all parties involved is protected.
This, he said, would make it difficult to manipulate the elections, just as he warned against politics of blackmail, arguing that all candidates must adhere to issue based campaign given the role the union has played in the country in achieving credible democracy.
Garba, who is seeking re-election as president of the NUJ said he was seeking second term to consolidate on projects on ground by his administration.
He explained that the union under his leadership has undergone a lot of transformation in terms of professionalism and welfare of members and practitioners of journalism in Nigeria, just as he remained committed to initiating programmes and policies that would enhance journalism.
Garba who is also the president of West African Journalists further disclosed that his administration had successfully processed and has in its possession the Certificate of Occupancy for a permanent site located in the Mabushi area of Abuja which has been in existence for over 20 years, even as construction of office complex as well as classroom blocks for the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) were almost 60 percent complete.
He restated his commitment to ensuring that the union’s national secretariat and the IIJ were moved from rented apartment to the permanent site before the end of the year.
While expressing confidence that the insurance policy for journalists initiated by his administration would be improved on, the NUJ president decried the attitude of Nigerians as well as journalists towards insurance which he said was affecting the policy.
The policy which he said was affordable and attractive, he explained started as a trial project so as to sensitise journalists on the importance of insurance.
He disclosed that the leadership of the union was working on making the policy compulsory for all journalists by the year 2013, through the mandate of the NUJ National Executive Council (NEC) so that it becomes a criteria for the employment of journalists.