Protest Over Delegates Accreditation Stalls NAWOJ Election—-The FCT chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), on Saturday failed to conduct its election after delegates rejected the plot to use the NUJ Identity Card for accreditation.
NAWOJ members, who had thronged the Utako, Abuja venue of the election, were shocked when they were asked to produce the NUJ Identity Card as a condition for accreditation.
They (NAWOJ members), insisted that Identity Cards of media organisations traditionally used to accredit members, should be used for the exercise.
Some of the delegates, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), wondered why the NUJ card was necessary and declared the national body’s insistence on using it as “uncalled for”.
They argued that the new system would disenfranchise members as most media practitioners had no NUJ Identity card.
“We use our organisations’ means of identity to practice our profession. It is a legitimate form of identity,” one of the prospective voters told NAN.
Josephine Bitrus, member, Correspondents’ Chapel, and an agent to one of the contestants, said the decision was conveyed to members shortly before the stipulated time for voting.
“The presidential committee chairman told us of the new development shortly before voting time. We were told that the new directive from the National Secretariat of NAWOJ is that we should use NUJ ID card for accreditation.
“We disagree because it was not used during the NAWOJ National Delegates’ Conference.
“We agreed at the just-concluded Congress, when the executive council was dissolved, to use office ID card and monthly dues payment, for accreditation.
“We are tired of double-standard; let NAWOJ members be independent. We don’t want to be manipulated. Enough is enough,” she said.
Stella Okoh-Esene, former Chairperson, FCT Chapter, spoke in the same vein.
“We all agreed on who should qualify to vote at the just-concluded Congress, but the Vice President of our zone, Mrs Chizoba Ogbeche, had said that we should use NUJ ID card.
“We disagree because many people applied and have not been given the card. If we insist on the NUJ card, we shall leave many people out. They want to disenfranchise many people,” she fumed.
NAN reports that Mrs Dorcas Jonah, Chairman, Credentials Committee, while addressing members, said the directive came from the National President, Hajia Aisha Bura.
“The National President said we should put this election on hold since we are not using the NUJ ID card,” she said.