I thank God Almighty for giving me the grace to always triumph over my adversaries, I am Adewunmi Faniran.

For the zeal to serve the union, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, I have contested for the post of the Oyo State Chairman and lost twice to Comrade Gbenga Opadotun, the immediate past Chairman of the Council.

Each time I lost, I took the outcome with the spirit of sportsmanship hoping that if fate would have it, I would be there at the appropriate time, even when I had reservations about the process of the election.

It has never been in record that I fomented trouble to destabilise the leadership of NUJ, because of my ambition. 

I always accept the outcome in good faith, put union politics aside and join in programmes and activities to move the union forward. 

Having served as Correspondents Chapel Chairman in Edo state, coupled with my experience as Assistant Deputy Director, News and Current Affairs at Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, I have learnt that in life, you win some battles and lose some: “When you win, celebrate, when the table turns accept it in good faith”.

December, 2016 heralded a new dawn for me and Oyo NUJ, when I was elected as chairman. 

Having defeated other contestants with a wide margin, with the runner-up Demola Babalola far below. 

As usual for me, the election had come and gone, it was time to move on with the purposeful leadership which I earlier promised the people.

We swung into action, putting up activities and programmes to enhance professionalism and to give the state council a facelift. 

We didn’t limit our programmes to human development alone, rather we extended it to visible Infrastructural development.

 I, however expected others to have learnt from me, that politics is not do or die, when you lose elections, put it aside and move on, you may still win. 

My experience as Oyo NUJ chairman is totally different.

Members who were pained because they lost election have always attempted to frustrate my administration for the past three years.

They have been running from pillar to post peddling all manners of lies against my person, but God has always been proving His worth as they have always failed.

During our congresses, it was their habit to come late with the sole aim of putting their names on the register so they would have a number of congress attendance to qualify them to contest election until a strong congressional decision was reached that attendance register be closed one hour after the commencement of each congress.

Thank God for that decision as they all adjusted to being at Congress within stipulated time.

Though it has not been able to tame their walking in and out on the Congress at will.

 They don’t make any contribution but are always quick with their negative criticism as opposed to constructive criticism.

Immediately after any congress or union programme, the war is taken to the social media to criticize the leadership of the state council. 

And such persons are aspiring to lead the union (where is your conscience?). If you are not a good follower, you can’t make a good leader.

Record has it that for the past three years, a desperate aspirant to the office of Oyo NUJ Chairman who has not had up to five comments in the minutes during congresses.

“When you don’t have anything to offer, why are you desperate to lead? 

To lead Oyo NUJ astray? Not possible!”

My problem got compounded when I decided to follow the constitution on membership registration as directed by the NUJ National Secretariat, the constitution stipulates that if you did not study Mass Communication, if you are not a financial member, if you do not belong to a Chapel or your medium Chapelised, if you are a Contract Staff or a Stringer, you may not have the prerequisite to be a member, or your status may fit in as Associate Member as the case may be.

Associate status guarantees members a lot of opportunities except the right to vote and to be voted for in the union.  

Did I make the constitution? 

The “so called” has been parading nonmembers as his supporters, of course, they are many but constitutional standing does not favor them, the reason I have faced series of blackmail which I have surmounted by the grace of God. 

They have called me names to the extent of sharing elementary and crude sentiments that I am not from Ibadan, they could not even caution themselves on the issue as sensitive as religion, perhaps they are so oblivious of the fact that such acts are against the constitution of the NUJ. 

Ibadan is a great city no doubt, but it will be too pedestrian to base your campaign of calumny on the basis of citizen of a town or state.

They are even more pedestrian and childish in their campaigns which they have started as against the constitution over seven months back, that Governor Seyi Makinde is his uncle and that a serious campaign will be mounted against non-indigenes in the present Oyo NUJ Executives.

We shall surely cross that bridge when we get there. 

The most recent shame brought to the union by the “so called” was the unrefined, crude and rude attitude displayed during the inauguration of Credentials Committee to conduct the union’s election in December this year. 

The Executive presented a five-member committee to the Congress for ratification.

After a long deliberation by all, a motion was moved for the adoption, while the motion was countered.

In such a situation, such issues would be subjected to voting and so we did. 

Two people, who later said they abstained, voted against the committee while twenty four others wanted the committee to stand, as others felt indifferent.

The committee was consequently inaugurated, a situation which got the “so called” fidgeting and thus instigated some of the followers to assault me publicly. 

I was physically assaulted by Adebayo Raji, who I can’t say at the moment he is a member of NUJ or has any medium he works for. 

As soon as I ended the inauguration, he barged into the hall from outside where their group met briefly and struggled the microphone from me, hit me in the mouth with the microphone, an experience I never wished to remember again given the fact that in age and experience on the job, there is a very wide gap. 

I am yet to believe that such happened in my presence not to say it happened to me. 

So disheartening are some media reports I saw after the congress, where journalists concocted stories that were far from reality and such stories are published. 

Where are the Editors, fact-finding mechanisms, objective reportage and our conscience? 

A medium report has it that I called him, the guy who assaulted me “Bastard” where and why from the scenario I painted?

I never had a one-on-one chat with him, how would I have charged at him.

Others claimed 61 people attended the congress, record of Oyo NUJ has 47 on the attendance list. 

They claimed some of the credential committee members are my friends, why didn’t they vote them out when we called for voting? 

I challenge them to question me based on the constitution on any matter, I will follow their bidding(s) if constitutional. 

I cannot open my eyes to see those who are nonmembers of this professional body to drag the name of the union in the mud. 

If all the fights are consequences of standing by the constitution and sanitizing the Union, I am in for it.‎

Adewumi Faniran

Chairman, NUJ, Oyo State Council


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