By Garba Adamu Gwangwangwan
Bauchi State High Court Presided over by Justice Mohammed Mukhtar has stop the election of the State Working Committee of the Nigeria Union of Journalist NUJ Bauchi State Council scheduled to take place on 24th June 2023.
In a suit filed by Abdulwahab Muhammad leading 2 others, Garba Kabiru Abubakar and Fatima Danjuma Idris against Umar Sa’idu, Bulak Apsa, Ishola Michael Adeyemi, Haruna Yusuf, Adamu Gabi, Aliyu Sambo, Firdausi Ibrahim Bakondi and Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ). They are seeking for an order of the Court to restrain the members of Credentials Committee from conducting the election pending the hearing of the motion on notice.
Delivering his order, Justice M.M Abubakar said” upon hearing the Motion ex-parte dated 7/06/2023, affidavit in support, affidavit of non multiplicity of action as well as the written address brought under the inherent jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, praying for an order of interim injunction. And after listening to considering the submission through written address of G. Idrees ESQ and Ismail Ibrahim ESQ Counsel for the applicants. It Is hereby ordered:-That an order for leave is hereby made to serve the defendant through the Nigerian Union Journalists Bauchi State Council.
That an order of interim Injunction is hereby made restraining 2nd – 8th defendants from parading themselves, acting as or exercising the powers of the credentials committee under the Constitution of the Nigerian Union of Journalists for the Bauchi State Council pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice. That an order of interim injunction is hereby made restraining the 9th Defendants through its National Secretariat from confirming the names of the 2nd – 8th Defendants as members of credentials committee of the Nigerian Union of Journalist Bauchi pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.
The Court fixed the returning date for the Motion on Notice is July 12, 2023.”
Similarly, The concerned members of the Bauchi state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists have explained that they dragged the Union to the Court to protect the constution of the union and the Integrity of the Institution.
In a statement distributed to reporters in Bauchi, the leader of the group Malam Abdulwahab Muhammad , said the concerned members has nothing against anybody rather they are only seeking for justice, fairness and ensure that due process is followed in the activities of the union.
He said the problems started after the amendment of the constitutiion of the union on 24th January 2023, saying that the SWC has failed to provide the consititution for members to go through. The statement said as the state council election approaches, the SWC nominated the credentials committee and smuggled the names to the State Congress and used mob action style to approve the nominees contrary to constitutional provision.
According to the statement, despite the request to the SWC to make the constitution available to members, yet, they failed to obliged. The statement further said after going through the constitution the members observed that the SWC has violated the document in the nomination of the credentials committe, stressing that page 13 section D of the Constitution has clearly explained that only the Congress is responsible for nominating credentials commitee subject to the approval of the national secretariat. Furthermore, the statement said the officer that presided over the Congress was from the Ministry of Information chapel where he retired from service on 16th September 2022 as Assistant Chief Executive Officer Information, and the amended constitution in article 8 page 29 allows him to remain in office for six months which expired on 16th March , but he didnt vacate the office, he lead the congress that produced the credentials committee.
Also, the three years tenure of the present SWC expired on the 13th june 2023, because they were sworn in on 13th june 2020, and by NUJ tradition where a tenure of SWC expires, the National secretariat will dissolve the SWC and appoint a caretaker committee as they did to Ibrahim Muhammad Malam Goje led SWC .
The statement recalled that Malam Goje had inaugurated the credentials committee led by a respected Journalist Umar Muhammad Shira on 6th January 2020, the committee completed all arrangements for the election the tenure of SWC ended they were dissolved immediately. Since we are aware Justice is for all without discrimination , we try to follow all internal mechanism of our great Union , we asked the national leadership to intervene, ensure that journalists in the state follow guidelines of the constitution According to the statement, the plaintiffs and other members of the Union have no option in our quest protect the integrity of our union and the institution than going to court.
There were allegations that the SWC connived with the SWC nominated credentials commitee, and advisory committee to manipulate and allow the SWC to return to their seat un oppose ,that was the reason why they didnt make the constitution available , and sponsored the advisory committee to start campaigning for their return un oppose. What ever happened if due process is followed is enough to give all members level playing ground to participate becauae as Journalist we need a legitimate leaders of our choice not leaders who will return through undemocratic tenents and all members who has interest are eligible to contest but they cant contest without knowing the guidelines in the constitution.