There were signs of outrage in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital over the alleged attempts by some officials of the state government to prevail on the national president of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chris Iziguzo, to annul the November 1, 2018 state council election won by Comrade Samuel Numenengi.
The planned cancellation, which was alleged to have been instigated by some few disgruntled government officials and some members of the NUJ, was reportedly backed with petitions and an alleged sum of N4million in bribe.
Angry members of the Bayelsa council of NUJ expressed disappointment at the alleged action of the national president, Comrade Chris Iziguzo, over his verbal contact with the elected chairman of the Bayelsa council, Samuel Numunengi, over the series of petitions against his November 1 election without providing him copies for defense as required by the constitution.
Sources at the Bayelsa NUJ council alleged that though the role of the state governor, Seriake Dickson, is not known in the raging crisis, it was alleged that some of his aides involved in the plot to destabilise the NUJ is hinged on issues of tribal sentiment.
The chairman of the Bayelsa NUJ, Comrade Samuel Numunegi, who confirmed the development during an emergency meeting of the council at the NUJ secretariat, said the outburst of the national president, Comrade Chris Iziguzo, that his election would be cancelled is illegal and unacceptable to those that elected him.
At the emergency meeting, most journalists that spoke expressed outrage over the alleged plot to cancel election and throw the Bayelsa council into crisis.
“It is not a rumour. The national president met me in Owerri and informed me about petitions against my election. I demanded copies of the petition, but he refused. Up till now, the president told me that the election will be cancelled,” he said.
A newspaper publisher, Comrade Victor Christopher, insisted that “it is unfortunate people without credibility are allowed to contest elections in the NUJ. Those filing petitions and calling for cancellation of elections are cowards. And we should plead with them not to use their ignorance to instigate crisis in NUJ.”
Reacting to alleged plan to cancel the November 1, 2018 election that brought the new leadership into office which was adjudged to be credible, transparent, free and fair with the loser, Comrade John Angese, congratulating the winner, members in-session, urged the national leadership of the NUJ to respect the decision and wishes of the generality of practicing journalists in Bayelsa state.
The members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa state Council have, however, passed a vote of confidence on its present leadership led by Comrade Samuel Numonengi for his purposeful and pragmatic leadership since assumption of office.
The Secretary of the NUJ, Comrade Ogio Ipigansi, in a statement after the emergency congress of the union on Tuesday, December, 4, 2018, said members unanimously supported the motion to that effect moved by Comrade David Amabra of the Niger Delta Television chapel.
The congress in-session also noted the leadership style of the chairman particularly his drive to build unity of purpose among members and the renewed drive and innovative policies to rejuvenate the state council.
Deliberating on the motion, members warned those plotting to destabilize the state council of the NUJ to desist in the overall interest of the union.