Court Sacks Ondo NUJ Exco

Court Sacks Ondo NUJ Exco
  • PublishedOctober 15, 2018

The National Industrial Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital has sacked the state executives of the National Union of Journalist, NUJ.

In a judgement delivered Monday by Justice A.A Adewemimo, the court described the selection of the credential committee by the state executive of NUJ as unconstitutional and unlawful.

Consequently, the court ordered that the certificate of return issued to the affected chairman of the union, James Sowole be withdrawn while fresh election should be held within 30 days.

The court also described the swearing-in of Mr. Sowole on the 3rd of November, 2017 as direct affront on the court.

According to the court, “It was a gross indiscipline to swear-in a party to a case before a competent court of jurisdiction.”

It would be recalled that crisis started in the union following an alleged petition by the state chairman, James Sowole to the NUJ electoral body, NUJECO, against three other aspirants, who were also vying for the chairmanship position.

The trio of Tony Adetoye (State Information Chapel), Ebenezer Adeniyan (Federated Chapel) and Olumide Abudu (FRCN Positive FM Chapel) were subsequently disqualified by NUJECO for allegedly not meeting the needed requirements.

Counsel to the claimant, Titiloye Charles who lauded the judgment, emphazied that it will right the wrongs perpetrated by the incumbent executives of the union.

He stated that, “the electoral committee had disqualified all the chairmanship candidates to ensure Mr James Sowole wins without any opposition.

“While the matter was pending before the trial Court, NUJ went ahead to conduct election for state executive committee without regard for the pending court case.

“In the Judgment of the trial Court, the Court frowned at disregard of NUJ constitution, Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria in the conduct of NUJ election in Ondo State particularly a situation where a contestant will set up an electoral committee that will determine his fate in an election.

He further disclosed that, “the Court ordered the certificate of return issued to the incumbent Chairman of Ondo NUJ, Mr James Sowole to be withdrawn and NUJ to set up a caretaker committee for the Union in Ondo state.

“Adherence to democratic norms in running affairs of Union must be protected in the interest of Nigeria workers who daily pay check off dues from their hard earned salaries,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the James Sowole led executives of the union has condemned the judgement.

Reacting to the judgement through a statement issued by the secretary of the union, Leke Adegbite, he maintained that the judgement would be challenged at the Court of Appeal.

“The leadership of the Ondo state Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) rejected the judgement of the National Industrial Court sitting in Akure that nullified the election of the state officers.

“The presiding judge had based its verdict on the fact that only the Union’s National Executive Council (NEC) has a power to approve the composition of the Credentials/Electoral Committee at the state level, a judgement/position that can’t be found in the NUJ constitution.

“The Union after due consultations with its lawyers, shall challenge the judgement at the Court of Appeal while stay of executive of the judgement will be filed immediately.

“The National secretariat of the Union has also ordered immediate appeal against the judgement,” the statement read.

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