The news making the rounds is that the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Imo State Council last Wednesday 9th September, 2020, suspended indefinitely the Editor-in-chief of Nigeria Newspoint Newspaper, Lambert Ojukwu over alleged anti-union activities. Also suspended alongside Ojukwu is Amby Uneze of Correspondents Chapel for the same reason.
In a release by the NUJ, Imo State Council, during their September monthly Congress (general meeting), members through a voice vote suspended the duo indefinitely. Some of the allegations against Lambert Ojukwu and Amby Uneze, are that the duo insulted and maligned the National President of NUJ, Deacon Chris Isiguzo and the Imo State Chairman, Chris Akaraonye at Oziza FM. Other accusations are that Ojukwu, Uneze and others wrote a petition to the Police against the union despite Imo NUJ matter still pending at the Court, and have on several occasions published falsehood against the union thereby misleading the general public about the union which have put NUJ and its leadership in negative picture before the general public. Much as we are not privy to circumstances that made Messrs Ojukwu and Uneze to choose this part, we are however alarmed at the colossal damage these intractable crises have caused the journalism profession, both in Imo State and Nigeria as a whole.
Today, the little credibility that the journalism profession enjoys among the people, is being eroded by a senseless agitations over leadership of a state chapter. Surprisingly, the belligerents have had to take the issue, which common sense could have solved, to the judiciary and the police making mockery of its referred role as the conscience and watchdog of the society. We want to believe that greed and power hunger is what is driving these matured people to the extreme of destroying the legacy passed to them by veterans of the profession, some of whom paid the supreme price.
While we are seriously pained by the shame brought to the profession by a few selfish individuals, we are appealing to stakeholders in the journalism profession and other well meaning Nigerians to intervene to save Imo NUJ and journalism practice in the state from untimely death. We must be bold to call a spade a spade no matter whose ox is gored. These people must be called to order before it escalates to bloodshed. On the part of Journalists, we must see these crises as capable of destroying our livelihood and fight against it. A stitch in time saves nine.