Independent Newspaper Staffer Emerges Chairman NUJ FCT Correspondence Chapel


It was a moment of joy and expression of hope and excitement on Saturday as a leading photojournalist/reporter with the Daily Independent newspaper in Abuja, Mr Jide Oyekunle, became the Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory Correspondents Chapel.

Mr Oyekunle until his election to the chairmanship position of the Union was the Secretary General for two terms serving with two different chairmen in the process.

The ace journalist who assured colleagues of his resolve to tackle harassment of Journalists by security operatives, as well as wage war against fake journalists in the FCT, emerged unopposed alongside his Vice, Ms Grace Ike of the Silverbird Group, to succeed Mr Philip Nyam of the New Telegraph, Abuja Bureau, and Huram King of Gotel television respectively.

Both Mr. Oyekunle, the new chairman and his Vice, Ms. Ike cover the National Assembly alongside, with the latter currently chairing the House of Representatives Press Corps.

Out of the four-man executive elected and inaugurated on Saturday, the House Press Corps produced three, including the Treasurer, Mr. Emmanuel Ehijene of Plus TV Africa while Raphael Oni of Diplomat Magazine emerged as the Secretary.

Speaking shortly after their inauguration, the Chairman said himself and the outgone Exco had to “rescue the Chapel three years ago from the hands of those who wanted to trade with it and bring the image and reputation of our noble profession into disrepute.”

“But today we did not regret any of our action because we have brought the Chapel on the path of honour.

“I am proud and happy to tell you today that we are one of the vibrant, active and performing Chapels in the FCT Council.

“We have organised and participated in different novelty football matches and table tennis tournaments and won medals, though we did not win the trophy.

“We have organised intellectual programmes such as lectures, symposia, correspondents roundtable, medical check-ups and health talk for our members. We achieved these within 3 years despite the scourge of Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Listing out his agenda for the new executives, the Chairman said the Chapel under his leadership will focus on training and capacity building for members, just as he expressed determination to stamp out fake journalism and tackle acts of violence targeted at journalists by security operatives in the territory.

New Exco being sworn in
“Attacks and Impunity on crimes against journalists under this government has been on the increase because of their intolerant posture to criticisms and dissenting voices.

“Our members have become subject of attacks in the hands of security operatives while carrying out their statutory and constitutional duties,” he said.

Oyekunle stressed that “Journalism is not a crime. Journalism is about development and positive change of any democratic society,” adding that “we will not abdicate our responsibility to uphold the fundamental objectives of the directive principle of the state policy irrespective of intimidation and harassment. Because if democracy is about good governance, accountability and transparency then, the freedom of the press should not be curtailed in anyway.”

The new executive according to the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Council, Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche, has a 90-day window to organize a bye election into the offices of the Assistant Secretary, the Financial Secretary and the Auditor.

This was due to the inability of the contestants to scale through the screening exercise, as they were disqualified on various grounds in conformity with the NUJ constitution.

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