… As journalists’ boss counsels members on credible election reportage
By Ray Ugochukwu
All roads led to Iyalla Street, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, Saturday as the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, had its remodeled sectretariat commissioned.
The commissioning of the two storey secretariat, which gulped over N50 million, courtesy of Rev. Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi, saw media practitioners being counseled on developmental journalism in the face of the forthcoming general election.
Rev. Mother Ajayi
Giving the wise counsel was the NUJ National President, Chief Chris Isiguzo, who cautioned journalists to avoid being used by unscrupulous politicians to truncate the country’s democracy.
“To the journalists, with this edifice you don’t have any excuse not to deliver. it’s incumbent on all of us to ensure that the next election is not truncated.
” Let us use our writing to pull Nigeria out of poverty; let us use our writing to ensure that a credible election is held; let us use our writing to ensure there is no crisis during the election. Let us use our writing to educate Nigerians on the need to do the right thing”, Isiguzo said.
He advised his colleagues to ” promote developmental journalism”, warning that they should not allow themselves to be used by the “enemies of progress to truncate our democracy”.
NUJ President, Isiguzo, presenting the Grand Matron plaque to Rev. Mother Ajayi
The national honour award recipient commended Rev. Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi, who singlehandedly took up the responsibility of remodelling the secretariat and prayed God to reward her most abundantly.
He also thanked the Lagos State Government for its financial support which was used in kick-starting the project.
In his remark at the event, the Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had raised an alarm that the art of reporting was dying in the country.
Some dignatories at the event
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, pointed out that in journalism one could only graduate from reporting to become a columnist. He regretted that the reverse had become the case especially with the advent of the social media where ability to type or speak now conferred on people the status of a journalist.
Ajayi, Chairman, Lagos NUJ
He therefore charged media professionals to take back the industry from the charlatans that were dominating the media space.
The former two-time governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, in his remark made it clear that the NUJ was the supreme body governing journalists in the country and should be accorded all due honour and respect.
Osoba expressed gratitude that the NUJ secretariat he commissioned 20 years ago when he was governor had been transformed into an edifice for which he was privileged to witness again at the age of 84 years.
He showered encomiums on the benefactor, Rev. Mother Ajayi for her large heartedness to humanity not just in Nigeria but all over the world.
Guest cutting the birthday cake of Bishop Ajayi, Rev. Mother Ajayi’s husband.
While unveiling the edifice, Rev. Mother Ajayi had thanked God Almighty for leading her to embark on the project, even as she hailed her husband, Bishop Ajayi for his support and backing throughout the execution of work on the secretariat.
On the February election, the prophetess used the occasion to charge Nigerians not just to pray but cause meaningful change by getting their permanent voter’s card (PVC). She added that prayers could only make impact if backed by action.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, Lagos NUJ, Comrade Adeleye Ajayi, had commended his predecessors for their vision on the secretariat which he and his team had consumated.
He thanked Rev. Mother Ajayi for taking up the responsibility to come to the aid of the Council, praying God to reward her and the family immensely.
He used the opportunity to reel out a plethora of achievements of his administration, including the perfection of the contentious Abaren land project, training and retraining of journalists, among several others.
The highpoint of the event was the conferement of NUJ Grand Patron on Rev. Mother Ajayi by the the National President, Isiguzo, who also announced the naming of the Conference Hall of the edifice after the female cleric.
Also in attendance at the occasion the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was represented by his son, Dr Funso Obasanjo; Alhaji Lai Mohammed, represented by the General Manager, NTA Channel 10, Lagos; and the Lagos State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Others included representatives of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), among several others